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How to Use the S.O.A.P. Method of Bible Study with Children

Have you heard of the S.O.A.P. method of Bible study?

It is simply reading the Bible with pen and paper in hand ready to record your observations. As you read, when you come to a verse that is meaningful, you record the following:

S - Scripture - Copy the verse.

O - Observation - What are some things that you notice about this verse? What does it mean?

A - Application - How does God want me to apply this scripture to my life today?

P - Prayer - Write out a prayer asking God to help you apply this verse today.

I had heard of adults doing this, but when I went to the Sally Clarkson Whole Heart conference, I heard Courtney tell the audience how her mother taught her to read the Bible this way when she was in 4th grade. She even read aloud from an old journal she had saved from so long ago that her mother had "graded". Courtney said she was so grateful to her mother for teaching her to read the Bible and take notes because she has developed a life long habit of doing just that.

Since hearing Courtney testify to the impact her mother's teaching made, I have determined that I would teach my children the SOAP method.

I found some little spirals on sale for $1 each and I bought a couple of packs of colorful gel pens. Each child got to pick the color pen she liked and I started by writing out the entire thing on our dry erase painted door.

I explained the method and gave everyone a choice to copy exactly what I had written or to write their own observations, applications, and prayer. Each day I erase the red portion and write a new scripture, observation, application, and prayer.

Every child, from the kindergartener (who simply copies the scripture) and older is using the S.O.A.P. method of Bible study each day.

We alternate New Testament and Old Testament books. One month we might focus on the gospel of Matthew, and the next month, Proverbs.

Here you can see a short video of my Kindergartener going over her S.O.A.P. journal for the day.

*Journal photo used with permission from 12 year old Cami.

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  1. Thank you Connie!! What a great challenge and a simple but powerful method!

  2. Love this! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Chris M says:

    Awesome! I will be doing this with my younger girls. Wish I had known about this method with my first three. I think I’ll tell them about it anyway. :)

  4. Thank you for sharing! I’m always looking for new ways to help our girls not only read the Word, but hear from God also.


  5. I just started using this method myself this year and I LOVE it! Here’s how I do it: http://a-heart4home.blogspot.com/2012/04/bible-reading-plan-simple-effective.html

    I can’t wait to start this with the kids when they’re a little older (4, 3, 2 and 7 months right now).

  6. I’ve heard of this but have not implemented it with the kids yet. The acronym makes it a great, easy way for the kids to remember.

    I would say it’s also important to focus on the context. Too often people just pick out an isolated verse and make it mean what they want it to say because they ignore the context of the verse.

  7. I’ve been using the SOAP method with my kids for two or three weeks now. We really enjoy it, but we’ve been doing it orally. I really like the idea of beginning to teach them to journal our Bible study time themselves. Thanks for the idea!

  8. I love this idea. And I like these SOAP notes much better than the old ones I had to learn in music therapy school years ago (Subjects, Objective…)!

  9. I love what Gwen said! Context is so important! I’m wondering if I couldn’t use this principle with a passage a week? Maybe focus on a book a month or a chapter a month? This is definitely something I’d like to work in for my older ones, now to tweak it… If I used the simple verses with my younger ones and focused on character traits, this would be a great way to get some basic principles drilled into their little minds while young AND work on handwriting. :o) I love multi-tasking!

  10. This is such a wonderful idea! It is so clear and concise and practical. I can really see this as being a help in our home. I am so glad you shared this. Thank you :-)

  11. Could I flog this article for a local home educators’ newsletter? Will accredit to your blog.

    • Smockity Frocks says:

      Uh…okay, sure. As soon as I find out what “flog” means…


      • UK: to sell
        NZ: to steal
        US: to whip

        I’m in NZ. :o)

        • Smockity Frocks says:

          Funny! I had just Googled it and found that “flog” means “to push through” in Australia. Yours makes much more sense!

          I always say I know a good idea when I steal one! 😀

  12. Wow! This looks like a great idea!! Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading through Cami’s example in the picture…my sister’s name is Cami, so it caught my eye :)

  13. Natalia says:

    Awsome!!! I would love tomdo this with my kiddos!!!!! Thank for the info and video

  14. This is EXACTLY what I’ve been needing. Thank you! Will be implementing this immediately for my own personal Bible study, as well as the children’s Bible Time.

  15. How do you choose the scriptures to copy? Do you work your way through a book one verse at a time? I have been seeking a method for more indepth study for my kids and this looks good. I am looking at doing Ephesians but I wonder if it works well to consider every single verse, or just choose one here & there.

  16. Peiyin Hiew says:

    I’ve been so blessed with your ebook on “How to Manage Your Mouth”. I am just wondering how do you use SOAP with a child who is not reading well? My son is 6 yrs old but he is slow in his reading progress. I don’t think he can do much journaling yet but we have been trying to memorise scriptures.

    • Smockity Frocks says:

      With a non-reader/writer, you could do “dictation”, which means writing down what they tell you.

  17. Michelle Tebbe says:

    Thanks so much for this – a great resource for those of us on limited budgets living in places where we have limited resources and it is not easy to get them to us (Indonesia)! Blessings on you, dear friend!


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