How many times a week do you shower, seven times? Could be more, quite often less depending on how old you are. That being said, how often do you study your Bible? I'm not talking about flipping through it or reading a verse or two. I'm talking about taking the time to read and then digest what you have read. Once a week, twice? Once a month? Some of us put it off for months then start as a New Years resolution, (lasts about 2 weeks).
This may be hard to hear, and some of you are probably not going to be happy with me. If you are not able to take the time to read Scripture and learn how to apply it to your life, then your relationship with Christ will never reach the level He has planned for you. To have a real and abundant relationship with Jesus.
Don't believe me? Think I'm being a little harsh? Consider this:
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalms 119:105)
Without the Word of God being applied to our lives we can never see the road ahead.
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17) If we do not delve deeper into the Word and brand it into our hearts, how can we hope to hear the still small voice of the Holy Spirit and by it, grow in faith?
Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. (Revelation 1:3) Will we even recognize God's blessings if we do not soak in His Word?
See to it that no one takes you captive by empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8) God's Word is a measure by which everything else in our lives should be measured.
There are dozens and dozens of examples of how application of Scripture to our lives can benefit our lives and our relationship with God. So... how do we do it? What is keeping us from learning all that God has for us and how to use it? Well, that's the point, many of us don't know how to use it. How do we use what we read and live lives by it? We could ask our pastors but they work 8-12 hour days 6 days a week and often are not available on the spur of the moment to answer our every question and query. We need to be able to build our own Theology. Theology literally means; God "Theo" Talking "ology". We need to learn to talk to God and develop a dialogue with Him through His Word.
That being said lets get back to cleaning up. So when you wash your body you use soap, (I hope). When you are in the Word and washing your spirit, you need to use S.O.A.P. as well. S.O.A.P. stands for:
I've broken this down below into questions you can ask yourself as you are reading your Bible. You can even go further by writing your answers down, and going over them latter in the day. Or you can take what you have learned and make an appointment with your pastor. Approaching him with direct questions so he will be better able to help you find the answers you are looking for, (Or direct you to Scripture that helps you find God's answers).
Whatever you do, always remember to direct your focus to Jesus. Jesus is your answer, your guide, your hope. He is the Word of God.
– To whom was the scripture written
– Who are the main persons mentioned in the scripture?
– What is the overall message of the passage?
– In what way is God revealed in this passage? (Father, Son, Spirit, Trinity, Characteristics)
– If the passage is short enough can you paraphrase it? (Great way of making sure you get it)
– You could also make it personal:!"God so loved ME that He gave His only begotten Son..."
– Words or phrases repeated or stressed?
– Commands to follow?
– Promises from GOD?
– List of Contrast? (GOD is like, we are like; the righteous are, the unrighteous are...)
– Errors to avoid?
– Truths to believe?
– Other observations?
– Scripture that I should memorize? (Scripture that summarize the theme of the passage.)
– Things that I can do that I have not been doing or have quit doing.
– Things that I should stop doing?
– How I can share what I have learned to help someone else? Who I plan to share it with?
– How my perspective should change based on what I have learned.
– Things to pray about? People to pray for?
– End in prayer (just as you should begin in prayer).