Saturday, August 4, 2012

Mt. Lewis Stake Relief Society Super Saturday Scripture Study Class Handout

Scripture Study Tools
I choose an inexpensive set of Scriptures so I don’t feel bad marking them.
I try to get a new set every time I complete the standard works.

Nephi said we ought to “feast upon the words of Christ” (2 Nephi 32:3), and Jesus commanded the Nephites to “search [the scriptures] diligently” (3 Nephi 23:1). This kind of study involves more than just quickly reading through the scriptures. The following ideas and tools will help you learn more when you study. They are divided into three categories: before reading, during reading, and after reading.
  1. Before Reading

  • pray Pray PRAY!
The scriptures were written by inspiration. Consequently, they are understood by the spirit we must have the companionship of the Holy Ghost or the Spirit /Light of Christ. In the Old Testament we learn about the priest Ezra who “prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel” (Ezra 7:10). Prepare your heart to read the scriptures by obeying the commandments and humbly praying each time you read.
  • Understand the Setting
Understanding the historical background of the scriptures will help you gain greater insights as you read. The book and chapter headings in the Book of Mormon provide brief explanations of the historical events written about in them. From church resources find the background for the people places and customs that you are reading.
  • Read the Chapter Headings
Chapter headings are simple summaries of the main ideas in a chapter. Reading the chapter heading before you begin to study a chapter is a good study habit that will help you prepare to ask questions and look for answers as you read.
  • Ask Questions
Before you read, it is helpful to ask yourself questions like:

  • Who wrote these verses?
  • To whom were they originally writing?
  • What is happening historicaly?
  • What customs and societal ‘norms’ did they have?
  • How these norms might help or hindered their willingness to receiving it?
  • Why is this teaching included in the scriptures?
  • What do I want to know or learn as I read today?
  • What does the Lord want me to learn as I read today?
  • What is the missionary application in these scriptures?
  • How would/should/will understanding this make me more Christ like?
  • If I receive inspiration to act; how will I follow it quickly?
  • How can I liken these passages unto myself?

  1. During Reading

  • Don’t Be Afraid to Stop
Most nuggets of gold are not found on the surface of the ground—you must dig for them. Your scripture study will be much more valuable if you will slow down or stop and do some of the activities that follow.
  • Footnotes
I frequently draw lines connecting verses with the same or sequential principles.
I frequently circle footnotes and draw lines to them so I do not over look them. you can underline the footnote reference in its corresponding color.

  • Ask Questions
Continue to ask questions, as you were instructed to do in the “Before Reading” section. As you read, rephrase questions you asked before reading or come up with completely different questions. Seeking answers to questions is one of the most important ways we gain greater understanding from our scripture study. One of the most important questions to ask is “Why might the Lord have inspired the writer to include this in the scriptures?” Look for the obvious clues writers sometimes leave when they say something like “and thus we see.”
  • Answer Questions Given in the Scriptures and Find answers you have asked
Many times the Lord asks (questions) and then answers a question. He asked the Nephites disciples, “What manner of men ought ye to be?” He then answered, “Even as I am” (3 Nephi 27:27). On other occasions questions are asked but no answers are given—generally because the answer may be obvious. Sometimes the scriptures do not give an answer because the question asked may require some thinking and the answer may not be immediate. For example, read Alma 5:14–33 and answer the questions in those verses as if you were there.
  • Use the Study Helps*, Talks from General Conference and General Authorities Quotes
Study Helps resources include
  • Guide to the Scriptures ( )
  • Bible Dictionary (a personal favorite full of fascinating details)
  • Topical Guide
  • Index
  • Joseph Smith Translation
  • General Conerence/Ensign, New Era Friend,
  • Leahona, A Proclamation to the World etc etc

  • Bible Maps
  • Church History Maps
  • Photographs of Scriptural Sites
  • Photographs of Church History Sites
  • Chronology of Church History
  • Abbreviations and Designations
  • Explanation Concerning Footnotes
  • Preach my Gospel

Most of these resources are easy to use because they are referenced in the footnotes of the Scriptures. don't miss out on these inspired LDS scripture study tools.
  • Add New Prophetic Utterances or Meaningful General Authority Quotes
I Add A Proclamation To the World and other Meaningful quotes from General Authorities that correspond with the passage of scripture or topic I’m studying – they can be printed on rice paper then I drag the edge of the paper thru a glue stick and open my scriptures up wide and add it to the seam.
  • Scriptural Journal & Patriarchal Blessing
Keeping a journal is a simple and powerful technique to help you record your own spiritual experiences as you study the scriptures. All you need is a notebook of any type and size. You can copy touching passages, note inspirational thoughts, and many other things.
You can also use your patriarchal blessing when studying the scriptures and make notes in your journal about it. A patriarchal blessing is your own personal scriptures from the Lord, like a chapter written just for you and it can be a very powerful resource if you study it often. You can study it word by word, phrase by phrase, or paragraph by paragraph by looking up topics in the Study Helps. I have a small, laminated copy of mine that fits in my scriptures so I always know where it's at. If you'd like to mark up your Patriarchal Blessing make sure you use a copy and not the original.

  • Post-it Notes
Using post-it notes is the perfect technique to have more room for writing notes and still keeping them in your scriptures. Just place the sticky side of the note along the margins so it doesn't cover up the text. This way you can lift up the note and read the text below. Some of the notes you could write are questions, thoughts, inspirations, coinage, lineages, travel routs, etc. You can also cut the notes into smaller pieces (just make sure to keep part of the sticky side) so they don't take up as much room. This works well if you have a small question or thought. You can also MAKE YOUR OWN POST-IT’S USING REMOVABLE GLUE STICKS.

  • Understand the Words
Use a dictionary. Sometimes looking up a word you think you already know can give you additional insight. The “Understanding the Scriptures” sections of this manual will help you understand many difficult words and phrases. Be aware that sometimes the Lord has inspired His prophets to include explanations in their writings that help us know the meaning of words and phrases. For example, read Mosiah 3:19 and find out what King Benjamin said it meant to become like a child. Of Course always look up definition of words you don’t know as you study your scriptures this will help increase your understanding. After you've discovered the definition write it in the bottom margin below the footnotes. For example in Alma 34:35 I looked up the definition for "subjected" which is footnote letter "a". Then in the bottom margin I wrote, "35a: subjected= slavery, or bondage to.
  • Use the Topical Guide
we can start with A and move to Z studying each scripture on every topics. By this method I also use LDS.ORG and research talks on the same subjects. YES! We can study the Atonemnt for years.
  • Insert Your Name
Using your own name in a verse helps make scriptural teachings more personal. For example, what difference does it make to use your own name in place of “ye” in 2 Nephi 31:20?
Wherefore, ye must press forward with a asteadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of bhope, and a clove of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and dendure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eeternal life.

  • Memorize (treasure up) Powerful Scripture Verses (Scripture Mastery)
Memorizing scripture verses takes extra work but it's worth it. By powerful I mean promises. There are many verses in the scriptures that contain special promises from our Father in Heaven. If we find and memorize them they will help us in our times of need. You can write the verses on index cards to more easily carry them around. This way you can read over them during your spare time.
I printed up a bunch of small cards with scriptures mastery scriptrues on them. You can also then attached them to a key ring if you would like.
Studying the Scriptures is important. It is vital to our understanding. We first have to be exposed to the truth so we can live the truth. As we take the time to really focus our minds and study them instead of just reading them we will come to love them.

If someone took them from us; could we together have them sufficiantly memorized them that we might be able to recall all their truth, commandments, moving addresses, and comforting council?
  • Visualize
Picture in your mind what is taking place. For example, when you read 1 Nephi 18:10–16, imagine how you might feel if your older brothers hated or were jealous of you and bound you and left you to suffer during a storm. At times, the scriptures tell us to visualize. Read Alma 5:15–18 and stop to do as Alma suggests. Take some time to write about how you felt as you visualized those verses.
  • Look for Connecting Words
Connecting words include and, but, because, therefore, wherefore, and nevertheless. As you read these words, notice what they help you understand about two or more ideas. Sometimes they show how two or more things are similar or different. For example, if you think about what the word because indicates in Mosiah 26:2–3, you can learn an important truth about scripture study. Because indicates a cause-and effect relationship between the people’s disbelief and their inability to understand the scriptures and words of the prophets. Read Mosiah 29:12 and note how the word but shows a contrast between the judgments of God and the judgments of man.
  • Look for Patterns
In 2 Nephi 31:2, Nephi said that he wanted to write a few words about the doctrine of Christ. Then in verse 21 he bore testimony that he had just explained the doctrine of Christ. Knowing that Nephi taught the doctrine of Christ between verses 2 and 21, review Nephi’s words and discover what the doctrine of Christ is. Another example of finding patterns is to look for a prophet’s explanation of cause and effect by watching for the use of the words if and then. For example, in 3 Nephi 26:9–10, the promise is made that if the words Mormon wrote are believed by the readers, then greater things will be made known to them. Look for the consequences for those who do not believe the words. The repetition of a word or idea is another pattern to look for. For example, notice how many times the word baptize is found in 3 Nephi 11.
  • Look for Lists
Lists help you understand more clearly what the Lord and His prophets teach. The Ten Commandments are a list (see Exodus 20). The Beatitudes in 3 Nephi 12:3–11 are easily seen as a list. Finding other lists may require a little more effort. For example, read Mosiah 18:8–10 and list the promises we make at baptism. What blessings has the Lord promised?
  • Look for Types (shadows casts’) and Symbols
Prophets often use symbols and imagery (types) to more powerfully communicate their messages. For example, parables are a way of telling a message simply and in a way that has a much deeper meaning. The story in a parable makes the lesson taught more memorable and meaningful. The following suggestions may help you understand symbols in the scriptures:
1. Look for comparisons between persons, places, and things. Sometimes words such as like, as, or likened unto help identify symbols.
2. Look for an interpretation in the scriptures. For example, Lehi had a vision (see 1 Nephi 8). Nephi later had a vision in which he saw what his father saw, along with the interpretations of the symbols in his father’s vision (see 1 Nephi 11–14). Sometimes an interpretation can be found by using a cross-reference in the footnotes.
3. Think about the nature or characteristics of the symbol and what the symbol teaches you. You might ask, “Why was this symbol used?” Alma used this skill in explaining the Liahona to his son Helaman (see Alma 37:38–47).
4. See if the symbol teaches you something about the Savior. The Lord told Adam that “all things bear record of [Him]” (Moses 6:63). For example, how do the different elements in the story of Abraham’s sacrifice of his son Isaac testify of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ? (see Genesis 22:1–19; Jacob 4:5).
  • Look for Contrasts
Stories and examples of good and evil are often placed next to each other in the scriptures to show the differences between the two. As you identify scriptural contrasts, ask, “What am I supposed to learn from contrasting these two stories?” For example, consider what can be learned by contrasting the reign of King Benjamin (see Mosiah 2) with that of King Noah (see Mosiah 11).

  • Cluster Scriptures
President Boyd K. Packer taught: “Individual doctrines of the gospel are not fully explained in one place in the scriptures, nor presented in order or sequence. They must be assembled from pieces here or there” (The Great Plan of Happiness [address to religious educators at a symposium on the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History, Brigham Young University, Aug. 10, 1993], 1). Therefore, as you study the scriptures, look for familiar words, phrases, principles, topics, and events that seem familiar to you from other scriptures you have read. Cross-reference scriptures by writing the reference to another similar scripture in the margin. Doing this in several verses gives you a chain of scriptures on a specific topic that you can find by going to any of the scriptures in the chain. Look for differences as you compare and contrast these passages. Ask, “What insights do I gain from clustering these scriptures?” For example, cluster the following passages and notice how your understanding of the doctrine is expanded: Mosiah 1:11; 5:7–9; Alma 5:38–41.
  • Write down feelings and insights
record ideas lists, special insights you get, or the feelings you have about something while you read do this in your journal or scriptures. To help you remember thoughts or insights the next time you read, you may want to write these ideas in the margins of your scriptures as well. Many people like to mark important words and phrases in their scriptures. There is no right or wrong way to do this. (You may not want to do it at all.) Some people circle the verse number or shade or underline important words and phrases that give special meaning to a verse. Marking scriptures can often help you find important verses more quickly.
  • Marginal Notes
Placing notes in the margins is a quick technique to help you get involved with what's happening in the scriptures as you study them. Just write the main event in the margin next to the verse(s) that describes it. If you're doing the color coding method (Technique #2) you can write this in the topic's corresponding color
I also like to keep track of who's speaking to whom so in the top margin, above the column I'm reading, I write the name of the speaker and put an arrow then write the name of the person/group being spoken to. For example, when an angle speaks to Nephi in
1 Nephi 14 I write: Angel -> Nephi. If there isn't a particular audience you can just write the speaker's name or put "me" or "us" as the receiver.
You can also keep track of who’s who when there's more than one person with the same name, such as Nephi, Lehi, Helaman, Jacob, etc. When you come across the name of a new person look them up in the
Scripture Index. If there is more than one person with the same name you'll see a small number following each name along with a bit of info and corresponding references. Go back to your LDS scripture reading and write the number of the corresponding person after their name. For example, when reading in 1 Nephi you come across Jacob. Look in the Index, you'll see four different Jacob's listed. Each has a number following the name along with some references. Which Jacob you've come across will depend upon where you're reading in 1 Nephi since both Jacob 1 and Jacob 2 are mentioned. If you're in 1 Ne 5:14 you would put a small one after Jacob's name, but in 1 Nephi 18:7 you would put the number two.
  • Color Coding Subject Matter
Color coding your Scriptures is a great technique that works for beginners, experts, adults, or children. It's how I first came to love my daily study time and to realize the true value of the scriptures. First buy some quality colored pencils or marking crayons. Make sure they won't show or bleed through to the other side as the pages of scriptures are very thin. I used a set of crayons that work perfectly fine.Search, find and mark words, phrases, verses, or entire sections of topics you are researching in a color that you associate with that specific topic or subject. Here's the list of categories I used for each color although you can make your own with more or less colors/subjects:

  1. Red = words of Heavenly Father, Christ
  2. Pink= words of the prophets
  3. Yellow = Holy Ghost
  4. Orange = Charity, Services
  5. Peach = Faith, Hope
  6. Dark Yellow = Repentance
  7. Gold = Creation, Fall
  8. Turquoise = Righteousness of People
  9. Light Green = Salvation, Eternal Life
  10. Dark Green = Prophecies yet to be fulfilled
  11. Light Blue = Prayer
  12. Dark Blue = Wickedness of People/Evil Works
  13. Purple = Prophecies already fulfilled
  14. Brown = Baptism
3. After Reading
  • Ponder
To ponder is to think deeply about something, asking questions and evaluating what you know and what you have learned. Sometimes the scriptures call this “meditating” (see Joshua 1:8). There are several good examples in the scriptures where important revelations came as a result of pondering, especially pondering the scriptures (see D&C 76:15–20; 138:1–11).
  • Liken the Scriptures to Yourself
To liken the scriptures to yourself is to compare them to your own life. To do this effectively, ask questions like “What principles of the gospel are taught in the scriptures I just read?” and “How do those principles relate to my life?” An important part of likening the scriptures to yourself is listening to promptings of the Spirit, who the Lord promised “will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). For example, Nephi likened the scriptures to himself and his family by applying some of the principles Isaiah taught to their situation. He taught his brothers that they, like the children of Israel, had strayed from God—God had not strayed from them. He also taught them that if they would repent, the Lord would be merciful and forgive them (see 1 Nephi 19:24; 21:14–16). Nephi said that by likening the words of Isaiah to himself and his brothers, their belief in Jesus Christ as the Redeemer would increase (see 1 Nephi 19:23).
  • Reread
We do not understand everything in a passage of scripture the first time we read it. In fact, it takes a lifetime of study to truly understand the scriptures. Often, we begin to see patterns, visualize better, and more deeply understand the scriptures after two or three readings. You may want to look for new teachings or ask different questions as you reread. Trying to rewrite a story or just a verse or two in your own words may help you discover whether or not you understood what you read and help you better understand the scriptures.
  • Write write write talk about it 
 keep a journal in which they write the main idea of what they read, how they feel about it, impressions that come to you or how it applies to your life. It is also beneficial to talk with others about what you read. Writing down some notes so that you remember what you want to talk about and discussing what you learned will help you understand and remember more of what you read.
  • Apply
The real value of knowledge you gain from the scriptures comes when you live what you learn. Greater closeness to the Lord and feeling the peace He gives are just some of the blessings that come to those who live the gospel. In addition, the Lord said that those who live what they learn will be given more, while those who will not live what they learn will lose the knowledge they have (see Alma 12:9–11).

That’s “HOW” we can study- but “WHY” do you study…. What are some of the real reasons we study them? Why do we study the scriptures?

  1. to comply with the commandment
  2. to know how and what to do
  3. to get answers
  4. to understand where we came from why we are here where we are going
  5. to feel close to Heavenly Father
  6. to understand Christs Atonement
  7. to feel and hear the Spirit
  8. to gain a testimony
  9. to get more commandents
  10. to gain strength
  11. to put on the whole armor of God
  12. to get more understanding
  13. to be comforted or given peace
  14. to understand history
  15. to have the desires of our hearts met
  16. a desire to know Christ
  17. a desire to be like Christ
  18. _____________________
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I believe that when we desire truth, understanding and righteousness in our hearts, when we have experienced its power to change our heart our minds our actions .. our very being, when we want these things over our own desires we begin see the great POWER of the Scriptures. We begin to see them as they are our life map our life preservers. This is when the desire of our heart will soften that we may “have an eye single to the glory of God”.

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