Studying the Scriptures (1 Nephi 5)
Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, November 25, 2015. Posted in Scripture Study
When Nephi and his brothers returned to their father with the plates of brass, Lehi then had in his possession a valuable volume of scriptures. What do you think he did next?
a) Looked for a good spot for them on his shelves
b) Remarked how difficult they were to understand
c) Told his wife that he would plan to start reading them next year
d) Told Nephi what he thought was written in them
e) Told Laman & Lemuel that the writings would show them how wrong they were
f) None of the above
If Lehi were a contemporary Christian, he might have considered any of options A through E, but instead he "took the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass, and he did search them from the beginning." He studied them! Right from the beginning! And what happened? He learned! And when he was done, "he was filled with the Spirit, and began to prophesy."
Think of how fortunate Lehi was to have been handed writings prepared by men of God who had experienced Him firsthand. Don't you wish you had access to the same types of writings? Wait a minute — you do! They live under covers that say "Holy Bible" and "Book of Mormon."
We each have our favorite excuses as to why we can't study scripture. They're hard to understand. I'm not that interested in history. It takes too long. I'm too busy. We live in an age of instant gratification where reading anything longer than a text message is considered taxing. (Congratulations for getting this far in this article!)
However valid our excuses may be, we can't just conclude that the Word of God is not for us. In order to be the best servant of God we can be, we need an understanding of His Word. The best way to obtain this is to make up your mind that you're going to devote some time to reading on a regular basis. Pray for strength, determination, understanding, etc. and then just do it! The Gospel News and Gospel Blog provide features that encourage reading of God's Word. Here are some examples:
- The Gospel Blog runs a summer reading challenge every year that encourages you to read a portion of scripture in a specified period of time. Use that as a springboard or design your own challenge.
- Select a particular book (ex: James), person (ex: Elijah), or word (ex: forgiveness) to study.
- Pair up with a reading buddy — you can keep each other accountable and have someone to talk to about what you're reading.
If you absolutely cannot read the scriptures on your own, here are some things to try:
- Attend your branch scripture study, especially one that steps through books of the Bible or Book of Mormon.
- During sermons, take notes regarding what scripture is used and the message that accompanies the scripture.
- There are some scripture-based movies that are quite good, but you do have to be careful about the interpretation put forth in some films.
Regardless of what approach you take, it's important to have a goal of learning more about the Word of God. The enemy of our soul knows that God's Word will lead us in the right direction, so his strategy is to find a way to prevent us from reading it. Instead of playing into that deception, let's recognize what a valuable gift we have in the Word of God and take full personal advantage of the vast wisdom and knowledge contained therein.
Note: This article is part of a series on 1 Nephi.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.