PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
For me, the S.O.A.P method of reading the Bible for application has been one of, if not the most important tool in my apprenticeship to Jesus. I can see how it gave me clarity when I first started following Jesus. I see how it redirected in times my heart was astray. I see how it’s regular rhythm, filled by the Holy Spirit has taken me, a young man from a broken home with broken life patterns and has transformed me into a person that can help others. But this has taken time.
A word of caution: for some beginning this process of reading the Bible it can be frustrating if transformation is not experienced in days, weeks, or even months. True and lasting transformation is gritted out over years and decades in the trenches of early morning devotions, late night prayers, and lunch break journaling. It occurs over time. Many of us have spent years and decades apprenticing to the ways of the Kingdom of this world. It would make sense that a few days of S.O.A.P. would struggle to make a dent in our decades of other instruction. The late, great Pastor and Theologian Eugene Peterson describes apprenticeship to Jesus as, “a long obedience in the same direction.”
We can take heart in the men and women of Scripture that would see the fruit of decades of apprenticeship. Peter, a disciple of Jesus was often quick to speak but found himself struggling to follow Jesus. Before Jesus was crucified, Peter was first to express his devotion that would soon unravel:
33 Peter said, “Lord I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.”
34 But Jesus said, “Peter, let me tell you something. Before the Rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.”Luke 22:33-34 (NLT)
Peter’s denial would soon follow. Peter had spent three years, following, living with, and apprenticing to Jesus. Yet he still would have more to learn. Peter is eventually restored by Jesus and continues long after Jesus death and resurrection to be a pivotal leader in God’s renewal of the world. So much so, that today we read his encouragement and teaching through 1st and 2nd Peter. Before we begin today’s reading, take a few moments in quiet and reflect on this question:
“What would it look like in 10 years if I was devoted to learning and applying God’s word every day?”
Jesus promises an abundant life to those that follow in His ways: peace over anxiety, trust over manipulation, love over hate, faith over doubt, and forgiveness over anger. Here is a reminder of our steps to S.O.A.P.
- Find a quiet place and read the passage of the day. Read it again. Read it slowly. Read it outloud!
- What do you observe? What does this passage teach you about God or yourself? Do you have any questions?
- How will you live your life differently today in light of what you just read? Be specific!
- Let it marinade. Take some time to thank God, to confess any shortcomings, and to ask to be empowered. Sit for a few moments and see if God has anything else for you.
Here is today’s passage:
10 This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. 11 They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward.1 Peter 1:10-12 (NLT)
12 They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.
We will see you next week!