I hope this day finds you well and full of blessing. I am going to jump right in and be honest with you. I have a hard time simply picking up the Bible and reading for long periods of time. Before you judge me, hear me out, I love scripture and I love reading the Bible! However, I also want to get something out of scripture when I read it. Just picking up the Bible with no direction and randomly turning to a chapter to start reading is hard for me. Anyone know what I am talking about?
A few years ago in my search to find a more strategic and intentional way to read scripture I came across the SOAP method. It is an acronym that stands for scripture, observation, application, and prayer. I have no idea who to credit this to since I have seen it all over the internet. However, as I have looked at different ways to study scripture I have created my own acronym called WORD. It stands for word, observe, respond, and direction. As you read through a passage or book of the Bible you can apply this in order to get the most out of your reading. Here is how to use this method. Choose a passage of scripture or a book of the Bible you want to focus on. I usually choose a book of the Bible that I want to study over a period of time. Then I grab my Bible and a journal to write in. As I read, I start to underline in my Bible the scriptures that stand out the most to me. When I finish the reading, I start working through the WORD method in my journal writing out the answers to the questions below.
Word- What scriptures in your reading stood out to you today? (I usually summarize the scripture in my own words)
Observe- What do you observe happening in the passage you read? What is the context surrounding the portion of scripture you read?
Respond- How can you respond to the Word today? How is it speaking to you and how can you apply it to your life?
Direction- Pray and ask God to give you direction on how to apply the Word in your life today.
To give you an example of how this works, here is an example from my journal over the passage of Philippians 4:10-23 that I read the other day.
W- (Verse 11-13) Being content no matter the circumstances. Secret of being content is that I can do all things through God that strengthens me.
(Verse 19) God supplies all our needs according to His riches in glory.
O- Paul is still writing to the church at Philippi. He is commending them on how caring and helpful they are. He says that God is his secret to being content but the church still partners with Him. They gave when no other church would. He says that because of their generosity, God will supply all their needs according to His riches in glory.
R- Our secret to contentment needs to be in Jesus. He is our source. We need to continue to give and love others. In all of this, God will supply all our needs but it will be according to His riches in glory.
D- Dear Lord, Thank you for providing all that I need. Forgive me when I am not content and when those feelings start to creep in, please help me to refocus on You as my source of contentment. You are my joy, peace, and my hope in these present moments. I love you oh Lord! Help me as I continue to seek a life of contentment. Help me on this journey. Help me to love others and do for others like you did in Your ministry on earth. You are mighty and I love you. Thank you for Your insight into Philippians in Your name I pray, Amen.