A Bible Study Method Anyone Can Use

Written by Cullen Allen

I will often use the SOAP method when spending time with God and allow Him to speak to me through His Word. It’s an easy method to remember and to use. This format uses the following principles:
S – Scripture
O – Observation
A – Application
P – Prayer

Here’s a ‘SOAP’ exercise from my personal life that documented recently. This is a great way to interact with the Bible and give God an opportunity to speak to you directly from the Word of God.

SCRIPTURE

Matthew 15:32-38 NLT
Then Jesus called his disciples and told them, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way.” The disciples replied, “Where would we get enough food here in the wilderness for such a huge crowd?”Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?” They replied, “Seven loaves, and a few small fish.” So Jesus told all the people to sit down on the ground.  Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, thanked God for them, and broke them into pieces. He gave them to the disciples, who distributed the food to the crowd. They all ate as much as they wanted. Afterward, the disciples picked up seven large baskets of leftover food. There were 4,000 men who were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children.

OBSERVATION

This was much like Matthew 14:15-21 where Jesus performed a similar miracle to feed 5,000 men (plus family members). That occasion was among Jews and this occasion in Matthew 15 was in Gentile territory. In each instance a massive miracle of food reproduction was performed with a small amount of bread and a small number of fish.

APPLICATION

It’s interesting in Matthew 15 that Jesus asked the disciples how much food they had to work with, only seven loaves and a few small fish. And in Matthew 14 he told his disciples to actually give the people something to eat, even though they only had five loaves and two fish. In both cases Jesus expected the disciples to use what they already had. He didn’t ask them to get more. He just asked them to exercise their faith by using what they currently had in their hands. And when they did that, a miracle of multiplication took place.

Rather than waiting until we feel like we have enough or when the circumstances or situations align perfectly before we act, God wants us to exercise our faith by using what he’s already placed in our hands. The only way we will “have enough” is when we step out in faith with what we already have. That’s when God multiplies it. But it doesn’t happen by just hanging onto it. It only happens with the exercise of faith. When we use what he’s already given us, he will bless it and allow it to go further than we ever imagined.

PRAYER
God, give me the courage to step out and use what you have already given me instead of waiting until I feel like I have enough….or until situations align themselves favorably. I declare that powerful things will happen as I exercise this principle in my life!

I encourage you to try this Bible study method. I’d love to hear how God will speak to you through His word.


sitting-001-allen-12lCullen Allen has served on the Allison Park Church staff for more than 20 years. He currently serves as Executive Pastor. He and his wife Shelley have three teenage boys. In his spare time, Cullen enjoys biking and spending time with his family.