What is your favorite scripture story? Is it Daniel in the lions’ den? Is it Nephi going back to Jerusalem to get the brass plates? Maybe you have lots of favorite stories. If you wanted to read one of those stories, could you find it in your scriptures?
When do you read your scriptures? Do you read them at night before you go to sleep? Do you read them in the morning with your family before school or play?
Do your parents tell you scripture stories? Maybe you read the scriptures in your Primary class. Do you ever carry your scriptures to church and home again without opening them? Carrying the scriptures can make our arms strong, but reading them every day will make our spirits and minds strong.
The more we read our scriptures, the more we will come to know and love the teachings and stories that are there. If we each have our own copy of the scriptures, we can carefully underline a scripture or part of a story to help us find it again. Sometimes when we are reading, we find a scripture that speaks peace to our hearts or gives us great courage. Those are good scriptures to underline. When you read in 1 Nephi 3:7 [1 Ne. 3:7] that Nephi said, “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded,” doesn’t it make you feel that you can be strong too?
The most important way to read the scriptures is with a prayer in our hearts that Heavenly Father will help us understand them. Moroni has promised us that we can know the scriptures are true through the power of the Holy Ghost (see Moro. 10:4–5).
The LDS edition of the King James Bible includes many things to help us improve our scripture learning. Some of these helps are the table of contents, footnotes, Topical Guide, Bible Dictionary, Joseph Smith Translation, and maps. The “Gospel Scholar Activity” will help you become familiar with them. To do the activity, you will need: the ruler-bookmark on page 37 cut out, mounted on lightweight cardboard, and trimmed; a colored pencil; the Scripture Work Sheet on page 37; and your scriptures.
Circle the scripture reference at the top of the Scripture Work Sheet. This quick reference tells what scriptures are on this page.
Just below Chapter 2 on the work sheet, read the chapter heading (in italics) and then put brackets ([ ]) around it.
Read Luke 2:1–17. Using the ruler-bookmark, underline your favorite part of it on the work sheet.
Reread Luke 2:4, and notice the small raised a before “Bethlehem.” Now look near the bottom of the page below the horizontal line. Find the chapter number “2” in bold print, then the verse number “4” in lighter print, and finally the letter a. This footnote gives more scripture references that tell about Bethlehem. Put an asterisk (*) by it. What is the Book of Mormon reference? ________________ . Look it up and read it.
Footnotes also give information such as a substitute word from another translation—Hebrew (HEB), Greek (GR), or modern (OR)—an inspired correction made by Joseph Smith (JST), or a reference to either the Topical Guide (TG) or the Bible Dictionary (BD).
5. If you wanted to find what page the book of Luke started on in your Bible, how would you find it? Look in the table of contents in the front of your Bible. What page does the book of Luke start on? _______. Near the bottom of the table of contents page is the Appendix. Use it to help you complete 6, 7, and 8.
6. Suppose you wanted to find what other scriptures say about the birth of Jesus Christ. Look in the Topical Guide under “Jesus Christ, Birth of.” Locate one of the references in your scriptures and read it.
7. Find “Bethlehem” in the Bible Dictionary. What does it mean? ________________________________.
How far is it from Jerusalem? __________________.
8. Find the Maps section, and look at Map 1, “Physical Map of Palestine.” Can you locate Jerusalem and Bethlehem on it?
(Note: CS=Children’s Songbook)
1. Prepare the word strip “Treasure Hunt,” and gift wrap a set of scriptures. Post the word strip in the front of the room and hide the wrapped scriptures. Tell the children there is a “treasure” hidden in the room. Then ask a child to leave the room while you show everyone where the treasure is hidden. Bring the child back in the room and have him/her look for it. Have the children guide the child to the treasure by saying “cool” or “cold” if he/she is far away from it or “warm” or “hot” if he/she is close to it. When the child finds the treasure, have him/her open it. Discuss why the scriptures are a great treasure to us. Ask the children to name some valuable scriptural teachings (e.g., good health, happiness, peace, family, honor, wisdom, eternal life). The older children or classes could look in the Topical Guide to learn what the prophets have said about a teaching and report to the group. Younger children might draw a picture of something that they enjoy (food, family) that represents a treasured scripture.
2. To help the older children memorize Moroni 10:4–5 [Moro. 10:4–5], divide the verses and the reference into five short phrases and print them on large pieces of paper or poster board. Have five helpers hold the phrases in the proper order while everyone reads each phrase out loud, starting at the end and working backward to the beginning. After they have repeated each phrase several times, choose five new helpers to hold the phrases, but not in the proper order. Ask the children to help you rearrange the helpers so that the phrases are in the proper order. Repeat the scripture. Randomly give the phrases to five new helpers and have them arrange themselves in the proper order. Then have all the children repeat the scripture out loud, starting at the end. Have the helper holding the last phrase turn over his/her phrase and see if everyone can say it. Repeat with the other phrases. Younger children may want to memorize Moroni 10:5 [Moro. 10:5]. For additional help see “Helping Children Memorize Scriptures” in “Helps for the Teacher,” Primary 4 manual, pp. x–xi.
3. From your ward/branch, invite a recently returned missionary, a convert to the Church, a Primary teacher, and/or a prospective missionary to share a personal experience involving Moroni’s promise (see Moro. 10:4) and how they came to know that the Book of Mormon is true.
4. To emphasize the importance of having the scriptures, tell the story of Nephi and his brothers returning to Jerusalem through the desert, losing their fortune, and putting their lives in danger to obtain the brass plates (see l Ne. 3–5). Point out that they needed the plates to preserve their language (see 1 Ne. 3:19), to have the words of the prophets (see 1 Ne. 3:20), to have the commandments according to the law of Moses (see 1 Ne. 4:15), and to have a record of their genealogy (see 1 Ne. 5:14). Use pictures 4–6, 4–7, 4–8 from the Primary 4 manual Picture Kit to tell the story to the younger children. To review the story, have items such as a canteen, gold coins or jewelry, a sword or knife, a dictionary, the scriptures, the Ten Commandments, and a genealogy sheet or picture of ancestors, hidden in a large bag or box. Ask the children, one at a time, to select an item and tell what part of the story it reminds them of. Finish by telling the children that Lehi rejoiced when his sons returned with the plates (see 1 Ne. 5:1, 9–10). Then sing the first verse of “Nephi’s Courage,” (CS, p. 120).
5. For additional resources on the scriptures, see in the Friend: “The Word of God,” July 1995, pp. 48–49; “The Scriptures,” Aug. 1995, pp. 36–37; “The Gift of Obedience,” Sharing Time Idea no. 3, Dec. 1996, pp. 14, 26; and “Christmas Quiz,” Dec. 1996, p. 26.