Yesterday we discussed the importance of Scripture. The Psalmist says it is, “a lamp to our feet and guide to our path” (Psalm 119:105). Today we will talk about the “O” of S.O.A.P, that is Observation. As we read Scripture our mind, spirit, and body begin to react to it’s contents. There are different genres of Scripture. In some sections we find narratives or stories, in others we find direct instructions for churches, and in others we find songs. Some sections involve prophecy. As we read we start to draw some conclusions about what we are observing. Yesterday’s reading included:
2 God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.1 Peter 1:2 (NLT)
May God give you more and more grace and peace.
We could immediately make some observations:
- God knew me before I was even born (long ago).
- Even though I don’t always feel like it, God has done something by His Spirit when I chose to follow Jesus.
- He has made me Holy (God also says that He is Holy).
- It’s hard to follow Jesus, but because of what He Has done I have the ability to “obey him.”
- I have been made clean.
Even a short section of Scripture offers us insight; it teaches us about God, ourselves, and His purposes and plans for an abundant life. Don’t worry if making observations like this is hard at first. Like anything else, this is a rhythm that takes PRACTICE! Take out your journal and write down today’s Scripture. As we did yesterday, find a quiet place, take some deep breaths and read it several times. Read it slowly. Read it aloud. Make some observations.
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.1 Peter 1:3-5 (NLT)
Here are some helpful questions:
- What does this passage teach you about God?
- What does this passage teach you about yourself?
- Does this passage teach anything about how you should think, feel, or act? If so, what?
- Does this passage cause you to have any questions? If so write them down!
As you make observations, especially if this is new to you, it’s helpful to look to some outside resources. Commentators and scholars for thousands of years have studied the Bible. Here are some great resources:
- The Bible Project – This resource has a wealth of helpful information through intuitive videos that outline themes and instruction. Today, take some time to watch the Bible project video on 1 Peter: https://bibleproject.com/explore/1-peter/
- Commentary – Commentaries are the thoughts and interpretation of recognized Bible Scholars used for people to understand Scripture better. They can come in the form of a Study Bible (many bibles have notes on the bottom that give commentary), or dedicated books. Matthew Henry is a well known and regarded commentator that can be helpful as you make observations. His entire collection is online. Here is link for his commentary on 1 Peter 1: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/1-peter/1.html
While observations are helpful, we ultimately want to APPLY it! Tomorrow we will learn how to take what we’ve observed and get it into our bones!