Daily scripture study is one of those things that you know you should do, but that many have a hard time with. Maybe you’ve tried all of the usual tricks, but usually end up reading what you can before going to bed every night. Here are some strategies to take your scripture study to the next level.
Remember how in the scriptures, the prophets always went up into a high place or a mountain to talk to God? Well some of my fondest memories include studying the scriptures out on a patio or deck, usually in comfy clothes, always with food. Instead of the standard late night verses before you sleep, enhance your study by taking your scriptures out of the house. Find a comfortable place in nature, where you aren’t sitting on a rock and there’s a warm breeze. If it’s cold, replace the great outdoors with a comfy chair and a warm blanket to achieve the same effect. The key is to find a place with no distractions, and to study in a new environment.
Pull Out the Study Guide
Study guides aren’t just for midterm exams and late night flash card creation. They are also really handy when it comes to scripture study. The Church has released several guides to help with your scripture studies, from the seminary manuals to the gospel doctrine teaching aides. Other commentaries have been published as well. Consider the Verse by Verse volumes by D. Kelly Ogden and Andrew C. Skinner for the Book of Mormon. The scriptures have been studied by greater minds than you or I, so why not see what they have to say?
Approximately 35 percent of the population tends to retain information after hearing it. If that includes you, try to appeal to how you learn in your scripture study. Listen to conference talks on topics you are interested in or watch Mormon Messages. The LDS gospel library app even has a setting that will read the scriptures to you. But even if you don’t learn by listening, turning on a talk or some soft music can help calm your mind and get you in the scripture studying spirit.
Study by Topic/Interest/Question
The scriptures do not need to be studied in the order they are printed. Try a chronological read through, or let your questions guide your nightly verses. You could study the verses from your favorite hymn. Or if you are interested in the imagery of the shepherd with lambs, search for those verses and stories. If heaven is your topic of choice, pull from all four books of scripture to round out your spiritual education. Don’t feel constrained by that lovely chart of the chapters of the Book of Mormon you’ve hung on your mirror. Break free into new territory.
Try to Translate
Translations between languages can produce some comical results, like when you put Frozen’s “Let It Go” through Google Translate a couple times. But these differences can also be opportunities for the spirit to enlarge your understanding of the scriptures. Since the Book of Mormon is available in 110 languages, try your hand with your non-native language translation. The process of figuring out what exactly that phrase means may be the spiritual experience you’re looking for.
Discuss with a Friend
No one ever said that scripture study had to be done alone. For my first semester of college, I helped my roommate prepare for her mission by studying scripture with her almost every night. Nobody’s perfect. But as we studied with the knowledge that we were going to talk about it together, different doctrine stood out to me. Your scripture study can be beneficial for you and for someone else, if you want to study with a friend.
Whichever way you study, the scriptures are a wealth of spiritual knowledge just waiting to be discovered. Share some of your scripture study tips below!