Bible study is fun again!
While I was in college, I struggled to find a Bible study method that proved to be effective. After spending hours studying my school work, I became unmotivated and cringed at having to sit down and study for something I technically “did not have to do.”
However, one day as I was surfing the web, I came across the S.O.A.P. method. Since that day, I’ve grown to love my time in God’s word. I’ve always had a passion for writing and inspiring others, and this was a perfect way for me to do both.
How does it work?
Scripture – Observation – Application – Prayer
Essentially, you format your journal (I do this analog & digitally nowadays, just depends on how I feel) to have four sections:
By simplifying Bible study to four sections, my perception was that it would be less painful to study scriptures. I was right!
Step 1 Scripture: Write the scripture you will be studying. This is a great practice as it helps us focus on one topic/subject at a time.
Step 2 Observation: Write down the key takeaways & cross-reference related scriptures to help further understand the text. I choose to write this section in a blog-ish type of format, which allows me to share lessons I’ve learned with others.
Step 3 Application: Describe how this scripture/lesson can be applied to your life. Write down examples of times you’ve struggled/succeeded in the past and create a “how-to-guide” for yourself in order to overcome obstacles in the future.
Step 4 Prayer: Every bible study should start and end with prayer. Ask God to give you clarity and understanding in the beginning, and strength to endure and apply his word after.
I am excited to see how this method motivates and propels you into a successful spiritual life with a stronger relationship with Christ!
Temptation – Stronger Faith
James 1:2-3 KJVS
SCRIPTURE:  My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers a temptations;  Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.…
OBSERVATION: As I read this passage I am instantly reminded of another scripture; Psalm 34:1 KJVS  I will bless the Lord at alltimes: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. David (the author of Psalm 34) teaches a valuable lesson in gratitude. David had faced his share of temptation, and even sinned because of it, but here he writes a Bold statement, “I will bless the Lord at ALL times.”
I can’t speak for anyone except myself when I say, it’s hard to show gratitude ALL the time. Quite frankly, there are times when I am overwhelmed, overworked, under appreciated, under compensated, and just don’t feel like I have much to thank God for. We all face battles and temptations that are uniquely designed to tempt us and or discourage us in our faith walk. However, we receive yet another reminder in James to “count it all joy”, be grateful, & thank God for the moments you find yourself facing temptations. Better yet, I will take it a step further and point out that James specifically says when we “FALL” into various temptations. At first glance I questioned why the author felt the need to say “fall” as to indicate we would inevitably fail at overcoming our temptations. However, as I continue reading, I begin to understand the word “fall” in this context, simply means to be surrounded or encompasses with various temptations. So, James instructs is to count it all joy when we are surrounded by various temptations. This seems like a weird matter to be joyful about, in my opinion. I mean, when I go on a diet for the third time in a week, I don’t look at the donut table in the office and think “Thank you Lord for this temptation.” I mean after all what does God really have to do with “THIS” particular situation.
Well, as funny as that may have been, the answer is simply this…..God has something to do with everything. Although he is not the source of our temptation (more on this to come in a future study), he is our strength to stand in the midst of adversity and overcome any obstacles we may face. So, no matter what the situation may be, we have confidence in God to be strong where we may naturally be weak.
So, why should we thank God when we face various temptations? In verse two of James chapter one, we learn that when our faith is “tried”, we increase in patience. Once again, in my initial reading of this verse, my thought was, “what does patience have to do with my temptations?”, but then I began cross-referencing other synonyms for patience. One word seemed to stick more than any other….”endurance”.
*When our faith is tested, our endurance is tested. Faith is seeing what cannot be seen, Believing when all odds are against you, and ultimately waiting for things to unfold the way you trust they will. The hardest part about faith is the waiting phase. Have you ever prayed for a lost child to come home? Maybe you’ve had to sit in the waiting room of a hospital and wait for results from the Dr.? Whatever capacity it may have been, I think we all can testify that waiting is nerve wrecking and quite frankly hard to do. However, when we can endure until the end of a situation, we grow in wisdom, in patience, and in faith.
So, James not only teaches us a valuable lesson in overcoming temptations, but also what benefits accompany overcoming those temptations. No man or woman,or even child is exempt from having temptations, but we all have the strength and willingness of Christ who lives in us, to overcome these spiritual battles. So, rejoice in this knowledge, knowing that we have the secret ingredient to enduring our temptations and coming out stronger than before.
APPLICATION: I will strive to recall this scripture anytime I am surrounded with temptations and remind myself that God is my strength to endure, and the reward of overcoming is greater than the pleasure that may come with submitting to those temptations.
PRAYER: God, I thank you for the temptations I have faced. Those I have learned from through mistakes, and those I was able to endure. Be strong where I am weak, and be the wisdom when I choose foolishness. Forgive me of my sins and cleanse me so that I may grow in faith and lead others to do the same. Amen