Have you found yourself interested in studying the Bible to really see what it has to say, but feeling overwhelmed? I mean it isn’t that everyday we sit around reading ancient words in most of our normal daily. How in the world is an ordinary person living in the 21st century supposed to read a text that is so old and still find it relevant?
If you grew up in the church then reading the Bible was probably something recommended to you or something you grew habits of having it taught or read to you. What if you did and perhaps you grew bored with it, no longer found it relevant or walked away because of something yuck that happened in your church?
I recently heard a simple method for coming to the Bible that I fell in love with! Seriously, it is pretty simple that you can practice it no matter your age and teach it to your littles as well. I believe the Bible to be holy words spoken by God to the authors by way of the Holy Spirit to give us a ‘guidebook’ for life. When you purchase a new dishwasher, car, ninja blender, etc. they typically come with an instruction manual. I find the Bible to be God’s manual for how to approach our days. However, it is not black and white and yes there are many parts I don’t pretend to have a grasp on.
Enter the SOAP method. Scripture. Observations. Application. Prayer. The Soap Method. (I picked this up from Hunter Beless on Journey Women podcast that I talk about and refer to here on the blog ALL THE TIME, check her out.)
Scripture. Find a version of the Bible that is solid (translated as close to the original language) and yet still something you can understand. There are many many opinions on this and to each their own, but I personally love the New Living Translation, English Standard Version and also The Message. I like to study, memorize, meditate and deep dive into all different ones so having a variety can be good. Here’s a good resource if you are looking to find your first or a new version to explore around in from Rachel Wojo.
Observations. What does the text say? Who was it written to? What was the original purpose? You can find commentaries to help gather what the experts have to say, but also take time yourself to simply ask, “What is happening here?” When we do family bible study at home we go around the circle and ask, “What jumped out to you,” or “What was a takeaway moment for you?” If you want to keep a journal along with your Bible reading time you can jot down what you read, what you saw/heard and be able to look back over time to see how the text was made alive and real in your daily life. There are lots of online Bible Study communities to help you in reading, understanding and growing together; here are some of my favorites Proverbs31 Ministries, She Read Truth and Crosswalk.
Application. This is probably the most important part. How does what you read apply to your life?
22But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. James 1
Can you imagine looking in the mirror to see you have a big chunk of kale in your teeth and then walking away and not doing anything about it?! That is what James is getting at, when we read we should walk away and do something about what we just took in. When we read the word we are gonna find different things that grab us at different times.
Prayer. Ask God to show you what He wants you to takeaway. Ask him to make the words come to life in your day today. Ask Him to guide you in your choices to live out the instructions set before us in the words of life He gave us in his love letter to us through the words of the Bible given by His Spirit.
I study to see and savor the supreme value of Jesus every day….-John Piper
I hope this SOAP method makes Bible reading not so daunting. If you are seeking this whole Christian thing or curious about Jesus, there is no better way to find out then getting in the words he gave us. If you have been walking with Jesus for a bit now then I hope this renews a love for him and spending a little time savoring the love and life he longs for us to live in.
Feel free to share your favorite version of the Bible, any great resources that help you in reading, applying it to daily life or anything that might help the sisters and readers here at The Modern Monica by leaving a comment. Or maybe you still have a question on reading the Bible, there are lots of resources throughout this post, but leave a comment here or on social media, you are not in it alone so let’s come together as we figure this messy life out together along with our sisters who wanna help!