I've been practicing the SOAP Bible study method. The more I use this, the more I prefer the 3'Rs of the American Bible Society: Read, Reflect, Respond. Simpler and still they contain all the essentials. As I walked this a.m. I listened the NLT version of Colossians. It really surprised me. The S of SOAP stands for Scripture. READ the Bible.
S(or Read): Read and re-read the text you are studying. This is essential.
- Read the text
- Read it again
- Read it outloud.
- Read the immediate context, the full paragraph or section around it
- Read the bigger context at one time. i.e. read the whole book at one sitting.
Today I listened to the whole book as I walked up some hills not far from my home. What impressed me so much was this section of Colossians 1. (15-22). I've imagined that this is a "Top Secret" 1st century document redacted by the Roman Empire's CIA. Redacting means to edit out information you don't want others to see or know. If you want to know what the missing information says, then I challenge you to look up Colossians 1:15-23 and discover what was "redacted". I warn you, however, the information is mind blowing. If you understand the contents of this section, you will be a very dangerous person.
Now think about this question. How does 1:15-23 relate to the first sentence of 3:16:
"Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives."
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