When Jesus was ministering on earth, He taught that if we searched the scriptures, we would have eternal life. Joseph Smith, the first Mormon prophet, also taught a similar doctrine when he stated: “A man is saved no faster than he can gain knowledge.” Clearly studying and knowing the scriptures is of greatest importance.
With these thoughts in mind, I noticed that many friends who are investigating joining the Mormon Church as well as new converts in our area were not familiar with the concept of studying scriptures. Those of us who have been in the Mormon Church for a while have been blessed to be taught how to study and learn the scriptures and apply them to our lives, leading towards Eternal Life. However, even with all the training many of us received, I noticed that we could all use a “back to the basics approach.
As I prayed and pondered about this, I felt impressed to start a scripture study class for our community that would focus on the basic doctrines of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as well as a basic, but effective approach to scripture study that would invite the Holy Spirit into our lives and also bring us Spiritual knowledge.
I described these thoughts to my brother-in-law, who is a pastor at a Foursquare church, and he graciously referred me to a great pastor in Hawaii who has a very basic, yet effective approach to scripture study. He uses an accronymn called SOAP, which I will outline below (as seen on his website):
Open your Bible to the reading found under today’s date of your Bible bookmark. Take time reading and allow God to speak to you. When you are done, look for a verse that particularly spoke to you that day, and write it in your journal.
What do you think God is saying to you in this scripture? Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal Jesus to you. Paraphrase and write this Scripture down in your own words in your journal.
Personalize what you have read, by asking yourself how it applies to your life right now. Perhaps it is instruction, encouragement, revelation of a new promise, or corrections for a particular area of your life. Write how this Scripture can apply to you today.
This can be as simple as asking God to help you use this Scripture, or it may be a greater insight on what He may be revealing to you. Remember, prayer is a two-way conversation, so be sure to listen to what God has to say! Now, write it out.
We have been using this method in our scripture study class for a while now and it has helped me personally as well as many others from the community who attend the course. It is my hope that as I share blog posts on my personal insights using the SOAP method that you can join in with us on our journey. Watch for updates in the main blog section as well as the “Spiritual SOAP” section that will be posted at least weekly.