The Bible as a Source of Courage, Part II
There are many good ways to study the Bible. Let us offer you one good approach today. This has been referred to as the SOAP method. Each letter of the word soap stands for one step of Bible study:
- Scripture – Begin by reading a passage of the Bible.
- Observation – Notice what you are reading, and ask questions of the text.
- Application – Find a way to apply this to your life. Ask questions of yourself based on the text.
- Prayer – Finish by asking God to make the Scripture come alive in your mind and heart, that we would be doers of the Word and not hearers only.
Let’s try it with John 15. Jesus used a metaphor to explain our relationship with God
Scripture: John 15:1-4
1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 2 He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3 You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.
How am I abiding in the vine? That is, how am I living my life in connection with Jesus?
What fruit am I bearing for God? That is, what spiritual goodness is my life producing?
When have I experienced the painful pruning of the vine-grower, which results in me bearing more fruit for him? That is, what things has God cut away from my life in order to make me more holy and, therefore, more fruitful for his purposes?
Heavenly Father, you are the vine-grower who lovingly tends to all the branches on the vine. Let Jesus be the vine for me, the connecting point to you and to the other branches. I want to bear fruit for you. So please be gentle in pruning away my sins, so that I might do a good work for you today. Through Christ my Lord. Amen.