When I was a teenager, I kept a book of quotes. When I came across a quote that I liked, I’d hand-write it into my little book so that I wouldn’t forget it.
Now, I chuckle at many of the sentiments that my 15-year-old self thought were so very profound. But, there are a handful of passages that still make me hold my breath and then exhale a silent wow. There’s something wonderful about a sentence that expresses so perfectly a thought or feeling that I’ve experienced a thousand times but haven’t been able to put into words.
Even though I no longer inscribe them into a notebook, I still love quotes.
One thing I’ve noticed is that quotes from scripture are the sturdiest and richest quotes of all. That’s why I love the book of Proverbs in the Bible. You can pluck nearly any verse and unpack it for days. But, all too often, I read scripture so quickly that I fail to notice some of the beautiful pearls.
Today, I’d like to share several scriptures that, recently, made me stop in my tracks and think.
- Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. –Jacob 4:10
Why do we take counsel from His hand and not his mouth or his throne? Could it be because the extended hand is the universal symbol of friendship and goodwill? God’s counsel isn’t a tyrannical dictate. It’s bread and wine passed around the table, freely and with love.
- The guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center. –1 Nephi 16:2
The truth hurts. There are plenty of things that rub me the wrong way, things I avoid thinking about, things that BEEP when pushed. Inside those cuts and wounds, is there any truth to be found? Am I bristling and smarting because I’m resisting the truth that God is trying to teach me? This reminds me of Prov. 27:6, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”
- Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them […] Moreover thou hast taken thy sons and thy daughters, whom thou hast borne unto me, and these hast thou sacrificed unto them to be devoured. –Ezekiel 16:17, 20
This obscure scripture hit me like a train one day. I asked, “Am I doing this?!” No, I’m not using physical church objects in error. (I’m not using the baptism towels as picnic blankets or making sandwiches with the sacrament bread.) But, am I doing this in another way? Am I using the fair things, the precious things that God has given to me in order to exalt something worldly? My time, my talent, my effort—am I giving the world more than I should? The children that God has blessed me with—am I allowing the world to devour them?
- Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. –1 Corinthians 8:1
This scripture was tailor-made for a nerd like me. Knowledge isn’t bad, but, like a glass of milk on the kitchen counter, it can spoil when it’s left out of its proper place for too long. Knowledge is a gift—the opportunity to learn, to enlarge one’s mind—but it does have a tendency to puff up (to elevate, aggrandize) the one who has it. Charity (or love) builds up the one who has it. And when charity builds, it doesn’t use air. Charity is solid like a tree, one that flourishes and bears fruit.
These scriptures “stopped my scroll” so to speak and made me move closer, think deeper, and listen harder.
I’ve shared some of mine—will you share one of yours? Leave a comment with a scripture that’s stood out to you recently.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.