How to Study the Scriptures

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“When our intent is to hold tight to the word of God, our reading of the scriptures can be just one verse at a time. It’s never too late to begin. You can start now.”

Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary General President
Stay On the Path,” October 2010 General Conference

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“Many answers to difficult questions are found by reading the scriptures because the scriptures are an aid to revelation. Insight found in scripture accumulates over time, so it is important to spend some time in the scriptures every day. Daily prayer is also essential to having the Lord’s Spirit with us. Those who earnestly seek help through prayer and scripture study often have a paper and pencil nearby to write questions and record impressions and ideas.”

Julie B. Beck, Relief Society General President
And upon the Handmaids in Those Days Will I Pour out My Spirit,” April 2010 General Conference

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“How I love to carry the scriptures with me in my heart! The spirit of what I have read rests there to bring me peace and comfort. The knowledge I have gained gives me guidance and direction. I have the confidence born out of obedience.

“Sometimes I have the luxury of immersing myself in the scriptures. Sometimes I read them in snatches. However, it doesn’t seem to matter where or when I read the scriptures; I can still carry them in my heart. I have found that by reading them in the morning I am able to carry the influence of the Spirit with me throughout the day. When I read them midday, it is usually because a need has taken me there where I am able to find answers and directions that influence my decisions and actions. When I read them at night, the sweet, comforting messages from the Lord linger in my subconscious mind as I rest. Many times I awaken at night with ideas or thoughts that originate from the words I read just before drifting off to sleep. My mind may go many places during the day, but my heart securely embraces the words of the Lord found in the scriptures and ‘pondereth them.’ ”

Cheryl C. Lant, Primary General President
My Soul Delighteth in the Scriptures,” October 2005 General Conference

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“Scripture study and prayer will bring change—but not automatically. If we read with one eye and pray with half a heart, we are engaging in a ritual, and while that time is not worthless, it isn’t fully productive either. We need, with the support of family, to clear enough time to study—not just read—to contemplate, feel, and wait for answers. The Lord has promised that He will strengthen us, fortify and refresh us, if we will take time for Him each day”

Kathleen H. Hughes, First Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Out of Small Things,” October 2004 General Conference

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“One good way to start studying the scriptures is to ‘liken’ them to ourselves. Some people start by choosing a subject in the Topical Guide that they need to know more about. Or they start at the beginning of a book of scripture and look for specific teachings as they read through.

“For instance, when I was called to serve as a Young Women leader, I bought a new set of scriptures, and as I read and marked those scriptures, I looked for things that would help me in my calling. Sometimes I put colored pieces of paper in my scriptures so I have quick access to topics or themes I am studying. I have paper tabs in my scriptures for many of my favorite verses about repentance and the Atonement so I can find them easily as I ponder during the sacrament each week. I usually make notes about what I am learning. Sometimes I keep those notes in my scriptures, and sometimes I write what I am learning in a separate notebook.

“Once in a while I invest in a new copy of the Book of Mormon. When I start reading that new book, I make notes in the margins so I have a record of what I am learning as I study. To help me remember what I am learning, I draw lines to connect ideas. I shade verses and underline key words. When I find ideas that relate to each other, I make a scripture chain to link those ideas. I like to think of my scriptures as a workbook, so sometimes I record where I was when I gained an insight or the name of the person who taught me. That way the experience is refreshed in my memory when I read that passage again.

“Many of you study foreign languages. You might like to start reading the Book of Mormon in another language. When you read the scriptures in another language, you learn what the words mean in a new way. Some people start by finding answers to their questions. They want to know who they are and what they should be doing with their lives. A friend of mine suggested that I start looking for questions that the Lord asks us in the scriptures and ponder them. Since then I have discovered many important questions such as ‘What desirest thou?’ and ‘What think ye of Christ?’. I keep a list of those questions in the back of my scriptures. I often choose one to think about in quiet moments because pondering enlightens my mind that I ‘might understand the scriptures.’ When I do not have my scriptures nearby, then I start my study by reviewing teachings I have memorized. By reciting the Articles of Faith or other verses to myself, I am able to keep them in my memory bank.

“Whichever way a person starts studying the scriptures, the key to unlocking important knowledge is to keep studying.”

Julie B. Beck, First Counselor, Young Women General Presidency
My Soul Delighteth in the Scriptures,” April 2004 General Conference

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“It has not always been easy for me to study the scriptures. They always seemed too difficult, the terrain too rough. In seminary I was encouraged to form a habit of reading ten minutes every day. I was assured that it would be worth it in the long run. I began my training. Every time I read from the Book of Mormon, I found different messages that related to the problems going on in my life. It was very exciting for me, and tonight I hope you will catch this excitement.”

Melanie Eaton, young woman
The Reward Is Worth the Effort,” April 1995 General Conference

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“Maybe you’re like many young people and some older people—you find the scriptures boring, or they don’t have much meaning to you. If so, you haven’t yet put forth the time and effort and faith to learn to understand them and love them. Learning to love the scriptures is a lot like learning to walk. At first you’re unsure—you sometimes stumble, and you don’t get anywhere very fast. But if you stopped trying to walk and gave up, just because it wasn’t fun at first, you’d never know the joy of walking. But as you persist, you learn how to walk; soon you can run and go places where you couldn’t go before.

“Learning to study the scriptures is like learning to walk. When you first begin reading them, you feel unsure; you’d much rather read something familiar, like a favorite story. But I can tell you from my experience, if you will try reading the scriptures every day, just as you kept trying to walk, these precious records will become as important to you as being able to walk. In fact, I believe more so. Every day will go better for you. Your confidence will grow, and you will find the strength to resist temptation and discouragement. But you have got to begin. So if you haven’t already, will you start tonight by marking a favorite scripture before you go to bed?”

Ardeth G. Kapp, Young Women General President
The Holy Scriptures – Letters from Home,” October 1985 General Conference

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“Often while you’re studying you will feel very close to your Heavenly Father, and so you will want to have your scriptures with you. I have this small size so I can carry them with me most of the time. You already carry your schoolbooks; will you carry your scriptures? Make it the thing to do. If you will, others will follow your example.”

Ardeth G. Kapp, Young Women General President
The Holy Scriptures – Letters from Home,” October 1985 General Conference

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