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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why You Shouldn't Just "Read" the Scriptures

I'd like you to open up your scriptures to D&C 1:37.
"We read: 'Search these commandments,' [It doesn't say, 'Read these commandments,' it doesn't say, 'Study these commandments,' it says, 'Search.' That includes the footnotes.]

‘for they are true and faithful’  [which means dependable or trustworthy]

‘and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.'" (Elder Jacob de Jager, "Perfecting The Saints", BYU Fireside talk, Feb. 5, 1989).
"SEARCH the scriptures" is a commandment (see John 5:39), not a suggestion.
John 5:39 -- "Search the scriptures..."
Acts 17:11 -- "searched the scriptures daily..."
2 Tim. 2:15 -- "Study the word of truth..."
Jacob 7:23 -- "Searched the scriptures..."
Mosiah 1:7 -- "Remember to search them diligently..."
Alma 33:2 -- "Ye ought to search the scriptures..."
3 Ne 10:14 -- "he that hath the scriptures, let him search them...."
3 Ne 20:11 -- "Search them..."
3 Ne 23:1 -- "Search these things diligently..."
D&C 1:37 -- "Search these commandments..."
And this, from The Prophet Joseph Smith:
“Search the scriptures—search the revelations … and ask your Heavenly Father, in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, to manifest the truth unto you, and if you do it with an eye single to His glory nothing doubting, He will answer you by the power of His Holy Spirit. You will then know for yourselves and not for another. You will not then be dependent on man for the knowledge of God; nor will there be any room for speculation.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 11–12.)
It is not enough to read the scriptures. Random reading results in reduced retention. We must search for specifics. We must seek for truth and increased understanding of its application in our lives.” (Elder Lionel L. Kendrick, “Search the Scriptures,” April 1993 General Conference; emphasis mine)
"Searching" does not imply reading a book from the beginning to the end. How often have you read “I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents …” (1 Ne. 1:1) and not gotten to the end?
"The word 'search' means to inquire into, study, and examine for the purpose of discovering the meaning. Searching implies more than just reading or even memorizing." (Marion G. Romney, "Records of Great Worth," Ensign, Sept. 1980, 3; emphasis mine).
A few questions:
  1. What should we search for?   
  2. What are we commanded to seek for "earnestly"?
  3. How is that earnest seeking for that particular thing (or things) coming?
  4. What did I NOT mention about seeking the scriptures?


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  1. Excellent thinking. Good to have the command to search all in one place.

  2. 'Feasting on the words of Christ' can mean scriptures, especially when in tune so that the words most especially needed at that time can jump off the page. Like a stereogram 3D picture, those words can take shape and a personalized message results. But feasting on the words of Christ also comes as individualized scripture (not to be shared) via the messages delivered via the Holy Ghost. We have all experienced rattling off the quick morning prayer to do our expected duty. But perhaps the most important part of prayer is not what we say, but rather what God says. We need to LISTEN. The Beatles sang "Listen, do you want to know a secret?", and there are secrets awaiting our attention, and listening is an important part of seeking then finding. Don't be in a hurry to get off the knees, take the time to sit in stillness and allow the Spirit to speak. Feasting, not nibbling. Lorin

  3. Great posts. After a few weeks away I was drawn tonight to your blog and found just the reminders and encouragement I needed. I love that in addition to being told to search the commandments, the Lord also commands us to "do " them - another verb!

    Keep up the good work.