“Ideas to Improve Your Personal Scripture Study,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Book of Mormon 2020 (2020)
“Ideas to Improve Your Personal Scripture Study,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2020
Here are some simple ways to enhance your study of the word of God in the scriptures.
The scriptures teach us that all things testify of Christ (see 2 Nephi 11:4; Moses 6:63), so look for Him in the events, stories, and teachings of the Book of Mormon. Consider noting or marking verses that teach about the Savior and how to follow Him.
You may find that certain words and phrases in the scriptures impress you, as if they were written specifically for you. They may feel personally relevant and inspire and motivate you. Consider marking them in your scriptures or writing them in a study journal.
Sometimes gospel truths (often called doctrine or principles) are stated directly, and sometimes they are implied through an example or story. Ask yourself, “What eternal truths are taught in these verses?”
Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings, even if they are unrelated to what you are reading. Those impressions may be the very things that your Heavenly Father wants you to learn.
Consider how the stories and teachings you are reading apply to your life. For example, you could ask yourself, “What experiences have I had that are similar to what I am reading?” or “How can I follow the example of this person in the scriptures?”
As you study the scriptures, questions may come to mind. These questions might relate to what you are reading or to your life in general. Ponder these questions and look for answers as you continue studying the scriptures.
To gain additional insights into the verses you read, use the footnotes, the Topical Guide, the Bible Dictionary, the Guide to the Scriptures (scriptures.ChurchofJesusChrist.org), and other study helps.
You can find meaningful insights about a scripture if you consider its context—the circumstances or setting of the scripture. For example, knowing the background and beliefs of the people a prophet spoke to can help you understand the intent of his words.
There are many ways to record the impressions that come as you study. For example, you could mark a meaningful word or phrase and record your thoughts as a note in your scriptures. You could also keep a journal of the insights, feelings, and impressions you receive.
Read what latter-day prophets and apostles have taught about the principles you find in the scriptures (for example, see conference.ChurchofJesusChrist.org and Church magazines).
Discussing insights from your personal study is not only a good way to teach others, but it also helps strengthen your understanding of what you have read.
Scripture study should not only inspire us but also lead us to change the way we live. Listen to what the Spirit prompts you to do as you read, and then commit to act on those promptings.
President Russell M. Nelson said: “If we ‘press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, … [we] shall have eternal life’ [2 Nephi 31:20].
“To feast means more than to taste. To feast means to savor. We savor the scriptures by studying them in a spirit of delightful discovery and faithful obedience. When we feast upon the words of Christ, they are embedded ‘in fleshy tables of the heart’ [2 Corinthians 3:3]. They become an integral part of our nature” (“Living by Scriptural Guidance,” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 17).