Women's Conference class by Megan Wilchen
Scripture Study Tools:
Silverware (for feasting on the scriptures)
• Use a variety of approaches: (1) water skiing (quickly reading a large section of scripture can provide insights that reading a smaller section would never give you), (2) snorkeling (studying by topic and using footnotes is a good way to gain a deeper understanding of the scriptures), and (3) scuba diving (really delving into a scripture—when scuba diving you may only study one verse and its cross references, pull in quotes from prophets, etc.)
• Study all of the scriptures listed under a specific topic in the Index or Topical Guide
• Search for scriptural connections, patterns, and themes (see “A Reservoir of Living Water,” David A. Bednar, CES Fireside 4 Feb 2007)
• Liken the scriptures to you by looking for similarities to your circumstances
• Become a contemporary of the people in the scriptures—put yourself in their place and remember the ‘fear and trembling’ (see “One Step Enough,” John S. Tanner, BYU Devotional, June 30, 1992)
• Use the footnotes (and mark them!) and Bible Dictionary
• Record thoughts, feelings, and promptings in a scripture journal (and mark the corresponding scripture(s) so you remember and can refer back to your journal entry)
• Read a book of scripture from beginning to end while watching for (and marking) a particular gospel doctrine / theme as you go
• If you know a foreign language, consider reading the scriptures in that language
• Search the scriptures looking for an answer to a specific question
• Search the scriptures for questions the Lord asks us; then ponder your own response (see “Responding to the Lord’s Questions,” John S. Tanner, Ensign, April 2002)
• When you don’t have your scriptures, reflect on the scriptures you have memorized (e.g. the Articles of Faith and other scriptures)
• Use Institute and/or Seminary study manuals
• Study as if you are preparing to teach a class on the subject matter
• Find great talks about scripture study (and other topics) at http://speeches.byu.edu//
• Take advantage of the digital repository of articles and resources at lds.org
• Take more time to ponder and pray as part of your scripture study
• Select a specific topic or question to ponder
• Read just the footnotes of a chapter to get a sense for the themes (by looking at the topics referenced)
• Take opportunities to study the scriptures in the temple
• Search for doctrines and principles (choose a way to consistently mark them so you will recognize them easily as you read that section later)
Things to remember:
• Be consistent, even if you aren’t spending as much time as you’d like in the scriptures, spending any time at all in scripture study is better than waiting for when you have as much time as you’d like.
• Don’t expect a “hole-in-one” every time you study the scriptures. Powerful spiritual experiences are great, but if you expect them every time you open the scriptures you may become discouraged. Elder Whitney L. Clayton (of the Seventy) taught this principle in response to a question asked during a Stake Conference I attended a few years ago. He explained that things like prayer and scripture study are supposed to require effort and diligence. If the Lord handed us a miraculous, profound experience every time we prayed or studied, we would not grow.
• Play to your strengths. Certain methods of scripture study are going to be more beneficial to some than to others. We all learn in different ways; there is no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to learning from the scriptures. Ask the Lord to help you find the methods that are most engaging and helpful to you, then pay attention as you study.
• Remember the law of accumulation. The answers we receive, especially to our most heartfelt questions, usually come “line upon line.” Elder Richard G. Scott explains, “Seldom will you receive a complete response all at once. It will come a piece at a time, in packets...As each piece is followed in faith, you will be led to other portions until you have the whole answer” (“Will Heavenly Father Always Answer My Prayers?” Ensign, February 2010). S. Michael Wilcox (an institute teacher) describes this process as the Lord waiting until “life has carved out a holding place in our hearts” for the answer. So be patient and watch for answer “packets.”
Megan also recommends the following addresses. These came up in discussion during her classes and she wanted to share them here as well. These are "links" so you should be able to click on the title and you will be connected from here.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Lessons from Liberty Jail, CES Fireside, September 7, 2008.
John S. Tanner, One Step Enough, BYU Devotional, June 30, 1992.
S. Michael Wilcox, Fourth Watch (this talk is not available online in its entirety, this link is to an article summarizing the content of this and a few other talks given by Brother Wilcox).