The S.O.A.P method, created and popularized by Wayne Cordeiro, is designed to teach us how to hear from God.
We hear from God by
1. Prayerfully reading the Bible,
2. Noting observations in the verse,
3. Writing down the applications we believe God wants us to draw from what we’ve learned.
4. Finally, we pray to ask God to help us apply what he's told us to do in our life.
As we “hear from God” our next step is to “do what he says” by faith. It is not an overstatement to say that practicing this spiritual discipline will change your life.
Here’s how I do it:
S — Scripture
As I read through my Bible reading plan (usually 1-3 chapters/day), I “listen” to the Holy Spirit for verses that "jump out at me", so to speak, and I mark them. Then I select one of those verses out of all I marked and write it down under “S.” A great Bible app is here.
O — Observation
This is where most of my time and thought occurs. I ask and answer questions of the verse. Questions like who, what, where, why, when, and how. I write all that I observe from that single verse. It can be a paragraph or a lot more.
A — Application
When I do a good job with observations, the applications become clear quicker. I write down what the verse is telling me to do. Sometimes it is obvious and explicit—sometimes it is implied and more subtle.
P — Prayer
With a posture to apply this verse to my life, I write out a simple prayer to God asking him to help me apply the wisdom I just wrote down. I can write more than that but I write at least that.
Then I give that day’s entry a simple and memorable title that will help me remember it throughout the day.
Then I write the date, title, and verse reference in the front of my journal creating a kind of table of contents for the journal.
The entire process takes 20-40 minutes depending on how much you read and how much detail you write. I generally read 3-5 chapters a day, select 1 verse, and then “Soap” on that verse. It takes me 30-45 minutes.
The format you should follow:
(O)observations - Ask questions like who, what, where, why, when, and how? Ask things like what do we learn about people in this verse? What do we learn about God in this verse? What do you see happening? Etc.
(A)applications - What is this passage telling me to do or believe, or implying I should do or believe?
(P)prayer - Ask God to help you apply this wisdom today.
App with free Bibles and Bible reading plans
Online hub for S.O.A.P. journaling.
*Divine Mentor, Wayne Cordeiro
The book that started it all.