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When I was young I couldn’t understand someone “feasting” on the scriptures. They were hard to understand, more than a little boring, and couldn’t compete with all the cartoons, toys, and games in my little world.
As I grew older I gained greater appreciation for these sacred messages and the amazing insights I’d get as I applied them to my life. But what if that doesn’t happen? What if you’re an adult who still finds them ponderous and unappealing? You know you should study and you feel guilty for not enjoying them more.
So I’ve compiled a dozen ways to turn that around, and make scripture study something you look forward to, something you honestly miss if it gets interrupted.
- Begin with prayer. This is especially essential if you struggle to stay focused, or even to read them at all. When we pray for help in doing what God has asked us to do, we can count on His support.
- Make this about quality, not quantity. Too often we make it a race. So stop thinking you have to read to a certain point. That’s a recipe for tedium. A good friend of mine says she reads “until I learn something.” What a great formula. No pressure, no need to gulp the words down as fast as possible. Just search for insights.
- Slow down your actual reading. Many of us read books, news, internet posts—the world is crammed full of messages we have to digest. So we skim, we “speed read,” and hurry along the highway of information. And that’s fine for outside reading. But when it comes to scriptures, slow waaay down. Allow space for inspiration to trickle through. Sometimes the answer to a prayer will come to you when you’re reading about a completely different topic, simply because you’ve cleared the deck and made some room.
- Find a zinger. As you read, watch for one scripture that pops out at you, that really resonates. Write it down and ponder it all day. Every time you read, you’ll be tuning in, looking for that surprise, that gift which will become your next day’s scripture to ponder.
- Mix it up. You don’t have to study scriptures in chronological order. Try looking up the scriptures that are listed with each song in our hymn book. Ponder the lyrics we sing as we worship.
- Use your cell phone. Get the Gospel Library app and study scriptures when you have sudden down time during the day—you’re stuck in a line or waiting for an appointment. What a great missionary opportunity this can become when those around you are curious about what you’re reading. You can also use your cell phone to listen to the scriptures being read aloud, which many people enjoy as they drive, or following along as they read.
- Journal about what you’re learning. Writing your thoughts actually generates more thought, and can be the catalyst for revelation. Share your impressions with others, too. Talking over scriptures can add depth to our relationships.
- Use the manuals from Church Distribution. First of all, they’re incredibly inexpensive. These are the paperback texts used in Institute classes and they take you through every chapter, explaining the material and adding insights from our leaders. I love how they make the scriptures come alive.
- Choose a topic that concerns you right now, look it up in the Topical Guide, and read the scriptures that apply to that one topic. It could be you’re struggling with patience as a parent, or with the loss of a relationship. Maybe you’re trying to repent, to have greater faith, to be more generous. Whatever it is, you can focus your studies on the trial you have right now.
- Use the internet to read what leaders have said about various scriptures. Which ones were quoted in the last General Conference? Why do you think that is?
- Be aware of Satan’s tactics. He knows you well and will tailor his temptations to your weaknesses, trying to keep you from daily study. When distractions arise, see them for what they are and be ready with the determination to resist them and keep your commitment.
- Make it about the Savior. This is your time, your date, with the Lord. This is when you are growing closer to him and learning of him. Nothing else could be more important. As you read, concentrate on his love for you, his promises, his beautiful atoning sacrifice, the glorious plan of salvation. As you reach out from the depths of your soul, you will see why leaders have described the scriptures as delicious. Many have said they delight in them, and in Psalms 19:10 the scriptures are described as sweeter than honey. Yes, it truly is a feast, and it’s one you’ll never want to miss.