The SOAP Bible study method is a practical way of studying the Bible and applying what you learn to your life. Today, we are going to take a very close look at this Bible Study method, so you can use it as you spend time with God.
With the SOAP Bible study method, first, you just read or write down the scripture you are studying. Then, you make observations on the Bible verse (Who, What, When, Where, Why, How) to better understand what’s happening. Next, you figure out how to apply it to your life. Finally, you pray to God, asking Him to reveal Himself in the Bible verses you are studying.
The SOAP Bible study method is one of the easiest ways to study the Bible, so if you are struggling with making Bible study a daily habit, be sure to check out this article! We’ll go over the details involved in the Bible study method, how to use it successfully, some tips and recommendations when you study the Bible, an example, and so much more!
Table of Contents
What is the SOAP Bible Study Method?
The SOAP Bible study method stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer. It was developed by Pastor Wayne Cordeiro to be a simple Bible study method for those trying to learn more about scripture in a real way. He wanted the SOAP method for Bible study to be a practical way that people can spend time in God’s Word and apply what they learn to their lives.
The S.O.A.P Bible study method combines Bible study, analysis, application, and praying. The SOAP Bible study method can be combined with Bible journaling to make the most out of your time with God. Bible journaling, similar to diary writing, is a great way to dive into the Bible and learn how the Scriptures can be applied to your life.
As mentioned, SOAP is a simple acronym that stands for:
- S – Scripture
- O – Observation
- A – Application
- P – Prayer
How to Use the SOAP Bible Study Method
As mentioned, SOAP stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer. So, how do you use this Bible study method to build and grow your faith?
First, you need to read the Scripture out loud or write it out in a journal.
Next, you’ll want to observe and determine the facts of the Bible verse by asking those great six questions:
- Who wrote this, or who is this Bible verse mentioning in the passage?
- What is the verse really saying to you?
- Where was this Bible verse written?
- Why was this included in the Bible?
- How can you apply this verse to your life?
- When was this passage written, and what was life like them?
Please note that a study Bible might have some of the answers to these questions and may even have a place written where you can do SOAP Bible journaling or take notes in the margins. Check out the next section for my best recommendations for study Bibles.
After that, you’ll want to determine how to apply the Bible verse to your life. Ask a few questions when you are studying the Bible verse. Try some of these questions to help guide you in the right direction as you read the Bible.
- How is God speaking to you?
- Why do you think God led you to those Bible verses?
- How can you apply what you’ve read to your life?
- What can you relate to the most in this passage?
- How do you think the author felt when he was writing this verse?
- How could you reword this Bible verse to make more sense or to be more applicable to your life?
Finally, you’ll want to pray about what you’ve read and studied. Ask God to help you best understand and apply what you’ve read to your life in the way He wants, not the way you want.
Remember, God has our best interests at heart, so leaving your life in His hands is a smart thing to do, but it’s never very easy. If you don’t think prayer makes a difference, you are mistaken because prayer can improve your life and is a powerful tool to connect to God.
Be sure to check out my article, How to Pray for Beginners: A Complete Guide, to learn more about how you can get started praying today!
Study Bible Recommendations
I would suggest using an awesome study Bible to use as you follow the SOAP method. Here are a few recommendations of Bibles that have places for you to write in the margins, that are easy-to-read Bible versions, and/or that have gorgeous pages with a pretty cover!
These are some of my favorite Bibles (the ones I use on a daily basis).
- Tyndale NLT Inspire Bible
- NLT THRIVE Creative Journaling Devotional Bible
- Seek Find: the Bible for All People (Contemporary English Version)
Here are some other great study Bibles that you can check out (they are on my dream list).
- NIV, Life Application Study Bible
- The CSB Study Bible for Women
- CSB She Reads the Truth Bible
- NIV Rainbow Study Bible (Next on my wish list)
- Faithlife Illustrated Study Bible
- NIV Starting Place Study Bible
- The One Year Bible Expressions
An Example of the SOAP Bible Study Method
I just wanted to let you know that I will be using the Promise Study Edition (Contemporary English Version) for this Bible Study. I’ve found this version to be the easiest to read, and it has lots of information in there for the Observation part of this Bible study.
Let’s look at Philippians 4:6-8, which says:
Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts, offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And God, who gives peace, will be with you. Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise.
You can start a prayer journal or diary of some kind where you write out scriptures to praise God to help you stay focused on your Bible study. My free prayer journal is called the Daily Prayer Journal or you can purchase my Prayer Journal Planner. It’s entirely up to you; determine what works best for you as you study the Bible.
I picked this verse because it has a lot of practical advice we can use! I love the Bible called Seek Find, which is also in the CEV version, but it does not have all of the information before each chapter like the Promise study Bible does.
My initial thoughts are that God is with us always, so we shouldn’t worry. Instead, we just need to pray to Him, offering praise, thanksgiving, and any prayer requests we may have.
God can alleviate our bodies from any anxiety (How awesome is that?). We won’t always understand how He does it, but He gives us peace. We just need to focus on what’s right.
Paul wrote this chapter from jail, was wanting to be released so that he could spread the Good News, and was thankful for those in Philippi who followed God. Philippi was in Greece and was the first place Paul preached in Europe.
Paul was even happy in jail and full of joy because of the kindness people showed him. These verses, which we are studying, were attempts by Paul to teach others about how to be acceptable to God. He was still spreading the Word of God in jail, even though he thought he might die soon! That’s pretty amazing!
I find these verses comforting because they tell us that we shouldn’t be anxious and worrisome. We just need to pray continuously, even though we don’t always accept the answers we get from God.
Accept the peace from the Lord.
Lord, My prayer is that we can always turn to You when trouble or worry comes our way. Please bless us and give us the strength we need to worship You in the way that we should.
Help us have a spirit like Paul, who was full of joy even during his darkest times. Whatever Your will for us is, please take control of our lives and help us to remember you have our best interests always! Amen.
Tips and Tricks for Bible Reading and Bible Study
1. Make Bible study a daily habit.
Make Bible study a part of your daily life. Get creative with your schedule so that you can fit it in every single day. It won’t be easy at first, especially if you are super busy, but it will get easier over time. Just believe in yourself, knowing you are capable of doing anything you set your mind to!
Keep in mind that it takes 21 days to create a habit, so you need to stick with it for 3 weeks. After that, it will be so easy to make Bible reading and study a part of your life. Add it to your daily calendar or to-do list until it comes naturally to you! Set up reminders on your phone or put something on the fridge to remind you!
2. Read the Bible verse out loud.
When you speak out loud, it takes more time to process, which gives you longer to remember the scripture and ponder on the words. If you need to, you can do this in private so that you can openly talk to God as you read the verses out loud.
3. Adopt the habit of memorizing Scripture.
Trying to memorize Scripture is one of the best things you can do because when you don’t have your Bible with you, you can still meditate on the Word of God. Learn more about memorization techniques in my article about the Celebrate Recovery Serenity Prayer, which is something else you could memorize!
4. Do a group Bible study with friends.
When God created man, He didn’t want him to be alone, so He made a companion for Adam – Eve. Today, God still doesn’t want us to be alone; He wants us to have a spiritual community full of Christian friends who we can turn to for Godly advice.
Why not invite those friends over to have a group Bible study? That way, you can bounce ideas off one another and grow closer to God as a group. You can encourage each other and grow in your friendships.
5. Wreck that Bible as you study.
Of course, I don’t mean to wreck your Bible as in destroying it, but you can make it your own. “Wreck your Bible” is just a phrase used to describe a Bible that is very used. That may mean you have a lot of coloring on the pages, highlighting, writing in the margins, sticky notes, stickers, or other decorative items in your Bible.
Make sure you have a good study Bible, mentioned in the previous section, and find the Bible study technique that helps you the most.
To learn more about “Wrecking Your Bible,” check out How to Start a Prayer Journal.
6. Allow the Holy Spirit a chance to work in your heart.
Don’t expect things to happen immediately. God will work in His time, not yours. This is when faith truly comes into play. You need to trust that He will reveal Himself to you when the time is right.
7. Apply God’s Word to your life.
This is probably the most important part of any Bible study because you must know how to take what you’ve learned and apply it to your life. Dig deeper when studying the Word of God so that it will be imprinted on your heart when you need it the most. If you really get into a chapter or verse, memorize it by repeating it over and over again.
By applying the Bible to your life, you are actually having a conversation with God because that is one of the ways that He talks to us. Continue to read your Bible on a regular basis so that His words are always uplifting you and bringing you closer to the Lord.
Other Bible Study Acronyms
Let’s review a few more acronyms for when you are studying the Bible or holding a devotional for yourself or for a group of people.
- R.E.S.T. stands for Read, Engage, Savor, and Take Charge.
- F.E.A.S.T. stands for Focus, Engage, Assess, Spark, and Turn.
- I.D.E.A. stands for Identify, Direction, Encouragement, and Apply.
- G.R.O.W. stands for Greet, Read, Observe, and Write.
- A.P.P.L.E. stands for Attributes of God, Promises of God, Principles for Life, Lesson, and Example to Follow.
- T.A.S.T.E. stands for Talk to God, Ask Him to Speak, Scripture Reading, Take 2 Minutes to Listen, and Explore the Passage.
- P.O.W.E.R. stands for Prayer, Observe, Write, Envision, and Response.
If you find one of these Bible studies to be the missing ingredient in your life, you are welcome to use it to help you reach your Bible study or faith goals. Check each one out and apply it to your Bible reading time if you think they are a good match.
If you love these Bible study acronyms and would like me to write an article, create a Bible study, or offer a Bible Study printable for you to use, let me know in the comment section at the end of this article or contact me via my contact form. That way, I am providing you with the best value possible in these articles!
FREE SOAP Bible Study Method Worksheet
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the methods of studying the Bible?
There are many methods for studying the Bible. You can use one of the acronyms I provided earlier in this article or do an inductive Bible study, for example. Find which way of studying the Bible works best for you! Think about how you best learn and what helps you.
What is the SWORD method of Bible study?
SWORD might be the easiest Bible study method; it’s so flexible that anyone can use it! It asks: What do I learn about God or man? What sin should I avoid, promise to trust, command to obey, and example to follow? Who do I identify with and why?
Who invented the SOAP Bible study method?
The SOAP method was created and developed by Pastor Wayne Cordeiro. He knew what people needed, and to meet that need, he created a simple Bible study method that anyone could use! It’s meant to help you with any Bible verse and to help you apply it to real life.
Where should a beginner start in the Bible?
The book of John is perfect for new Christians. As you probably want to learn more about the Bible to grow in your faith, the Gospel of John will teach you the basics! Just pick up a Bible anywhere and start studying scripture there and watch your faith grow!
How do you memorize scripture?
There are many ways to memorize scripture. First, you must have the motivation, dedication, and drive to want to memorize parts of the Bible. Second, you must pick a method to memorize Bible verses (oral repetition, storytelling, or writing out scripture). Finally, keep it in mind for future reference!
I hope you have loved this article on the SOAP Bible study method and how to use it successfully. I would love it if you’d leave a comment on your thoughts, ideas, or questions! Feedback is like food to me!
Coming soon are articles on other acronyms that will help you as you study a passage of Scripture! Let me know if there is one in particular that you’d love to learn more about.
I enjoyed sharing this information with you and hope you feel more connected to God now. Just remember to make Bible reading, Bible study, or Bible Scripture memorization a daily habit, so the Word of God will always be in your heart whenever you need it.
Let me know which Bible study method helps you the most, why it’s so great, and anything else you want to share. I look forward to hearing from you!