The scriptures say that we should diligently search the scriptures, but what does that mean? I read them every night, but what am I looking for?
The things you will search for in the scriptures will change throughout your life (see 2 Ne. 32:3–5). There may be times when you are looking for information about certain gospel subjects. Other times you will want to feel peace and receive reassurance through the words of the scriptures. You can always look to the scriptures to learn more about our Savior Jesus Christ. Sometimes what you look for most is simply whatever the Lord wants to reveal at that moment.
In the scriptures we hear the Lord’s voice. And as we listen to that voice, we are influenced by the Spirit. Understanding can flow into our hearts and minds—understanding about gospel principles and how they apply to us and our lives.
Scriptures are a record of God’s dealings with his children on earth. What could be more valuable than to spend our time reading what the Lord has said to people in the past and how they responded? We can learn from their examples even when they chose not to follow the Lord because the misery their bad choices brought is also recorded.
Throughout the scriptures we read about prophets who struggle to put into words the wonderful things that have been revealed to them. Nephi, in the Book of Mormon, says that he was not as good a writer as he was a speaker. He said, “And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good. … ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness” (2 Ne. 33:10–11).
Here are a few suggestions that have worked for others about how to find the things you need from the scriptures:
Substitute your name in the scripture. Instead of just reading a scripture, put your name in place of the people or person being addressed. It may surprise you how personal some of the scriptures can become to you and how powerfully you will feel the message (see 1 Ne. 19:23).
Read regularly. If you have the habit of reading the scriptures, then you are often in the right place to receive the comfort and advice the scriptures can offer.
Learn to use the Topical Guide. You can look up specific subjects by checking in the Topical Guide or the Index. It makes it so much easier to find specific scriptures.
Learn from others. Church leaders, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, seminary teachers, home teachers, Sunday School teachers and others have all had meaningful experiences with the scriptures. Ask them to share their insights and understanding.
Study conference talks. Look for ways the General Authorities have used or explained the scriptures.
The scriptures can be one way for you to receive your own revelation and receive answers to your questions or advice about your problems. The scriptures are inspired words from on high. When you are feeling the most intensely about something, that may be the time when your life can be affected by the scriptures. When you most need help and advice, those are the times when the scriptures will speak to you personally.
Every time I read the scriptures, the first thing I always do is to get down on my knees and ask my Heavenly Father to let his Spirit be with me that I may gain the knowledge and understanding of the messages he has provided for me through the scriptures.
Ramona Viavia S. Manumà, 18 Long Beach, California
When we read the scriptures every night, we are supposed to look for ways that will strengthen our testimony so that we can stand firm.
Félicité Kamba, 18 Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada
Sometimes I’ll skip over something important because I didn’t read a scripture slowly enough. Other times, when I do read it the right way, it will hit me like a brick. It really takes time.
Tyler Baum, 16 Ashton, Idaho
The scriptures are there to give us comfort and advice. They are also there to help us receive by a personal witness of the Holy Ghost that the things we are reading are true.
Danni-Marie Lawrence, 15 Queensland, Australia
I read them every night. We should study the scriptures to know about the following: God’s plan for his children; our Lord Jesus Christ; the commandments and how to keep them and live righteously; how to live a happy life; certain ordinances of the gospel necessary for our salvation.
Kennedy Ediworo, 16 Warri Branch, Nigeria
If I put my name in the scripture and really think about it, I find I know more what the scripture means.
Amanda Allman, 16 Brentwood, Tennessee
You have to prayerfully read. If you do you will know by the Spirit when you have found what you are looking for.
Rod Aubichon, 18 Fort St. John, British Columbia, Canada