Part of the discussion at our staff meeting this week centered on how the Word of God has the power to transform our lives. We discussed the fact that there are many wonderful book studies that help us dig deeper into a particular passage or theme from the Bible, but there is still nothing like just opening the Bible and allowing the Spirit to speak to us. I hope you find great joy in meditating and renewing your mind on the Holy Scriptures.
Having said that, I must admit I didn’t always enjoy reading the Bible. I wasn’t sure where to read or what to do with the parts that didn’t make sense. Correctly interpreting and applying scripture takes time as one grows in listening to the Spirit. In fact the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know about the living and active word of God. Maybe you feel the same way.
There are many tools available that are helpful in making your Bible study time more meaningful. One such tool I learned about is Wayne Corderio’s S.O.A.P. Bible Study method. SOAP stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer. Basically, Wayne would encourage a person to read a portion of scripture in anticipation that God will speak to you through his Holy Spirit. Once you’ve read the portion of scripture, then write down your observation of a verse that strikes you. After writing down your observation, then think about how that verse could apply to your life and finish by writing out a prayer.
Let’s give it a try with one of my favorite passages; Colossians 4:2-6. I love this passage because God has spoken to me in so many ways through it.
SCRIPTURE: 2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
OBSERVATION: It’s amazing to me that Paul is sitting in prison bound with chains and yet he prays that God would give him an opportunity to tell someone about salvation through Jesus. I think if I was sitting in prison in chains, I would pray instead that God would “open a door for me to get out.” My initial response is, what is he thinking? There is no doubt Paul was certainly passionate about sharing his faith.
APPLICATION: Learning from Paul, I must make telling others about Jesus more important than my own personal comfort and safety. Even though I may face many situations in life I would rather not be in, I must always make the most of every situation.
PRAYER: Father, I praise you for how the gospel so powerfully transformed Paul’s life. I pray that the gospel would radically transform my life too, so that my greatest passion in life would be to share the mystery of your great salvation through Christ. Please forgive me for being so focused on my safety and comfort. Please open a door for me to share your message of hope. Amen.
My prayer is that this Bible study method may be helpful to hearing God speak to you. And as Jesus said, now that you know these things, you would be blessed if you do them.
Under His mercy, Mike

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