I want to share a way that you can study the bible and grow closer to God each day. A daily devotional is nice but it’s not enough if you want to really spread your wings in God. We ought to have a need, a desire, to grow more, and to understand who God is and who we are as believers in Christ.
In these days before Christ returns, we see the world becoming darker, angrier and more resentful of anything to do with God’s righteous standard. It’s more imperative than ever that we understand and engage fully with the rich heritage and calling that we have in Him; that we are never overcome.
A beautiful group of women meet in my home, weekly, for bible study. Currently, we’re learning who the Holy Spirit is. He is a person. He is also Lord (2 Corinthians 3:17). He is not subordinate to the Father or the Son. So many Christians seem to be afraid to give Him the place He deserves. He lives within every believer, but how many of us really know Him?
Romans 8 in the bible divulges a wealth of wisdom and understanding about life in the Spirit. We are transformed, renewed, when we come into close proximity with the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
Romans 8:9 (BLB)
Now you are not in flesh but in Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you; but if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not of Him.
The Holy Spirit lives in our own spirit and perceives all that goes on within us. He is our help, our advocate, counsellor, and comforter. He should be able to influence our thoughts and our actions. If we’re engaged and fully connected with Him, this intimate knowledge is such a comfort and a joy. But it takes devotion to listen to Him and obey His still, small voice inside.
Where the Spirit IS Lord, there is freedom
(2 Corinthians 3:17-18)
If we have chosen the way of the Lord, all of God is in us all of the time. We will be seeking to know Him more fully every day. We will cherish spending time with Him.
SOAP is what we need to clean our bodies each day, and wash away dirt, sweat and grease that sticks to us. In the same way, the Word of God washes us as we reflect on the Person we’re reading about.
S.O.A.P. is an acronym for an excellent method we can use for getting more out of our personal bible study. It stands for Scriptures, Observation, Application and Prayers. It originated many years ago from a pastor called Wayne Cordeiro. It does have it's critics but I've found it has brought personal intimacy in my relationship with God. It takes time to reflect on the Word of God in this way each day – but that’s the whole point. Knowing the importance of God and who we are in Him is why we’re alive.
Each morning or evening, whenever it is you can read the bible, go through these stages. Get a journal to write your reflections down. It helps to understand how the bible can instruct every circumstance in your life, your thoughts, your feelings, and your behaviour.
We ought to be reading the bible as our measuring stick. We needing to keep learning about the nature and character of God and how our sinful nature needs His character readjustment. There isn't a person on earth who doesn't need that. We need to learn that reading the bible with our own mind is limiting. We cannot grasp it with our own understanding. We need the Holy Spirit to bring it alive and see with spiritual eyes and apply it to our lives with faith.
This should be a vibrant, exciting part of our day. A time that we anticipate and safeguard. So, here’s how this works.
Scriptures – as you read the passage, what stands out to you?
Observation – what do you observe about God’s nature? What do you observe about the people you’re reading about? How did they rely on, or deny God? What do you observe about your own nature and what can you learn from this?
Application – how can you apply your scripture reading to your personal life? Is God asking you to do something? Is God asking you to change something?
Prayer – write a prayer that requests God’s assistance to help you learn, apply and obey what He has spoken to you about today. Commit yourself in prayer to it. Once you’ve prayed about it, be conscious about not speaking against what you’ve prayed to anyone, even yourself. Continue to confess in your heart what you’ve confessed to God so that your prayers will be effective. Be intentional about your belief. The bible also instructs us to pray for our leaders, our nation and for Israel. Follow the Holy Spirit’s leading.
Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Colossian 3:16 (NKJV)
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Psalm 37:5 (ESV)
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.