What is SOAP?, I’m not talking about sanitation and cleanliness, although that is important in these times. Rather, what does SOAP as an acronym mean? I came across this a number of years ago in a book entitled ‘The divine mentor’ by Wayne Corderio.
SOAP is a tool you can use in your devotional time. I thought that I might be a useful tool you could use in your next devotional, but I need to warn you, IT REQUIRES YOU TO WRITE STUFF DOWN WITH A PEN AND PAPER. GOD WILL SPEAK TO YOU. So, if you are not put off by being challenged, then proceed brave traveller.
The idea behind the book is that we need to spend time with God. In His word he has provided all we need. Put it this way, it’s like going to have a coffee with God. If it was a friend and you were going to have a coffee with that friend, would decide not to show up? Sometimes it’s like that with our devotional time; we say things like, ‘I don’t have time’, or ’I’ll do it later’ and then forget. Let’s not be like that. This should be a time we look forward to; catching up with our Creator and spending time in His presence. So let’s look at each letter of SOAP.
S stands for Scripture. The best place to start. I know some of us like to use devotional books that have a verse or two and a text relating to the verse or verses. That is good, but how about going straight to the text yourself and see what God says to you personally? It does not need to be a lot; I find a chapter is good and while reading, ask God to speak to me through His word. Have an expectancy that He will speak. Read through the passage. If you are not sure where to start, then I suggest that you download YouVersion onto your mobile device and look at the reading plans available. Choose one and use that plan with this tool. Write down in a journal where you are reading from. If a verse stands out write that down, if it’s bigger than a verse you can choose to write it down or just the reference.
O is Observation. Write down what you observe happening in the text, what is being said, to whom, what is the context, what is the occasion. What do you see is going on? You can be as detailed as you like, you don’t have to write a thesis. I find this part of the process gets the ‘ol’ grey matter’ working. It helps us to get things in context, helps us to hear His voice more clearly.
A is Application. This is where the ‘rubber hits the road’ so to speak. From your observation of the scripture, what is God saying to you? What are you to apply to your life? What actionable thing is God wanting you to do? Is it to be more persistent in prayer? More bold in proclaiming the gospel? To not get road rage when someone cuts you off? Whatever it may be it, it has to be ‘doable’, it can’t be something that is amorphous, it has to be real. When God speaks to us He has something he wants to tells us and we should listen. Write this down.
P is for Prayer. Write down a prayer in relation to the scripture, observation and the application. Ask Him to help you in doing what He has spoken to you about. Write whatever you feel you want to say to God in relation to the above.
I have found this a valuable way to spend time with God and hear Him speak to me through His word. Let us become people of the word. Let it speak to us and mould us to be more Christ like.
In Christ our redeemer, Ps Jeff