For one day each spring, my husband and I leave our trio with their favorite aunt. While the girls enjoy a day of fun with Auntie, my husband and I leave the minivan at home, hop into our sedan, and head off to spend the day at our state’s annual homeschool convention.
After we’ve enjoyed the day’s speakers, my husband and I peruse the curriculum booths. Here we have an opportunity to talk with the curriculum representatives and study the materials offered. By the end of the day, my husband and I have decided upon most of the homeschool materials we’ll use the following year.
Bible? <insert an awkward and embarrassing silence here>
Since I hadn’t found a Bible curriculum I loved, I had been muddling through with random scripture readings and a variety of Bible storybooks. Without a logical and systematic approach, it didn’t take long for me to become disappointed with the haphazard Bible experiences I was sharing with my children. I yearned to be more effective in leading my children in a purposeful study of God’s Word, so I began to pray and ask the Lord for guidance. He soon gave me direction through three different encounters.
First, the Lord allowed me to listen to a homeschool talk by David Hazell of My Father’s World. Mr. Hazell explained that the study of the Bible was the most important part of the homeschool day and that God’s Word should be the foundation upon which our homeschool stands. I was reminded that the pillars supporting our homeschool should be Biblical rather than academic.
Next, the Lord kept directing me to a specific passage of scripture. Over the course of two weeks the verses were mentioned were mentioned in my personal devotion, during Sunday School, and in my daughter’s Awana book. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). I was reminded that the Bible itself is the best curriculum there is.
Finally, I learned about a wonderful way to study the Bible without a fancy curriculum. The SOAP Method of Bible study has given our Bible study time more focus because we’re reading scripture, talking about it, writing about it, and reflecting upon it throughout the day. I was reminded that in order to understand God’s Word, I have to purposefully study God’s Word.
If you’re struggling with Bible study in your homeschool, the SOAP Method may work for you. All you need is a Bible, a piece of paper, and a pencil. Here is how to we use it as we study a chapter of the Bible each day.
S is for scripture. We read the passage of scripture out loud, slowly and carefully. Each of us then selects a verse from the passage that is important to us or “speaks” to us. Each of us usually chooses a different verse. I love when that happens, because it allows us to talk about several scriptures during our sharing time.
O is for observation. We reread the scripture and look at it carefully. Then, using our own words, we write down what the scripture means. This helps us understand what God is telling us through this particular verse.
A is for application. We write a few sentences describing how we can apply the scripture to our lives today. This helps us to define the specific actions we will take to live out the verse and make our actions pleasing to God.
P is for prayer. We write out a prayer based upon the scripture we’ve chosen. We pray that God will give us opportunities to put the scripture into practice. We also pray for the strength to overcome any obstacles we might face while trying to apply the scriptures to our lives.
I have been using the SOAP Method for a few months now and it has transformed our daily Bible study. Each one of us is much more engaged during our study time. We’re reading the scriptures more slowly, looking at them more closely, thinking about them more carefully, and applying them to our lives more readily. Best of all, we’re using the Bible as our curriculum guide…no prepackaged materials required!
The SOAP Method is one of many ways to study the Bible. Do you have a different way of studying God’s Word? Feel free to share your method with us. We’d love to hear what you’re doing!
Photo courtesy of Kittikun Atsawintarangkul/freedigitalphotos.net