Here are 13 great ideas on how to make your scripture study more meaningful.
The following article originally appeared in the April 2015 Ensign magazine as “13 Ways to Study the Scriptures,” by Kristen G. Walton:
A spiritual feast—that’s what I anticipate during my personal scripture study time. But it wasn’t always so. I first had to change my attitude about studying the scriptures, and that meant changing how I study. I find it easier to have consistent, meaningful scripture study when I vary my methods.
Listen while you work. I play recordings of the scriptures while I work in the kitchen and on my MP3 player when I go for a walk. Download your free audio copy at lds.org/scriptures. You can also purchase CD audio recordings of the standard works at Church distribution centers.
Study online. I often read my scriptures online at LDS.org. The linked footnotes make it easy for me to access cross-references.
Listen to beautiful music as you read. Music invites the Spirit and enlightens the mind. Sometimes I play classical music while I read by candlelight.
Use the hymnbook. I like to read a hymn’s lyrics and then look up the scriptural references listed after each hymn. I find it helpful to do this during the administration of the sacrament each week.
Use scriptural resources. The Topical Guide and Bible Dictionary are often overlooked as study tools, yet they contain much added insight and information. They are especially useful resources when you want to study a specific topic.
Take notes. I keep a small notebook with my set of scriptures and write down impressions I receive while reading them. For me, this is the best way to retain and review these precious insights.
Keep multiple copies. I have several inexpensive copies of the Book of Mormon, for instance. In one of my copies I have marked in red each mention of Christ and the Atonement. Each copy is like a blank slate, ready for me to highlight according to topic or any way that will help shed new light on a verse.
Refer to Church magazines. In the Doctrine and Covenants, we learn that “by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (1:38). Conference addresses, First Presidency messages, and other inspired articles are also considered scripture and should be included in our studies.
Read outdoors. I love to read my scriptures while enjoying nature. Sometimes I read in my backyard or hike to a favorite secluded spot.
Memorize a verse each week. I like to write down a selected verse on a 3-inch-by-5-inch card that I carry with me. I review it whenever I have a few spare minutes, such as when I’m in line at the bank’s drive-through, waiting at a doctor’s office, or preparing dinner. Before long, I’ve got it memorized.
Study a scriptural hero. When I am facing adversity, I love to read about my scripture heroes. Reading about Esther helps me to feel braver. Learning about Job helps me to keep things in perspective. Enos’s example teaches me about the power of prayer.
Prepare a talk. Sometimes I like to pretend that I have been assigned a talk for sacrament meeting. The best part is that I get to assign myself the topic, so I choose something of special interest to me or that might help me overcome a challenge. I study and research the topic, then write the talk—just as if it were the real thing. I save my “talks” in a binder and if appropriate use them for family home evening lessons or in case I’m actually asked to speak in church.
Set goals. I loved participating in the Book of Mormon reading challenge that President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) issued some years ago (see “A Testimony Vibrant and True,” Ensign, Aug. 2005, 6). As I read the Book of Mormon then, I felt the presence of the Spirit more in my daily life. Because of that experience, I have tried to set additional reading goals so that I’m always feasting upon the spiritual nourishment provided in the scriptures.