Lesson 33: Scripture Study

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 1, (2002), 115–18


Objective

Each young man will realize that the scriptures will benefit his life as he studies them daily.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      Scriptures for each young man.

    2. b.

      Map of a local area.

  2. 2.

    Prepare the following list on a chart or on the chalkboard:

    1. 1.

      Commandment

    2. 2.

      Testimony

    3. 3.

      Witness

    4. 4.

      Happiness

    5. 5.

      Answers

    6. 6.

      Missionary Work

    Cover these by taping a paper strip over each one.

  3. 3.

    (Optional) Prepare a scripture-reading chart for each young man to mark each day he reads.

Suggested Lesson Development

The Scriptures Help Guide Us

Discussion

Ask the young men to imagine themselves in the following situation. You and your family have gone to spend a few days in the mountains. The area is new to you, and you decide to go for a hike before dinner. As you are walking, you spot a squirrel and begin to follow it. You haven’t paid attention to which direction you are going and suddenly realize that you are lost. The sun has dropped behind the mountains, and it is quickly becoming cold and dark.

  • What might help you in such a situation? (A map or a compass.)

Display a road map and select two locations, a starting point and an ending point. Have a young man explain the route he would take to reach the desired destination. Explain that as a map provides us with written directions to find our way from one place to another, the scriptures can help us return to our Heavenly Father.

  • What is scripture? (The LDS Bible Dictionary explains that “the word scripture means a writing, and is used to denote a writing recognized by the Church as sacred and inspired.”)

Scripture, chalkboard, and discussion

After a brief discussion, have a young man read Doctrine and Covenants 68:4. Then write the following definition on the chalkboard: When the Lord’s ordained and appointed servants speak or write under the influence of the Holy Ghost, their words become scripture.

List the standard works on the chalkboard.

  • Should we consider anything other than the standard works as scripture?

Emphasize that the inspired words of our living prophets are also scripture. Write Words of the Living Prophets on the chalkboard next to the list of standard works.

Studying the Scriptures Can Greatly Bless Our Lives

Chart and discussion

  • Why should we study the scriptures?

Explain that the list you have prepared includes several reasons why we should study the scriptures (see “Preparation”). Display the chart with each item covered. Uncover the items one at a time as each is discussed.

Uncover the first line of the chart: “1. Commandment.”

Explain that we have been reminded by a prophet to study the scriptures. Have a young man read the following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball regarding scripture study:

“I feel strongly that we must all … return to the scriptures … and let them work mightily within us, impelling us to an unwavering determination to serve the Lord. …

“We must study the scriptures according to the Lord’s commandment (see 3 Ne. 23:1–5); and we must let them govern our lives and the lives of our children. …

“So I ask all to begin now to study the scriptures in earnest, if you have not already done so” (“How Rare a Possession—the Scriptures!” Ensign, Sept. 1976, p. 5).

Uncover the second line of the chart: “2. Testimony.”

Explain that the scriptures can help us gain a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Have one of the young men read the following story by Elder Marion G. Romney:

“I remember reading it [the Book of Mormon] with one of my lads when he was very young. On one occasion I lay in the lower bunk and he in the upper bunk. We were each reading aloud alternate paragraphs of those last three marvelous chapters of Second Nephi. I heard his voice breaking and thought he had a cold, but we went on to the end of the three chapters. As we finished he said to me, ‘Daddy, do you ever cry when you read the Book of Mormon?’

“‘Yes, Son,’ I answered. ‘Sometimes the Spirit of the Lord so witnesses to my soul that the Book of Mormon is true that I do cry.’

“‘Well,’ he said, ‘that is what happened to me tonight’” (“The Book of Mormon,” Improvement Era, May 1949, p. 330).

Explain that a firm testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ will help us commit ourselves to following him.

Uncover the third line of the chart: “3. Witness.”

Explain that the scriptures testify that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The purpose of the Book of Mormon is to be a second witness of Christ and to help convince people that Jesus is the Christ.

Have a young man read the second paragraph of the title page of the Book of Mormon as the others follow in their scriptures.

Uncover the fourth line of the chart: “4. Happiness.”

Explain that the scriptures can be a source of spiritual joy and happiness. For example, Nephi felt great joy in reading the scriptures. Have a young man read 2 Nephi 4:15.

Uncover the fifth line of the chart: “5. Answers.”

Explain that the scriptures can be a companion to prayer in finding answers to specific problems and questions. Ask them to think about what Joseph Smith did when he was about their age.

  • What had Joseph been doing that prompted him to go into the grove of trees to pray about which church to join? (He was reading the scriptures.)

  • What answers did he find because he had been praying and studying the scriptures? (He found out that the true church was not on the earth. He also learned of the true nature of God.)

Uncover the sixth line of the chart: “6. Missionary Work.”

Explain that the scriptures are essential in missionary work for teaching people about the true gospel of Christ.

Have one of the young men read Doctrine and Covenants 42:12 while the others follow in their scriptures.

Daily Scripture Study

Chalkboard and discussion

Draw a circle on the chalkboard that can be divided into sections like a pie. As the class responds to the following questions, fill in a section of the pie representing the amount of time that the young men decide upon for sleeping, school, eating, and other activities. Your chalkboard should look something like this:

daily activities chart
  • How many hours do you spend sleeping at night?

  • How many hours do you spend in school?

  • How many hours do you spend eating every day?

  • How do you spend the remaining hours of each day?

They may suggest such things as doing chores, doing homework, playing, and watching television.

Adviser presentation and thought questions

  • Could you find a few minutes each day for scripture study?

Explain that we spend the majority of our time each day with school, work, play, and other activities, but often we spend too little time doing things that specifically help us return to our Heavenly Father.

  • Would you be willing to spend a few minutes each day listening to the voice of the Lord?

Explain that most people would give anything to hear the Lord speak with them; however, they will not spend a few minutes each day reading the scriptures to learn what the Lord has said to them.

Scripture and discussion

Have one of the young men read Doctrine and Covenants 18:34–36.

  • Whose voice do we hear when we read the scriptures? (The voice of the Lord.)

Quotation

President Ezra Taft Benson said: “Young men, the Book of Mormon will change your life. It will fortify you against the evils of our day. … A young man who knows and loves the Book of Mormon, … who has an abiding testimony of its truthfulness, and who applies its teachings will be able to stand against the wiles of the devil and will be a mighty tool in the hands of the Lord” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1986, p. 56; or Ensign, May 1986, p. 43).

Conclusion

Adviser presentation and quotation

Suggest that since we are all busy with many activities, one way to accomplish a goal—such as reading the scriptures—is to set aside a particular time each day for that purpose. Discuss with the young men methods that may motivate them to study the scriptures. These methods may include using a chart, following a reading schedule, and having a contest with others. Emphasize that real joy will come into their lives as they catch the spirit of reading the scriptures. The scriptures will become exciting and meaningful in their lives. Have one of the young men read Parley P. Pratt’s description of his feelings when he first started reading the Book of Mormon.

“I opened it with eagerness, and read its title page. I then read the testimony of several witnesses in relation to the manner of its being found and translated. After this I commenced its contents by course. I read all day; eating was a burden, I had no desire for food; sleep was a burden when the night came, for I preferred reading to sleep.

“As I read, the spirit of the Lord was upon me, and I knew and comprehended that the book was true. … My joy was now full. … I soon determined to see the young man who had been the instrument of its discovery and translation” (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, ed. Parley P. Pratt Jr. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1975], p. 37).

Challenge and optional handout

Challenge the young men to read the scriptures for a few minutes each day during the coming week. Testify that the scriptures will strengthen their love for Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the gospel as they spend time studying the important messages found in the scriptures. Tell them you will follow up next Sunday to see how many of them have read each day during the week. You may want to give a chart to each young man to mark each day after he reads.