How to unleash the personal impact of scripture study in your life

As a missionary, I've come to realize a few things about scripture study that I wish I would have known before. They are the following:

Set aside a specific time every day just for studying the scriptures. This could be first thing in the morning or during your lunch break.- Pray before starting your scripture study. I have been able to understand the scriptures better when I open my study with prayer.

Start a scripture journal. When you come to a verse that you find a strong personal message in, write down the reference and your thoughts and feelings. By keeping a journal specifically for scripture study, I find that I read and study more carefully because I am looking for things to write down.

Use resources. Our scriptures are full of footnotes and cross references to the Topical Guide and Bible Dictionary. Take the time to cross reference different passages. The scriptures start to mean more to me as I understand other scriptures they are connected to.

Choose a passage of scripture every week. Write it on a card and hang it where you will see it often. During the week, think of ways this scripture applies to your life.

Close your scripture study with prayer. By doing so we can thank our Father in Heaven for the things we have learned. - Sister Jennifer Adams, Philippines Quezon City Mission

What we did:

Many ways

Set aside a block of time, such as half an hour on a daily basis, for scripture study. Read with a marking pencil. This creates a searching frame of mind. The time may seem to go too fast, as there are many ways to spend it, such as the following:

Reading at least one page a day in the Book of Mormon.

Keeping up with the Sunday School reading assignment. This year is the Doctrine and Covenants.

Reading a few articles a week from the most recent general conference, again with a marking pencil. This creates an excellent resource for lessons and talks.

Using the index to look up scriptures on a particular gospel concept when a special concern arises in the family. After selecting a scripture that deals well with that topic, it may be used in a family home evening lesson or posted in the kitchen.

Memorizing scriptures that become a readily available source for personal comfort and guidance.

Don't get discouraged if it is difficult on some days to spend as much time with the scriptures as planned. There is always time to read at least a few verses or a page from the Book of Mormon. - Marketta Aguilar, Salt Lake City, Utah

Apply them

The answer is easy. Read them. Apply every verse to your life, and you'll likely find one that really works. I started reading at least a few verses every night before going to bed. After every verse, I try to see applications in my life. So far, I've found at least one really good verse just about every night. It's really strengthened my faith and helped my testimony grow. - Rosina Busse, Chicago, Ill.

Key words

The scriptures serve as my encyclopedia of ideas in dealing with the everyday challenges of life. When I am faced with a difficult decision or challenge to overcome, I think of people in the scriptures who have faced similar situations. I read about them and look for the ways they dealt with their situations. When I can't think of someone in particular to read about, I choose key words dealing with my problem and look them up in the Topical Guide.

Without fail as I study the scriptures and the words of our leaders, I am able to receive much comfort and strength to do what I need to do. - Barbara Hatch Ploeger, Broomfield, Colo.

Through their eyes

The doctors said I would never walk, being forced to live my life in a wheelchair. As I seek a greater understanding of life and the pursuit of happiness I look to the scriptures for my strength by placing myself within them, looking through the eyes of the writers trying to experience and feel the events recorded upon those sacred pages as though I were there in that place and time. Not having much physical mobility, this daily practice is a wonderful blessing to my life as I spend time talking with Heavenly Father through prayer. He talks to me through the scriptures as the Holy Spirit places warm and loving impressions upon my heart. - Julia Lois Skinner, Tulsa, Okla.

Set an example

We cannot keep these beautiful truths to ourselves. We must want to share them. We must set an example of what these scriptures mean to us personally. Bear testimony of your love of the gospel and how it has changed your life. I feel if we do not unleash these beautiful feelings we hone by study, we will lose them. - Hazel Pike, Weaverville, N.C.

Line upon line

I used to "read" the scriptures 20 minutes each day according to a schedule of what to read and when to read it. Then I discovered the joy of "studying" the scriptures - and of pondering the meaning and impact on my life. If I don't understand a passage or specific meaning of a word, I take the time to search the scriptures and satisfy my yearning to know God's will. Using new tools such as a database of the computerized scriptures and related books, a whole new world of study and learning has become available. Studying, pondering and intense prayer have greatly impacted my life for good as I put into practice the new knowledge as it is received. Line upon line, precept upon precept, we can each progress along the narrow path that leads to eternal life. - Larry Strong, Kaysville, Utah

Pick a subject

I've found that nothing works better than to pick one subject and pursue it. Look in the Topical Guide and underline the references on that subject that appeal to you. For example, Proverbs is full of short, pithy remarks on the subject of understanding. Since one thing leads to another, you'll soon find yourself reading verses all around your target. - Jane B. Hildebrand, San Jacinto, Calif.

Personal desire

One must have a strong personal desire to know the truth - meaning to know the ways of the Lord. One must go beyond one's own personal experiences and try to think as He thinks and feel as He feels. In daily experiences, ponder how they relate to the now familiar scriptures. - Arlene Jackman, Salt Lake City, Utah

How to checklist:

1 Pray before, after study; ponder how scriptures apply in your personal life.

2 Foster desire to learn; set specific study time.

3 Use scriptural resources, cross referencing; record your feelings, impressions.

4 Share your testimony of scriptures; set example.


May 24 "How to select and plan a project for the July 19 Churchwide day of service, commemoration of the sesquicentennial."

May 31 "How to have an enjoyable family vacation."

June 7 "How to encourage reverence during Primary."

June 14 "How to help children, youth suffering from clinical depression."

June 21 "How to observe the Sabbath when your job requires you to work."

June 28 "How to help yourself or a loved one break television addiction."

Also interested in letters on these topics: "How to help young people show respect for authority in school," "How to cope with a compulsive disorder," "How to place people above tasks."

Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, send fax to (801) 237-2121 or use internet E-mail: Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.

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