Can the scriptures really help me answer all of my questions? Even personal ones?
We all have questions, all the time. We can’t help it. It’s our brain’s fault, really—it’s always looking for some kind of stimulation, and one of its favorite activities is to look for information gaps to fill. You could say that, in a way, a person’s inner life can be plotted by its movement from one question to another, even though we don’t always consciously put those questions into words.
Of course, not all questions are created equal. Some are pretty trivial (“If Superman fought Darth Vader, who would win?”). Others are of great cosmic weightiness (“Is there an order to the universe, or is everything just random?”). And others, though seemingly not related to the deep questions of the universe, are of such personal and emotional importance that they can take all of our attention (“How can I make friends at this new school so that I don’t feel lonely all the time?”).
The less trivial types of questions are what we deal with most in our spiritual lives, and we’re sometimes told that we can find answers to these questions in the scriptures. For most major doctrinal questions, the scriptures do contain answers; we just need to search for them (see the sidebar on helps for searching the scriptures).
But what if your question is about something personal that doesn’t come up in the scriptures anywhere?
Well, even then, the scriptures can help. Here’s how, as explained by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“We say that the scriptures contain the answers to every question because the scriptures can lead us to every answer. …
“… Even though the scriptures contain no words to answer our specific personal question, a prayerful study of the scriptures will help us obtain such answers. This is because scripture study will make us susceptible to the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, which, as the scriptures say, will ‘guide [us] into all truth’ (see John 16:13), and by whose power we can ‘know the truth of all things’ (Moroni 10:5).
“We may also find that a specific verse of scripture that was spoken for quite a different purpose in an entirely different age will, under the interpretive influence of the Holy Ghost, give us a very personal message adapted to our personal needs today. …
“… The scriptures will help us resolve all of our personal questions because by reading them we invite and qualify ourselves for the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, which will guide us into all truth” (“Studying the Scriptures,” BYU–Hawaii devotional address, Mar. 14, 1986, 18–21; see also Scripture Study—The Power of the Word Teacher Manual [Church Educational System manual, 2001], 45).
By choosing to read, study, ponder, and pray about the scriptures, we show our faith, humility, obedience, and diligence. This use of agency allows Heavenly Father to bless us with the Holy Ghost’s guidance, and we learn then that, as Elder Larry R. Lawrence of the Seventy has said, “the Holy Ghost really does give customized counsel” (see “What Lack I Yet?” Ensign, Nov. 2015, 34).
So, the next time you find yourself struggling with a personal question and not finding any answers or any peace, remember to bring the question into your scripture study. Your answers will come in the Lord’s way and according to His timing, but they will come. He has promised it, and He keeps His promises.
Searching the Scriptures
You have lots of helps for finding doctrinal answers in the scriptures:
Have a question about what you’re reading right now? Use the footnotes. In the digital scriptures, you can actually turn the footnotes on or off depending on whether you want to see them as you read.
Want further information about a topic? Use the Bible Dictionary to get definitions of terms, information about people and places, and explanations of gospel topics. You can also go to the Gospel Topics pages. In addition, you can use institute manuals to get even more information on the topics covered in the passage you’re reading. All of these resources also give additional scripture references.
This article originally appeared in the May 2016 New Era.
Share your experience
When have you had a question answered through the scriptures? Share your experience below.