Viewpoint: Enjoy the Power and Blessing of Scriptures
Contributed By The Church News
- The Bible has not always been available to common people, but now this powerful book is available to everyone. Take advantage of it.
- Studying the scriptures gives us spiritual riches.
On October 23, 1731, the great classical scholar Dr. Richard Bentley was lodging at the Ashburnham House where the royal library had been relocated. The library contained 958 manuscripts, some of which were extremely rare. On that day, a stove chimney started the building on fire and there was a need to evacuate.
On his way out of the house to escape the fire, Dr. Bentley grabbed a single text. It was the Codex Alexandrinus, a book written in the 5th century containing the New and Old Testaments in Greek.
Of all the books in the library, Dr. Bentley found it most important to save the Holy Bible. Perhaps the importance of saving the holy scriptures is borne out by the millions of testimonies from those that have read, studied, and pondered its pages.
In the October 2011 general conference, Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “Scriptures are like packets of light that illuminate our minds and give place to guidance and inspiration from on high. They can become the key to open the channel to communion with our Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ.”
The 2015 annual state of the Bible survey conducted by the American Bible Society indicated that 98 percent of those surveyed believe that people should have access to the Bible. The survey also found out that 88 percent of people in the U.S. do have access to the Bible and more than half of Americans want to read the Bible more (americanbible.org).
The results of not having access to the word of God is borne out by the sad tale of the people of Zarahemla who came out of Jerusalem and were discovered generations later by King Mosiah. “And at the time that Mosiah discovered them, they had become exceedingly numerous. Nevertheless, they had had many wars and serious contentions, and had fallen by the sword from time to time; and their language had become corrupted; and they had brought no records with them; and they denied the being of their Creator; and Mosiah, nor the people of Mosiah, could understand them” (Omni 1:17).
President Thomas S. Monson has encouraged us to read the scriptures daily. “Crash courses are not nearly so effective as the day-to-day reading and application of the scriptures in our lives. Become acquainted with the lessons the scriptures teach. Learn the background and setting of the Master’s parables and the prophets’ admonitions. Study them as though they were speaking to you, for such is the truth” (“Be Your Best Self,” April 2009 general conference).
Finding truth should be a priority for a child of God so it can be incorporated into life. It is easy to be deceived in a world filled with so many differing opinions. Straying from the truth often leads to sin, confusion, and despair. Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained in the April 2010 general conference that “God uses scripture to unmask erroneous thinking, false traditions, and sin with its devastating effects. He is a tender parent who would spare us needless suffering and grief and at the same time help us realize our divine potential.”
In Christian history it was thought for many years by professional clergy that the common folk shouldn’t be allowed to read the Bible. Listverse.com states, “Even after the Bible was printed on mechanical type, there was vast controversy about who should be able to read the Bible for hundreds of years.” But once the scriptures were available to a wide audience, this error was confounded. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
Reading the scriptures should be a daily activity for individuals and families. It’s crucial for spiritual development. “Don’t yield to Satan’s lie that you don’t have time to study the scriptures,” said Elder Scott in the October 2014 general conference. “Choose to take time to study them. Feasting on the word of God each day is more important than sleep, school, work, television shows, video games, or social media. You may need to reorganize your priorities to provide time for the study of the word of God. If so, do it!”
“And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God” (Alma 31:5).
To unlock the power of the scriptures a person must be willing to open them. In the book Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith by Kathleen Norris, a story is told about a newlywed couple who received a Bible as a wedding gift from the groom’s grandfather.
As the couple begin their lives together, they never take the opportunity to read the Bible they received. The husband’s grandfather keeps asking if the couple liked the gift, but the couple admitted they hadn’t read it yet. After multiple enquiries from the grandfather, the young man breaks down and looks at the Bible. To his surprise he finds 66 twenty-dollar bills stuffed throughout. Even though the gift came with a monetary treasure, the grandfather had given something more important: spiritual riches.
“As we read and ponder the scriptures, we will experience the sweet whisperings of the Spirit to our souls,” said President Monson in the October 2013 general conference. “We can find answers to our questions. We learn of the blessings which come through keeping God’s commandments. We gain a sure testimony of our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of Their love for us. When scripture study is combined with our prayers, we can of a certainty know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true.”