Monday, August 4, 2014

Blessings of Scripture Study

On Sunday, I taught Relief Society.  It was a lesson that I am certain was as much for my benefit as any one else's.  I have learned a great deal as I have studied and prepared for this lesson, and I am making some changes in our family scripture study as well as working to improve my own personal scripture study.  I know as I do that, I will be blessed.   Here are the blessings of scripture study that we discussed in Relief Society:

President Benson said this about the Book of Mormon:  
"My beloved brethren and sisters, today I would like to speak about one of the most significant gifts given to the world in modern times. The gift I am thinking of is more important than any of the inventions that have come out of the industrial and technological revolutions. This is a gift of greater value to mankind than even the many wonderful advances we have seen in modern medicine. It is of greater worth to mankind than the development of flight or space travel. I speak of the gift of the Book of Mormon."

Why are the scriptures one of the most valuable gifts we have?  How do they bless our lives?

We read the following quotes about scripture study and verses of scripture and I listed the promises made to us if we study the scriptures.  We completely filled the board!  (I did this activity at home with my children also, but only used a couple of the quotes and we filled a much smaller board.  I have pictured our board at home here.)  Such remarkable blessings!  Blessings I want for myself, my family, and each of the members of my ward!!

President Benson said, "This (scripture study) is an answer to the great challenge of our time. The word of God, as found in the scriptures, in the words of living prophets, and in personal revelation, has the power to fortify the Saints and arm them with the Spirit so they can resist evil, hold fast to the good, and find joy in this life."

President Benson gave a wonderful talk to priesthood leaders in 1986.  He said this, " You must also bend your efforts and your activities to stimulating meaningful scripture study among the members of the Church. Often we spend great effort in trying to increase the activity levels in our stakes. We work diligently to raise the percentages of those attending sacrament meetings. We labor to get a higher percentage of our young men on missions. We strive to improve the numbers of those marrying in the temple. All of these are commendable efforts and important to the growth of the kingdom. But when individual members and families immerse themselves in the scriptures regularly and consistently, these other areas of activity will automatically come. Testimonies will increase. Commitment will be strengthened. Families will be fortified. Personal revelation will flow."

"Success in righteousness, the power to avoid deception and resist temptation, guidance in our daily lives, healing of the soul—these are but a few of the promises the Lord has given to those who will come to His word. Does the Lord promise and not fulfill? Surely if He tells us that these things will come to us if we lay hold upon His word, then the blessings can be ours. And if we do not, then the blessings may be lost. However diligent we may be in other areas, certain blessings are to be found only in the scriptures, only in coming to the word of the Lord and holding fast to it as we make our way through the mists of darkness to the tree of life."  --President Benson

President Marion G. Romney said, "“I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness” (Ensign, May 1980, p. 67)."

President Benson spoke repeatedly and powerfully about the Book of Mormon and how study of the scriptures would bless our lives, but President Monson and others have also spoken of its importance.  President Monson
said, "study diligently. Every holder of the priesthood  (and sister) should participate in daily scripture study. Crash courses are not nearly so effective as the day-to-day reading and application of the scriptures in our lives. Become acquainted with the lessons the scriptures teach. Learn the background and setting of the Master’s parables and the prophets’ admonitions. Study them as though they were speaking to you, for such is the truth."

Alma 37:44-45

2 Timothy 3:16-17

Romans 15:4

Helaman 15:7-8

I was in Canada last weekend and one of the speakers referred to a book he had read by Malcolm Gladwell called Outliers.  I read it several years ago and it really struck me...he says that to become an expert at anything you must spend 10,000 hours practicing.  I have thought a lot about this in relation to other areas but had never connected it to gospel study or gospel knowledge.  If you want to be an expert at the gospel, and hopefully we all do, then we need to spend at least 10,000 hours studying and applying it.     Thirty minutes a day gives us 182 hours per year and means it will take us 54 years.  To some that may seem discouraging...but I think it is pretty exciting.  It will take a lifetime to truly become an expert (by the world's definition) but the Lord has promised magnificent outpouring of knowledge and the spirit if we seek to understand His gospel.  If you spend just 20 minutes a day, then in one year you will have studied 121 hours...and in 5 years, you will have spent over 600 hours.  Think of how that could change your life and the lives of your family members!  By small and simple things shall great things come to pass!

There are so many great talks about scripture study, but here are a few that I read and found helpful and inspiring.
"If You Lack Wisdom"--April 2014