Thursday, April 11, 2013

Scripture Master Tip #1: Just Do It!

I have drawn up a list of tips that I have found personally useful in gaining motivation to search the scriptures, ponder upon them, and eventually gain insight into them through meaningful prayer. I have also included tips that will help make your personal study more meaningful, which will also help you to feel more inclined to study.

1. Just do it!

If you wait until you “feel like it” it will never happen. According to W. Terry Whalin in his book “The complete idiot’s guide to Teaching the Bible” “feeling like it” is the least important factor that we should consider when it comes to living any aspect of the Gospel.

“Some Christians say they don’t feel like studying the Bible, or they don’t feel like praying, or they don’t feel like witnessing. Feeling has nothing to do with living the Christian life, for feelings come and go. The key to spiritual maturity is to live for Jesus Christ not because it makes us feel good, but because we know it is the right thing to do. I have discovered that if the only time I study the Bible, pray, or witness is when I feel like it, the devil makes sure I never feel like it.”

Satan works hard to keep us from doing those things in our lives which he knows are vital for our spiritual well-being.  Often he can accomplish this simply by distracting us from what matters with the mundane clutter of a busy life.  The decision to neglect scripture study for a day often seems like a small and inconsequential one to us, and so it is often fairly easy for Satan to convince us that our crowded schedule just won't allow us to study the scriptures, or that our time is better spent on some other activity which seems to us to be of greater urgency or importance, but which in truth is of lesser value. If you passively allow yourself to become constantly distracted and preoccupied, and so leave your study undone for too long, you will lose the habit, and the cumulative weight of this daily oversight may prove spiritually dangerous.  Do not fall for Satan's lies and attempts at distraction:  the decision to neglect your daily scripture study for the sake of other priorities can leave you vulnerable to the wiles and devices of the adversary.

“Don’t yield to Satan’s lie that you don’t have time to study the scriptures. Choose to take time to study them. Feasting on the word of God each day is more important than sleep, school, work, television shows, video games, or social media. You may need to reorganize your priorities to provide time for the study of the word of God. If so, do it!”  (Richard G. Scott, “Make the Exercise of Faith Your First Priority,” General Conference Address, Oct. 5, 2014,

Good intentions are not enough.  Many want to study the scriptures, and they recognize that doing so would be good and desirable for them,  but somehow they never get around to actually doing it.

“The scriptures that are never read will never help us. If read, the words of God will nourish our souls and carry us to great heights in our endeavors to build and excel in” (L. Tom Perry, “Born of Goodly Parents,” Ensign, May, 1985).

It is at times like these that President Spencer W. Kimball's advice becomes especially helpful:
"Do it! Do it now! Do it With a plan!"  (Spencer W. Kimball, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball (2006)

You need to actively plan to incorporate your scripture study into your day. Also, you can pray to be inspired with the motivation to study.  It helps if you approach scripture study as an opportunity and a blessing instead of a burden or a hassle.
"...Studying and searching the scriptures is not a burden laid upon [us] by the Lord, but a marvelous blessing and opportunity."  (Ezra Taft Benson, "the Power of the Word,"  Ensign, May 1986.)

"I am grateful for emphasis on reading the scriptures.  I hope that for you this will become something far more enjoyable than a duty; that, rather, it will become a love affair with the word of God.  I promise you that as you read, your minds will be enlightened and your spirits will be lifted.  At first it may seem tedious, but that will change into a wondrous experience with thoughts and words of things divine."  (Gordon B. Hinckley, "The Light within You," Ensign, May 1995, p. 99.)
Often the strongest motivation to study your scriptures will only come once you make an effort to begin, even when you do not initially feel motivated to open your book.  If you make a choice to actively and diligently strive to study your scriptures, the Lord will bless you with increased motivation and focus to help you accomplish this, and He will also bless you with joy as you do so.

Go on to the next tip:  Scripture Master Tip #2: Planning is Everything

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