Essential Church is committed to the scriptural command “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” Ephesians 4:12
One way we are doing this is by teaching people how to effectively study God’s Word on their own. One such method is the S.O.A.P. Bible Study approach. Every Sunday, we provide a Scripture reading to prepare our people for the upcoming Sunday message. We will encourage those that are striving to grow as a disciple to complete a S.O.A.P. Bible study on one or more scriptures each week. We believe that this will enrich the believer’s time in the Word and participation in the Sermon. Discipleship is an essential element in our vision to “Magnify Christ and Multiply His Kingdom.”
So, how does someone get started with a SOAP Bible Study?
All you need is a Bible, a piece of paper (a journal is best) and a pen. Then, following the outline below, write down your responses to each letter in the acronym S.O.A.P.  Use the SOAP Bible study pattern to go deeper in your experience with God in Scripture.
S = Scripture: – Read the Scripture or a passage of Scripture. Write it down in your journal. Or, when reading large passages, write down the “gem” passage that you will focus your attention upon.
O = Observation : – Write your observations about the passage. How would you explain the Scripture if you were teaching it to someone else? Stop and think on the Scripture. Say it out loud. Try to uncover who was the passage written to? What are some key words that stand out in this passage? Are there any other Scriptures that this passage reminds you of or makes you think about? Are there any pictures, illustrations, stories, or object lessons that come to your mind when reading this Scripture?
A = Application :How does this scripture apply in your life? What does this Scripture lead me to do? Why should I do it? What will be different if I live out the truths in this Scripture?
P = Prayer : – Pray for God to give you understanding of how He wants to use this Scripture in your heart and life. Ask Him to help you to hear and understand His Holy Word. Pause and listen!!! Ask Him to give you direction for the day, for the week, for your life. “Speak Lord! Your servant is listening!”
What are the benefits of doing the S.O.A.P. Bible Study in your time with the Lord?
* Greater understanding, retention and application of God’s Word
* God will give you opportunities to share what He is teaching you through His Word.
* You will be able to easily teach others God’s Word and how to study God’s Word for themselves.
HOW TO PRAY: A.C.T.S. model of Prayer
There is no formula to prayer—it is simply conversing with God. It is essentially talking with God as you would talk with an earthly parent who loves you and wants the best for you. God is your heavenly Father who loves you perfectly.
The ACTS model will be helpful to you as you learn how to pray. ACTS stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.
• Adoration means worship. We encourage you to begin your time of prayer by adoring and praising God. Praise Him for who He is and for all that He has done for you. God delights in your praises!
• Confession, the next component, means agreeing with God about the things that you have done wrong. It’s a time to express sorrow about what you have said, thought, or done that is not pleasing to Him. Ask God to forgive you for these things, and then believe that He does so freely. When you confess your sins, you receive God’s cleansing and this helps to remove any barrier in your communication with Him (read 1 John 1:9).
• Thanksgiving basically means being thankful to God. Thank Him for His love, protection, and provision just to name a few things.
• Supplication means praying for your needs and for the needs of others, such as friends, family, your pastor, missionaries, government leaders, and persecuted Christians around the world. You may want to pray for such things as God’s guidance, wisdom, and opportunities to serve.
Keep in mind that the ACTS model serves as a guide to help you, not a rigid formula to follow. There is no “canned” approach that you need to take; just talk from your heart. Pick a quiet place where you can be alone with God and set aside a specific time to pray each day. As you pair your prayer time with your study of God’s Word, you will see God grow you in your love and obedience toward Him and your intimacy with Him.