Prophetic Council Regarding Scripture Study

-Studying one verse of scripture for 45 minutes is often the most enriching form of scripture study. (Elder Neil A. Maxwell of the 12 Aposltes; ask Stake President Chad R. Wilkenson of Saratoga Springs for the reference)

-“Perhaps you may ask me why I dwell on this . . . subject. In answer, why did the Lord dwell upon it forty-two years ago, if he did not want us, in some measure, to understand it? Would he speak at random? Would he give a revelation without expecting that the people would even try to understand it? If the Lord wished us to understand something, and condescended to reveal something, why should we . . . think that we are stepping over our bounds in trying to comprehend approximately what the Lord desired us to understand . . . It is an old sectarian whim and notion, to suppose that we must not try to understand revelation.

. . . . Do not suppose, however, that those first principles [of the gospel] are the only ones to be learned; do not become stereotyped in your feelings, and think that you must always dwell upon them and proceed no further. If there be knowledge concerning the future, . . . the present, . . .[the] past, or any species of knowledge that would be beneficial to the mind of man, let us seek it; and that which we cannot obtain by using the light which God has placed within us, by using our reasoning powers, by reading books, or by human wisdom alone, let us seek to a higher source—to that Being who is filled with knowledge, and who has given laws to all things and who, in his wisdom, goodness, justice and mercy, controls all things according to their capacity, and according to the various spheres and conditions in which they are placed.” (Orson Pratt, March 14, 1875, Salt Lake City, 16th Ward, reported by David W. Evans)

-“It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance.” (D&C 131:6)

-“When God offers a blessing or knowledge to a man, and he refuses to receive it, he will be damned.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 323)

-Elder Holland said nothing substitutes for time in the scriptures themselves regardless of good commentaries we can read (from his “Christ and the New Covenant” book recently published)

-“It is a paradox that men will gladly devote time every day for many years to learn a science or art; yet will expect to win a knowledge of the Gospel which comprehends all sciences and arts, through perfunctory glances at books or occasional listening to sermons.” (Elder John A Widstoe, Evidences and Reconciliations, 1951)

– “It is a paradox that men will gladly devote time every day for many years to learn a science or an art; yet will expect to win a knowledge of the gospel, which comprehends all sciences and arts, through perfunctory glances at books or occasional listening to sermons. The gospel should be studied more intensively than any school or college subject. They who pass opinion on the gospel without having given it intimate and careful study are not lovers of truth, and their opinions are worthless.” (John A. Widtsoe, [1872–1952] of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Evidences and Reconciliations, p.16-17)

-“Let there be study of the scriptures at least thirty minutes of each day” (Teachings Of Presidents Of The Church: Harold B. Lee, p.59).

-“We should not be haphazard in our reading but rather develop a systematic plan for study. There are some who read to a schedule of a number of pages or a set number of chapters each day or week. This may be perfectly justifiable and may be enjoyable if one is reading for pleasure, but it does not constitute meaningful study. 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… It would be ideal if an hour could be spent each day; but if that much cannot be had, a half hour on a regular basis would result in substantial accomplishment. A quarter of an hour is little time, but it is surprising how much enlightenment and knowledge can be acquired in a subject so meaningful. The important thing is to allow nothing else to ever interfere with our study (President Howard W. Hunter, Ensign, Nov. 1979, 64, emphasis added).

-“There is a power in the book [of Mormon] which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of [it.] You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. The scriptures are called ‘the words of life’ (see D&C 84:85), and nowhere is that more true than it is of the Book of Mormon. When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance (President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, Nov. 1986, 7).

-“The only way you can be sure that a busy schedule doesn’t crowd out scripture study is to establish a regular time to study the scriptures” (President Henry B. Eyring Ensign, July 2005, 24).

-“You will be taught more easily as you approach the scriptures if you search with a question and with a determination to act on the answer. We can receive what seems to us new truth when we go back to the same scripture with new questions” (President Henry B. Eyring, Ensign Jan. 2002, 32).

-“We are counseled and urged to read the four standard works from beginning to end. You should do that—read each of the four books of scripture from beginning to end more than once. You could hardly use your time to more advantage” (Elder Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, Dec. 1985, 50).

-“We often hear…that the scriptures have the answers to all of our questions. Why is this so?…Reading…the scriptures will…put us in a position where we can obtain inspiration to answer any doctrinal or personal question, whether or not that question directly concerns the subject we are studying in the scriptures. That is a grand truth not understood by many….Again, even though the scriptures contain no words to answer our specific personal questions, a prayerful study of the scriptures will help us obtain such answers” (Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Studying the Scriptures,” Fireside given November 24, 1985).

-“I have heard many well-intentioned Church leaders and teachers instruct congregations to find time for daily scripture study, ‘even if it’s only one or two verses per day.’ Though I understand the point they are trying to teach and applaud the sincerity of that conviction, may I gently suggest that if we are too busy to spend at least a few minutes every day in the scriptures, then we are probably too busy and should find a way to eliminate or modify whatever activities are making that simple task impossible” (Elder M. Russell Ballard, When Thou Art Converted, 68).

-“If possible, set a consistent time and place to study when you can be alone and undisturbed…As I think about your schedules and the pressures you face at this time in your lives, I can understand why scripture study can so easily be neglected. You have many demands pulling at you. In some cases, just maintaining your social life is a full-time occupation. But I plead with you to make time for immersing yourselves in the scriptures. Couple scripture study with your prayers. Half an hour each morning privately studying, pondering, and communicating with your Heavenly Father can make an amazing difference in your lives. It will give increased success in your daily activities. It will bring increased alertness to your minds. It will give you comfort and rock-steady assurance when the storms of life descend upon you” (Elder M. Russell Ballard, “Be Strong in the Lord…”

-“I suggest that you memorize scriptures that touch your heart and fill your soul with understanding. When scriptures are used as the Lord has caused them to be recorded, they have intrinsic power that is not communicated when paraphrased. Sometimes when there is a significant need in my life, I review mentally scriptures that have given me strength. There is great solace, direction, and power that flow from the scriptures, especially the words of the Lord” (Elder Richard G. Scott, Ensign, Nov. 1999, 87).

-“Please…read more slowly and more carefully and with more questions in mind…Ponder, [and] examine every word, every scriptural gem…Hold it up to the light, and turn it, look and see what’s reflected and refracted there…such an examination may unearth a treasure hidden in a field: a pearl of great price; a pearl beyond price” (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Summer 1992 CES Satellite Broadcast, 4).

-“My experience suggests that a specific and scheduled time set aside each day and, as much as possible, a particular place for study greatly increase the effectiveness of our searching through the scriptures” (Elder David A. Bednar, “Understanding the importance of scripture study,”

– “You should care more about the amount of time you spend in the scriptures than about the amount you read in that time. I see you sometimes reading a few verses, stopping to ponder them, carefully reading the verses again, and as you think about what they mean, praying for understanding, asking questions in your mind, waiting for spiritual impressions, and writing down the impressions and insights that come so you can remember and learn more. Studying in this way, you may not read a lot of chapters or verses in a half hour, but you will be giving place in your heart for the word of God, and He will be speaking to you” (Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Ensign, May 2004, 11).

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