Week 1 - Friday

The SOAP Bible Study Method

January 10, 2020 • Melissa

At Love God Greatly, we believe that the Word of God is living and active. We believe the words of Scripture are powerful and effective and relevant for life in all times and all cultures. We also know that the Bible was written to specific audiences in specific cultures at specific times. We believe that in order to interpret the Bible correctly, we need an understanding of the context and culture of the original writings. As we study the Bible, we use the SOAP Bible Study Method. The acronym stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer. It’s one thing simply to read Scripture. When you interact with it, intentionally slowing down to reflect, truths start jumping off the page. The SOAP Method allows us to dig deeper into Scripture and see more than we would if we simply read the verses. It allows us not only to be hearers of the Word, but doers as well (James 1:22). In all of our reading plans, we read a passage of Scripture and then apply the SOAP Method to a few verses. We believe that using this method allows us to glean a greater understanding of Scripture, which allows us to apply it effectively to our lives. The SOAP Method includes four steps: Scripture. Write out the verses at least one time. Slow down and copy the passage from the text, focusing on what you are writing. Writing it more than one time is always helpful. Observation. Take time to carefully observe the passage. What do you see in the verses you’re reading? Who is the intended audience? To whom is the writer speaking? What cultural factors are at play? Are any words or themes repeated? What literary devices are being used? Application. After carefully observing what is happening in the passage, determine the main message or truth of the passage. How can you apply this truth to your life? Prayer. Pray God’s Word back to Him. If He has revealed something to you during this time, pray about it. Confess any sin God has revealed. Pray through the truth of the passage. The most important ingredients in the SOAP Method are your interaction with God’s Word and your application of it to your life. God’s Word is powerful and effective. You will never waste time in God’s Word. Take time to study it carefully, discovering the truth of God’s character and heart for the world. -Melissa

More from Draw Near

Week 6 - Friday

February 14, 2020 • Jen

As this study comes to a close, I pray that it has reawakened in us a desire and an excitement to dig deep into God’s Word and grow in the knowledge of our Savior. We have been blessed with access to many free tools, including books, commentaries, and sermons, that can help us in our studies. Let’s make the most of these gifts. Here are some things to remember: Always begin with your own observations. Use the questions you have learned earlier in this study to help you pull out as much information as possible from your passages. It might even be helpful to have those questions written down and tucked in your Bible so you can easily reference them until they become second nature. When it comes to studying our Bibles we need to remember that the text has one intended meaning but many applications. It is our job to find that meaning to best of our ability, which is why studying God’s word can be hard work. “I study my Bible as I gather apples. First, I shake the whole tree that the ripest may fall. Then I shake each limb, and when I have shaken each limb I shake each branch and every twig. Then I look under every leaf . . . Pause at every verse of Scripture and shake, as it were, every bough of it, that if possible some fruit at least may drop down.” - Martin Luther Once we have written down as many observations as we can, done the work of interpretation, examined a few commentaries, and discussed the meaning of the passage with other believers, we can find ways to apply what we have learned to our circumstance and our world. Studying our Bibles should not only fill us with more information, but it should also lead to our transformation. We must apply what we learn to our lives. Jerry Bridges writes, "As we search the Scriptures, we must allow them to search us, to sit in judgment upon our character and conduct." The Word of God is a treasure, but we don’t always recognize it as such. How do we change our thinking?  How can we value it more than any of our other possessions? It happens the more we engage with it. The more you read it, study it, write about it, pray it, and memorize it, the more we will value it and see it’s worth. Here are some study tools that our team has found valuable and helpful in our study of God’s Word. Some of these are free and some are available through Amazon or other booksellers. Commentaries and other resources: https://www.preceptaustin.org/ - Lots of good articles and Bible study tools Studylight -  Another great resource for commentaries and study tools Blue Letter Bible – Commentaries, translations, and Greek and Hebrew Lexicons Here are a list of articles that might be helpful in learning more about studying the Bible Bible Study Tools – Has wonderful commentaries, dictionaries, concordances and lexicons to use for free as well as other tools that can help you) Grace Bible Church – Offers free Inductive Bible Studies for download Theology For Women – Wendy Alsup Women of the Word – by Jen Wilkin Disciplines of a Godly Woman – by Barbara Hughes Treasure of David – Spurgeon’s commentary on the Psalms Most of us don’t know each other, we live all over the world, experiencing different cultures and speaking different languages, but we all have similar difficulties and struggles. We don’t know each other now, but we will someday spend eternity together. Let’s pray for each other, that we come to adore the Word of God more than any other book on earth and through, it the God of the Word. Looking to Jesus, Jen

Week 6 - Thursday

February 13, 2020

Week 6 - Wednesday

February 12, 2020 • Jen

We memorize a lot of things in our lives; recipes, song lyrics, movie lines, directions, even computer programs. We are adding more information to our minds on a regular basis. One thing many Christians seem to struggle with is memorizing Scripture. I believe the main reason for this is because we don’t see its importance. Reasons and Benefits We are called to memorize God’s Word. In Colossians 3:16 we are told to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” To dwell means to live; we are to let God’s Word live in us. In order to do this, we are required to  study it deeply and commit it to memory. Deuteronomy 6:5-6 is says, “You must love the Lord your God with your whole mind, your whole being, and all your strength. These words I am commanding you today must be kept in mind.” For something to be on our heart means we have committed it to memory. We can recall and think about it without having to look it up. It is a way of loving God with our mind. Jesus memorized Scripture. Jesus quoted Scripture all the time, showing how He took the time to memorize it. In Matthew 4 records Jesus’ temptation in the desert, during which He consistently clung to the truth of Scripture to combat the attacks of the enemy. If Jesus needed to memorize Scripture, we definitely need to memorize Scripture! Sure, we can open our Bible and read verses, but how much more battle ready would we be if we could recall verses from memory without having to look them up? In my heart I store up your words, so I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11 It changes the way we speak. “For the mouth speaks from what fills the heart”  - Matthew 12:34b What comes out of our mouths? Complaining? Anger? Pessimism? These are signs that the Word of God does not well in us richly, because what is in our heart comes out of our mouth. If our hearts are filled with God’s Word, then we will speak of Him more often. He will be in the conversations we have with our kids and with each other. He will influence the way we talk about our circumstance and the way we talk about others. There are many other reasons we could come up with that show the importance and the benefit of having God’s Word hidden in our hearts. Now that we know why, let’s look at the how. There are many ways to memorize Scripture. (I’m sure there is even an app out there that can help us.) Here is one method I have found very effective and helpful in my own life. Ron Hood, in How to Successfully Memorize and Review Scripture, recommends the following method for memorizing Scripture: “When you have selected a verse, quote it twenty-five times the first day, twenty times the second day, fifteen times the third day, ten times the fourth day, five times the fifth day, once a day for forty-five days, once a week for seven weeks, and then once a month thereafter.” It is a slow process, but this way we can be sure that it is cemented in our hearts. Sometimes I’ll tape verses to my mirror in the bathroom, saying it a few times as I get ready. I also put verses in the kitchen, on my computer, or in other areas where I work. I’ve even can even put a 3x5 card in a plastic baggie and taped it in my shower for some uninterrupted memorization time. One thing we need to remember is that, like Bible study, Bible memorization takes work and time. There are no shortcuts. That’s okay. It is worth the work. What if this year, our mission was to memorize more Scripture? What if this year, instead of memorizing verses, we memorized chapters, or even books of the Bible? Rather than being afraid of the hard, slow work it takes to memorize God’s Word, let’s embrace it, committing our lives to hiding His Word in our hearts. Looking to Jesus, Jen