Q&A: Questions and Answers


Responses are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

I try to read my scriptures every day, but I don’t really learn much. How can I get more out of my personal scripture study?

New Era

  • Daily scripture study brings the peaceful influence of the Spirit and many other blessings into your life.

  • Feast on the Lord’s word for a set amount of time each day.

  • Try studying one topic of interest, asking questions, pondering insights, and checking the footnotes.

  • Pray before you read.

  • Apply the teachings to your life, and practice what you learn.

  • Attend seminary. Your teacher can help you better understand the scriptures.

That’s great that you are already reading the scriptures. However, if you’ve been “snacking” on the scriptures and want more spiritual nourishment, these ideas can help.

First, “feast upon the words of Christ” (2 Ne. 32:3). Begin your feast with prayer to thank the Lord for the scriptures and to invite the Spirit to teach and testify to you. Then dig in. You don’t have to start in 1 Nephi. You could start in 3 Nephi 11 [3 Ne. 11] and read about the Savior’s visit to the Nephites. Or start in D&C 133 and learn how to prepare for the Second Coming. Or go to the Index or Topical Guide to study a topic of interest, such as hope or repentance.

Second, when you first study a chapter, it may be helpful to read just to get the story line. See who and where the people are and what they are talking about. Then study again, looking for gospel teachings. Look for lessons you can apply to your problems, questions, and interests. For instance, what can you learn about protecting yourself against evil as you read about the Nephites and Lamanites’ battles?

Third, you could study with a notebook and ask questions as you read: Who’s speaking? To whom? Why? Where? Jot down your testimony, insights, questions, related verses, other topics to study, and so on.

Fourth, when you come to verses that are hard to understand, don’t give up. Pray for understanding. Ask your parents, Church leaders, or seminary teacher. Use the tools provided in the scriptures—especially the Topical Guide and Index. Also, footnotes in the scriptures give you cross-references, alternate and explanatory words, and parts of the Joseph Smith Translation. And True to the Faith —a book available at Church distribution centers and online in the Gospel Library at www.lds.org—can help you study by topic.

Finally, set aside some quiet time each day to study the scriptures. Homework and novels can come after a higher priority—studying the word of God. Daily scripture study will comfort, inspire, and bless you with peace. It will invite the Spirit into your life, giving you strength to resist temptations. It will help you make better decisions as you learn where the Lord stands on certain issues. And it can teach you truths, which the Spirit will bring to your mind when you need them most.

Think of your scripture study as an appointment with the prophets. One day you meet with Captain Moroni. The next day you meet with Moses. Don’t keep the prophets waiting. They have so much to share with you.

President Howard W. Hunter

“It is better to have a set amount of time to give scriptural study each day than to have a set amount of chapters to read. Sometimes we find that the study of a single verse will occupy the whole time.” —President Howard W. Hunter (1907–95), “Reading the Scriptures,” Ensign, Nov. 1979, 64.

Readers

We should pray first and ask for Heavenly Father’s Spirit to be with us during our reading. We will understand and learn more from it. Litia A. Tuaniu, 18, Mesepa Second Ward, Pago Pago Samoa Mapusaga Stake

Before reading your scriptures, ask the Lord to help you understand. If you are still struggling, you can ask for help from someone such as your bishop or Sunday School president. There are also seminary and institute books that explain the scriptures chapter by chapter. Most important, don’t stop reading. Guillaume Delattre, 18, Mouscron Ward, Lille France Stake

To make daily scripture study more beneficial, I look up a specific topic that I may be struggling with or having questions about. That way, I can more easily apply what I read to my current situation. Camron Lee, 17, Meadowlark First Ward, Spanish Fork Utah East Stake

Scripture reading should include understanding what we have read, pondering over it, and finally practicing what we have learned. Practicing what we have learned helps us more than just reading. Felix Ewusi, 17, Abura Ward, Cape Coast Ghana Stake

I get more out of my personal scripture study by searching diligently, pondering, and praying before I read. I invite the Spirit to help me understand. By the Holy Spirit we will know the truth of all things (see Moro. 10:5). Sonny Nelson C. Yap Jr., 16, City Branch, Ozamiz Philippines District

I use the seminary manuals with my reading. They explain the political situation of the place, note some things we should give attention to, and tell about interesting details. My study is much better with the manual. Ramon Alexandre de Oliveira, 16, Jardim Taboão Ward, São Paulo Brazil Taboão Stake

When I started to read the scriptures, I did not understand them. My parents suggested that I read at least one chapter and pray. After thinking about what the chapter is saying, I try to apply what I have read to a real-life situation. Ekaterina Tufanova, 12, Shakhty Branch, Russia Rostov-na-Donu Mission

Read every single day. Pray before you read so that you will already have the Spirit with you to understand the scriptures more fully. To quote my seminary teacher, “If you’re not using your footnotes, you’re just reading, not studying.” Julie Dunford, 15, Nazareth Ward, Scranton Pennsylvania Stake

I don’t always understand, but I read and reread. I pray before and after to ask the Lord to help me understand and put it into practice. I try to share what I have learned with other people. Marília Rodrigues de Oliveira, 18, Bandeirantes Ward, Belo Horizonte Brazil Stake

Before my mission, I found it hard to find time to study until I set a personal goal of reading at least a half hour to an hour every night, no matter what. Acquiring good study habits has helped immensely on my mission. Elder Taylor Housley, 21, Brazil Brasília Mission

I have learned to have a question in mind, search for and then ponder the answer I find, write my feelings down, close with a prayer, and then apply the answer in my life. Caley Porter, 17, Rose Second Ward, Blackfoot Idaho Stake

[photo] Photograph by John Luke, posed by models