S.O.A.P is a doable, sustainable, practical way to get to know the Bible.
In the Bible we discover the heart of God, but it is deeply embedded. A single verse or superficial understanding won’t capture it, just like with a person. Long, close-up knowledge is needed to discover the heart of someone, so expect your relationship with the Bible to slowly grow and unfold over time too. The Bible is complicated and a reflection of many very real people's lives. As you spend time with it, expect to see your own real life reflected there too.
Whether you’ve never cracked open the Bible or lived with it for years, using the S.O.A.P. process (see below) can give God a chance to speak to your here and now through these long-standing writings. Try it with these readings connected with the current Jacob’s Well conversations.
Week of Oct 15 Inner Selfie 2: Flooded, Forcing or Flowing
Job 42:1-6. This passage comes at the end of this long, hard story. When Job says ‘I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes,’ he is saying ‘I have changed my mind.’ The Hebrew word for despise can also be translated as ‘reconsider,’ and the word translated as ‘repent’ simply indicates turning away from something. How does this kind of turning or changing look and feel for you right now?
Week of Oct 8 Inner Selfie 1: What’s Going On In There?
Psalm 1. Happy are those who…Wholeness/presence/calm doesn’t come in the absence of chaos but in the midst of it. How can this Psalm be a mirror to your inner self and to what it can be like to be “happy,” even in the midst of chaos?
Week of Sept 10 Humanize 1: The Battle for Your Humanity
Luke 10.25-37 Jesus told stories. Maybe because even simple stories can best carry the complicated truths about our deepest human questions. What does compassion look like? Who is my neighbor?
Week of Sept 3 Well-Lopsided
Jeremiah 1:1-10. Listen for a call to your own lop-sidedness as you spend time with this story of the call to the prophet Jeremiah.
Week of August 27 Godflix 4: Hidden Figures
John 1. Read and re-read this introduction to Jesus’ life alongside the questions raised by Hidden Figures this week. Come, see…
Week of August 20 Godflix 3: Moana
Isaiah 43:1-8 Go back 3000 years to a people who were on the brink of survival. How would they hear this? How does it speak to us as we face our fears and challenges?
Week of August 13 Godflix 2: Arrival
Luke 2.22-40 The question of choosing to embrace the present with hope even when you know there are things in the future to fear. A daily choice faced here by Jesus’ parents. Let this passage help you unpack what that feels like for you today.
Week of August 6 – Godflix 1: Sing
Romans 15:7-13 As you consider what you love, how you feel appreciated and where you are making a difference in the world this week you’ll get glimpses of where your passions are showing up. Read this section of a letter of Paul, passionate about starting a new kind of community.
Week of July 30 – Boxes 4
Mark 8:1-21 A story about Jesus to spend some time with this week. How can it help you see past your boxes to new possibilities?
Week of July 23 – Boxes 3
Mark 7 Spend some time with this short, full chapter this week. Listen and see what boxes Jesus might want to help you break.
Week of July 16 – Boxes 2
Mark 2:21-28 Another glimpse of Jesus challenging people to let go of their boxes or…wineskins.
Week of July 9 – Boxes 1
Matthew 5.38-48 “You have heard it said that… Well, I say to you…” – Jesus, box-breaker
Week of July 2
Week of June 25 – Science Class 4: Pastors & Surgeons
Spend some time with Matthew 6:25-34 this week. The universe is huge but within it we have real mini-universes that matter. How is Jesus speaking to this here, for you?
Week of June 18 – Science Class 3: Galaxies and Big Stuff
Another Psalm this week. Psalm 8. The writer of this song didn’t know about super clusters but we are not the first people to wonder at the big stuff and about our own place within it.
Week of June 11 – Science Class 2: (Minnehaha Falls storm; special Science & Religion podcast)
We’re reading Psalm 19 this week. A couple notes that may help open it up:
“Glory,” in Hebrew, means heaviness or weightiness – creation and “God’s word” both tell of it. Last week’s reading in John 1 talked about “the Word” too. Dig in and wonder!
Week of June 4 – Science Class 1: Disease and Ideas
What we’re reading this week: John 1:1-5. “In the beginning was the Idea (logos, story, word)…” Explore anew and deeply over the course of the week: what is remarkable about the idea of God to you? Spread it and be contagious.
Engage further on our S.O.A.P. Facebook page.
All you need for S.O.A.P. are paper, a pen, 10-minutes and a bible (or a link!). Here’s how it works:
S: Select a sentence, word or phrase that sticks out to you and write it down.
O: Observe. This reminds me of… I noticed… I wonder… I can relate to… I can’t relate to… (This might flow into the next before you know it…)
A: Apply. Why did this jump out to ME, today? What is God up to here? Wonder here too. Just keep writing, trying on ideas, listening. (This might flow into the next before you know it…)
P: Pray. Write this down too – your insights, questions, curiosities, disturbances, inspirations… bring them to this open honest conversation with God (and remember to listen).
S.O.A.P. can become a personal daily practice for you. Connecting with others about it will make it even more powerful. That’s why we weave it into the Sunday conversations and GroupLife.
Stuck or skeptical? What’s with all the destruction of wicked people? Here’s a 10-min podcast about that. And these short videos with Greg Meyer help open up what’s so powerful (and what can get you stuck) about the Bible.