SOAP Study - October 19, 2020
1 Corinthians 9:19-23
19 Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ. 20 When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law. 21 When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law,[a] I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ.
22 When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. 23 I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.
PERSONAL SOAP STUDY
- What verse stood out to you while you were reading?
- What did you discover about God, yourself, and others?
- How should this information impact your life?
- What needs to be different about the way you are currently living?
- Take some time to talk to God about the things you just learned and how you want your life to look different. Give God thanks for revealing these things to you, ask Him for wisdom and courage to move forward so that you can apply these things to your life.
STAFF SOAP STUDY
Who are the people with whom you feel most comfortable? To whom do you feel most attracted? In your circle of friends or colleagues, who is most like you? In your family, who do you resemble most? Paul highlights people with whom he attempts to identify: Jews; those under the Jewish law; Gentiles; those outside the law; and the weak. In a commentary on 1 Corinthians, Richard B. Hays notes that Paul’s desire is to spread the Good News and Paul believes that he is most effective when he identifies with those he hopes to reach.
It seems that most people are not eager to participate in evangelism. However, if we are compelled to talk to others about our beliefs, we will probably feel most comfortable and we will probably be most effective when engaging those with whom we have something in common.
How often have you tried to convince someone that they would be comfortable at “your church?” In your attempt to convince them, have you emphasized the things that they have in common with you or other members of the church? Paul used extreme measures to demonstrate that he will become whatever or whoever is required to extend a compelling invitation to respond to the Good News. Paul was a privileged Jew who was free to observe or ignore many customs. Rather than contrast his position to the plight of others, he chose to embrace the differences and thereby enhancing his effectiveness as a Christian witness.
Perhaps we don’t need to indulge in a binge of criminal activity to reach those who may have been convicted. We can acknowledge our awareness of the circumstances that will lead to poor choices that may result in unlawful behavior. From a shared understanding, we may be better able to discover alternatives that will allow us to participate in meaningful dialogues.
Oh God, remind us of the times when we felt most estranged from our surroundings. Help us to look for the common ground that we can all share. Our paths do not have to be identical to discover the times that we have stood in the same places. Just as you wept with Mary and Martha as they grieved their brother, Lazarus, we remember that you were despised, rejected and acquainted with grief. Amen.