Ten Scripture Study Tools
September 2010

“Ten Scripture Study Tools,” Ensign, Sept. 2010, 31

Ten Scripture Study Tools

Do you want to get more out of your scripture study? Trying some of these 10 tools can help. The more you earnestly seek to understand and apply the words of the scriptures, the more you will learn.

  1. Questions: Ask questions like “What did this prophet want me to know?” or “How can I apply this to my life?” Increased understanding comes as you explore the answers to these questions.

    Example: Mosiah 4:14–15.

  2. Word definitions: Ancient prophets used words that may be foreign to us. Use the Bible Dictionary, a regular dictionary, and footnotes to understand words and recognize synonyms.

    Example: Define the word flaxen in 2 Nephi 26:22.

  3. Name substitution: Insert your name for a name or pronoun in the scriptures.

    Example: D&C 25:1.

  4. Scripture chain: Group or link together scriptures on the same topic and use cross-references to clarify meaning and unlock understanding.

    Example: Chain for the law of consecration—D&C 42:30–34; 51:3; 83:1–6.

  5. Cause and effect: Look for if/then and because/therefore relationships.

    Example: Jeremiah 7:5–7.

  6. Words of emphasis or explanation: Words and phrases like behold, wherefore, because, nevertheless, and thus we see are invitations to stop and look for lessons learned or meanings given.

    Examples: Helaman 6:35–36; 3 Nephi 18:30–32.

  7. Scripture lists: Prophets often gave lists in their warnings and challenges without identifying them in ways we are used to. When you find lists, number each element.

    Example: 2 Timothy 3:16–17.

  8. Clarification: Define the who, what, when, and where of scriptural events or passages.

    Example: Luke 10:25–29.

  9. Visualization: Look for descriptive details and create a mental picture as you read. Ask questions about the event and imagine being present when it took place. Try to see it from different points of view.

    Example: Acts 3:1–11.

  10. Scriptural symbolism: Words such as like, as, or likened unto identify symbols. Look beyond the symbol by exploring its nature and pondering its characteristics or attributes. The Bible Dictionary, Topical Guide, and footnotes can also help you find the interpretation.

    Example: Compare Daniel 2:31–35 with Daniel 2:36–45.