SOAP Study Guide
There are lots of ways to study the Bible, but sometimes the myriad of approaches available leave us wondering where to start. While there’s no one “right way” to approach studying the Bible, here’s one that’s straightforward and easy to use, known as the SOAP approach. It’s got nothing to do with washing hands or doing the dishes. It’s just an easy to remember guide.
SOAP stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer. We’ve put together a handy printable study sheet that you can use for your devotions and Bible reading time. Let’s take it one piece at a time.
Start with a verse or a passage of Scripture and simply read it. Don’t rush through this step, but allow God to speak to you through His Word.
If you’re not sure where to start, a great place is the Gospel of John. Take it a chapter or even half a chapter at a time. Or pick a Psalm (maybe not Psalm 119 though, unless you’re up for a challenge – it’s the longest chapter in the Bible!).
When you’re done reading, look for a verse or set of verses that jumped out to you. For an extra step, you can write these verses out.
Next, take a closer look at the verses you noted in step one. What do you think God is saying in these verses? What stood out to you in what you read? If it’s a part that you’ve read before, did you notice anything this time through? Paraphrase and write this down in your own words or jot down some observations.
Personalize what you’ve read by asking how it applies to your life right now. Perhaps it has instruction, encouragement, revelation of a new promise, or correction for a particular area of your life.
Finally, come before the Lord in prayer. This can be as simple as asking God to help you use this Scripture, or it may be a greater insight on what He may be revealing to you. Remember, prayer is a two-way conversation, so be sure to listen to what God has to say!
The great thing about a plan like this is how flexible it is. You can use it for a paragraph or several chapters of Scripture. You can spend 10 minutes on your lunch hour or over an hour in the evening. You can do it alone or with a group.
It’s important to remember that there’s no one right way to read and engage with Scripture, but a flexible method like the SOAP approach is a great place to start!