Our ward deacons, teachers, and priests had gathered for a special combined priesthood meeting with the stake president. He wanted to share some important things he’d discovered about learning from and teaching the gospel.
He said one of the keys to preparing to teach is knowing and using the scriptures. He encouraged the young men to read and study the standard works, especially the Book of Mormon.
“Can you testify of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon if you haven’t even read it?” he asked. “In the battle for the souls of God’s children, we must be prepared.”
Preparing for that battle doesn’t begin when you’re 18 or 19. You’re battling to save souls already—your own and that of your friends and family. Every time you use the scriptures to prepare a talk, teach a lesson, answer a gospel question, strengthen your testimony, or share that testimony with others, you’re turning to one of the greatest learning and teaching tools God has given us.
The Savior Jesus Christ used scriptures when He taught. His example shows us how and why the scriptures are so powerful when learners and teachers use them effectively.
Following His Crucifixion and Resurrection, the Savior appeared to two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus. Not recognizing Him, they told the stranger they were sad because Jesus had been crucified, and they expressed surprise over reports “which said that he was alive” (Luke 24:23).
The Savior scolded them for being slow to believe the words of the prophets. Then He “expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27; emphasis added).
It wasn’t until later, when He blessed and broke bread with them, that their eyes were opened. As soon as they recognized Him, He vanished from their sight.
Then they declared to each other the power of the word of God: “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” (see Luke 24:13–32; emphasis added).
The scriptures invite the Spirit and power of God. So, the Lord says, “First seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men” (D&C 11:21).
One of the blessings of Come, Follow Me is that you have many opportunities to participate in lessons and to teach others. That gives you more chances to use the scriptures, like Jesus.
When you study, prepare, and teach a lesson, participate in a class discussion, or answer a question, do you just share your opinion or do you quote scripture the way the Savior did? He could’ve testified of Himself, but He often let the scriptures do that for Him. By using the scriptures to testify of His mission, He showed us that they are powerful learning and teaching tools. Here are three other reasons to use the scriptures:
They teach us of Jesus Christ and help us come unto Him. Jesus taught, “The scriptures … testify of me” (John 5:39).
They give strength, authority, support, and power to our teaching, provided we use them and cite them correctly. “Their use provides a foundation of truth that can be awakened by the Holy Ghost,” said Elder Richard G. Scott (1928–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “Learning, pondering, searching, and memorizing scriptures is like filling a filing cabinet with friends, values, and truths that can be called upon anytime, anywhere in the world.”1
They will guide and protect you in your personal life and help you know what and how to teach. “The words of Christ,” as found in the scriptures, “will tell you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:3).
When Jesus “opened … the scriptures” to His two sad disciples, He likely quoted them from memory. Elder Scott says memorizing a scripture is like making a faithful new friend: “Great power can come from memorizing scriptures. To memorize a scripture is to forge a new friendship. It is like discovering a new individual who can help in time of need, give inspiration and comfort, and be a source of motivation for needed change.”
A memorized scripture can also “become the key to open the channel to communion with our Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ.”2
Whether in a priesthood meeting or Young Women class, Sunday School or seminary, institute or the mission field, we have been promised a “wealth of blessings”3 as we access the power found in the holy scriptures. And whether you quote a verse from memory or simply read from the scriptures, you will find power in teaching with the word of God.