As of yesterday, my best friend Terri and I finished one year of doing SOAP Bible studies in which we read Scripture, wrote in journals, and texted one another each and every day. We began doing SOAP studies on June 5, 2017 at the completion of our annual summer beach trip. We both wanted to get into a Bible studying habit and when I heard Louie Giglio speak about a SOAP Study on a Passion City Church podcast, I was intrigued. So, we looked into that study, the book of Mark, and decided to go for it. That study began a year long SOAP study experience that eventually took us through each of the Gospels of the New Testament as well as James, Acts, Romans, and 1 Corinthians in their entirety. We also did an Advent based study over the Advent season and for the last few months we have gone through three studies about Faith, Peace and Prayer. We even added daily Scripture writing to our SOAP studies as we got into the Peace and Prayer sessions. I have to say, it’s been one incredible year! And, I want to talk about that, but…first I want to say a few other things just to give a clarity as to why I’m posting about all of this.
It’s sort of a tricky thing, I think, to write about something as personal as Bible studies and that because I don’t want to come across like I’m ever bragging. So, I just wanted to say right here close to the beginning of this post that celebrating a year of SOAP Study has zero to do with celebrating OUR accomplishment in that, but celebrating what God has done and continues to do via His Living Word. I’m sure Terri can attest that along the way in this year there were days when we were ON FIRE for this thing and just really sailing into it like a bird on the wind. Similarly, there have been times when we felt pressed or maybe didn’t feel “into it” on some days and the like. Just keeping it real, some days I went into it with a light and happy heart, fully prepared and sometimes it wasn’t always something I dove anxiously into every day. (I venture to say she didn’t either.) But, that’s another way the beauty of Scripture shines through is that God’s word never returns void (Isaiah 55:11) and we both learned and gleaned so much from these studies even on the days when it wasn’t the easiest. I never cease to be amazed at how God works in how He placed lessons before us throughout this year that were SO relevant to times and circumstances each of us were facing. It was like He said “HERE…KELLY! READ THIS! Soak this up, I’m speaking to you, girl!” Seriously…blows me away in all the best ways. God is just so amazing to me and the way His Word is living and relevant is just truly outstanding. I want THAT to be the focus here. I want it to be about Him. Because, He’s more than worth that honor.
So, exactly what IS a SOAP Study…?
A SOAP Study is a method of studying the Bible in which daily you have:
- Scripture (a passage to study)
- Observation (what stands out to you in the passage of Scripture)
- Application (how you can apply that to your life)
The way Terri and I did this was to journal our daily SOAP (and, like I said, we added Scripture passage writing the last few months) and then we would text our daily journal entries to one another. By sharing, we were able to have accountability daily AND we were able to get each other’s insights. Some days we would come up with some of the same things, other days we would be able to learn and expand our understanding from the other’s point of view. We didn’t have a set time to do this each day, but we always texted each other when we were done for the day. Each of us wound up taking our Bibles and journals with us on trips, sent them sometimes very early or very late in the day depending on the daily schedule, etc. But, each and every day we sent them and it quickly became something I know we both looked forward to as part of our days. I knew if I went to bed before I got her SOAP text, I would have that to look forward to first thing the next morning, for instance. The way this became a part of each of our daily routines was anything BUT “routine” and everything extraordinary in how it added countless blessings to our lives. Yes, even on the days when we didn’t feel good or were tired or stressed or what have you…life took a back seat to the bounty that God always offers us via His Living Word.
If you want to get into studying God’s Word, I would HIGHLY recommend a SOAP study. For the first session, as I mentioned, we used Passion City Church’s guide for the Book of Mark. Going forward from there, we would Google and find daily studies for for the Gospels and other books of the Bible or daily studies by theme. We were able to easily apply the SOAP method to those and it kept us in a great structure. We added Scripture writing in March of this year and while that added a touch more time to each day’s study time, it also enhanced the learning for me because there is just something about writing that really connects me with what is said.
I also recommend doing this with a study partner and friend. Terri and I both found that there were times when the Scripture reading each day seemed to really hone in on things that were relevant to each of us. I dare say that neither of us has EVER had a hand-written journal experience that lasted very long at all, but each of us filled up more than one journal in the course of this year. Again, something about writing is therapeutic AND helps to commit things to memory. We also agreed that being in the Word daily just helps in a multitude of ways. It was also amazing to me to read each other’s daily insights. Many times our thoughts and observations aligned, but sometimes we both got a new insight from the other. This year doing SOAP drew us both closer to God, gave us a better understanding and knowledge of Scripture, reassured and challenged us, strengthened our already close friendship and SO much more. That’s just like God, isn’t it? You can’t even begin to fully name all the blessings He provides. Same with this study. What we both gleaned from this year of SOAP studying is more than I could even begin to fully list. I have to say – my cup runs over, y’all. Truly.
Now that we have done a year of SOAP’ing, we have decided to change tracks a little bit, but still keep in The Word and texting one another daily. So…what’s next? We will be diving into Annie Downs’ book 100 Days to Brave starting today. I am SUPER excited to get started on this one and hope to be able to share more with y’all later down the road. I got to hear Annie speak a few months ago at Mt Bethel UMC at a women’s worship event and she legit blew my socks off. So, yea…I can’t wait to dive into this book and see what God has in store for Terri and me as we venture into bravery these next 100 days!
If you have any questions about SOAP studies, please feel free to contact me. I’m far from an expert, but I’m happy to give some recommendations, encouragement, etc. This past year of being in the Word, journal writing and sharing with my best friend every single day has made such an impact for good on my life. I’m thankful…encouraged…hopeful…uplifted…and MORE. God is so good and I really do look forward to seeing what is next in the 100 Day journey in front of us.