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Scripture Motivation: Lay Hold Upon the Word

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NOTE TO THE READER: The following article is adapted from the 1988 Melchizedek Priesthood Manual: Lay Hold Upon the Word of God – Study Guide #1, 1988. Updated with new information and instruction from leaders and ministers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

We are to Draw upon the Power of Scriptures to Benefit Self and Others

How blessed are those who reject the advice of the wicked, don’t stand on the way of sinners or sit where scoffers sit! Their delight is in Adonai’s Torah; on his Torah they meditate day and night.
They are like trees planted by streams — they bear their fruit in season, their leaves never wither,
everything they do succeeds.

~ Psalm 1:1-3, CJB ~

We gain power from the scriptures by studying them and applying them into our own lives. To benefit from the scriptures, we must do more than merely read them. President Joseph Fielding Smith made the following observation: “It would be well if we would follow the counsel the Lord has given us, which is: ‘And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived’ [Joseph Smith – Matthew 1:37]. Treasuring up his word is far more than merely reading it. To treasure it one must only read and study but seek in humility and obedience to do the commandments given and gain the inspiration which the Holy Spirit will impart” (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:305).

How Much We Get from Our Study Depends on How Much We put into it

Personal power from the word comes because of our devotion and discipline toward regular daily reading and searching of a particular topic within the scriptures. President Howard W. Hunter (1907 to 1995) made these suggestions for a successful scripture study program:

When we follow the counsel of our leaders to read and stuyd the scriptures, benefits and blessings of many kinds come to us. This is the most profitable of all study in which we could engage. …

Reading habits vary widely. There are rapid readers and slow readers, some who read only small snatches at a time and others who persist without stopping until the book is finished. Those who delve into the scriptural library, however, find that to understand requires more than casual reading or perusal – there must be concentrated study. It is certain that one who studies scriptures every day accomplishes far more than one who devotes considerable time one day and then lets days go by before continuing. Not only should we study each day, but there should be a regular time set aside when we can concentrate without interference.

There is nothing more helpful than prayer to open our understanding of the scriptures. Through prayer we can attune our minds to seek the answers to our searchings.

Reading the Scriptures: In Conference Report, October 1979, p. 91; or Ensign, Nov. 1979, p. 64

What aspect of your personal study of the scriptures do you find most satisfying? What aspect would you like to change? What suggestions made by President Hunter can help you spend more effective study time in the scriptures? How can prayer help you better understand and apply the scriptures?

Our Invitation to Lay Hold Upon the Word of God and Apply it

There is a real and personal application for each one of us. An invitation to lay hold upon the word of God so that we are equipped and ready with a testimony and response of the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

Oh, my brethren, let us not treat lightly the great things we have received from the hand of the Lord! His word is one of the most valuable gifts He has given us. I urge you to recommit yourselves to a study of the scriptures. Immerse yourselves in them daily so you will have the power of the Spirit to attend you in your callings. Read them in your families, teach your children to love and treasure them. Then prayerfully and in counsel with others, seek every way possible to encourage the members of the Church to follow your example. If you do so, you will find, as Alma did, that ‘the word [has] a great tendency to lead people to do that which [is] just – yea, it [has] more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword or anything else, which [has] happened unto them’ (Alma 31:5).

Like Alma, I say unto you, ‘It [is] expedient that [you] should try the virtues of the word of God’ (Alma 31:5), in the name of Jesus Christ, amen”

Power of the Word: Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1986, p. 82

What are your personal goals and commitments for continual scripture study? Specifically, when it comes to the Old Testament Come Follow Me 2022?

As you consider your personal goals and commitments for continual scripture study, and more specifically studying through the Old Testament, take a moment to understand the following process:

  • Reading
  • Understanding
  • Likening
  • Applying

When it comes to reading the scriptures, we are able to come to know of their worth and truthfulness. By careful study and understanding of the scriptures, we are able to come to know them. How we liken the scriptures unto ourselves is through visualization of the people, the events, and situations. What is the situation? How does it relate to my own circumstance? By likening the scriptures, we grow, learn, and receive personal insight and inspiration. Nephi shares this with us when he said: I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning” (1 Nephi 19:23). Through likening the scriptures – we also learn the principles and truths from our Heavenly Father. Finally, we want to ponder – or meditate – upon those things that are revealed through our scripture study. By meditating, we ask questions, look for the practical applications and solutions. Are we being convicted and need to seek forgiveness? Do we need to develop more of an attitude toward charity in ministering to others? Are we struggling and need assurance that when we submit our cares and worries over to God – he is faithful and just in meeting us where we are?

Another way of looking at this is to follow the S.O.A.P method to scripture study.

  • Scripture: What is the passage? Paraphrase the scripture(s)
  • Observe: Who, What, When, Where, How, Why?
  • Apply: What is the spiritual and practical application here for me?
  • Pray: how do I apply those things into my own life?

As we enhance our discipline and commitment over to scripture study, we come to understand that it is not merely what we read. It is what we are taking away from what we are reading. Develop awareness of how to apply those things into our own lives in order to learn and grow in faith. When we read, understand, liken, and apply the scriptures, the power of the Lord’s word helps us overcome temptation, influence others for good, and endure the trials within our own lives.

Along with tens of thousands of others who don’t want to miss new scripture insights, enjoy a new approach to studying the Old Testament! Emily Belle Freeman and David Butler, hosts of the popular YouTube scripture-study channel Don’t Miss This, explore the significance of one verse from most chapters of the Old Testament, showing you how to dig deep and find personal application of God’s word. Paired with short, devotional-style lessons, their love for the scriptures and thought-provoking questions will lead you to a more meaningful study of the Old Testament and vibrant discussions with your family and friends. With just one short devotional at a time, you’ll complement your Come, Follow Me study of the Old Testament, discover additional stories and insights, and explore a common theme of deliverance, which is so timely for our lives today.
Feast Upon the Scriptures challenge us to read, ponder, and study the Old Testament. This devotional is the first volume and follows the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Come Follow Me Curriculum for 2022. These daily devotions challenge us to read the scriptures. Meditate upon them and apply the spiritual truths and insights into our daily lives. The power of scripture study brings encouragement, lifts our spirits, comforts us, guides us, chides us, builds us up, provides hope, and brings us closer to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Therefore, the month of January – these devotions focus our attention on God’s plan and purpose, our divine heritage, our sense of purpose and meaning, our identity, and our eternal destiny within the scope of God’s plan of salvation. From the creation to the Patriarch Enoch the reader will discover gems of doctrinal truth, spiritual application, and thoughtful questions to ponder.
And These Words is a scripture study journal created to help you discover or solidify the study process that will work best for you according to your current season of life. You will find simple templates at the beginning of the journal, rooted in the teachings of modern-day apostles and prophets, to help you determine a scripture study pattern that will become something you look forward to each day. The journaling pages offer blank, lined pages to record what you are learning, both from scripture and from personal inspiration “and these words shall be in your heart” (Deuteronomy 6:6).

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