Saturday, April 20, 2013

Scripture Master Tip #10: Immerse Yourself in the Scriptures



10.  Immerse yourself in the scriptures. 

Immerse yourself in the scriptures.  Take the time to actually study your scriptures, and don’t just skim through them.
"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."  (President Howard W. Hunter, "Reading the Scriptures," Ensign, Nov. 1979, 64). 
“. . . One of the most important things you can do...is to immerse yourselves in the scriptures. Search them diligently. Feast upon the words of Christ. Learn the doctrine. Master the principles.” (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, Nov. 1986, 47).
You’re not in a race to finish the scriptures, and in some ways finishing is not the point. I know that I said before that quantity can lead to quality, but I was talking about time spent in the scriptures and not to the number of pages or chapters read. You could spend a month studying 1 Corinthians 15 if you wanted to, go ahead, there’s enough meaning there to keep you occupied if you approach it in the right spirit.
"Some people like to read so many [Bible] chapters every day. I would not dissuade them from the practice, but I would rather lay my soul asoak in half a dozen verses all day than rinse my hand in several chapters. Oh, to be bathed in a text of Scripture, and to let it be sucked up in your very soul, till it saturates your heart!" --Charles Haddon Spurgeon
"There are some who read to a schedule of a number of pages or a set number of chapters each day or week. This may be perfectly justifiable and may be enjoyable if one is reading for pleasure, but it does not constitute meaningful study. It is better to have a set amount of time to give scriptural study each day than to have a set amount of chapters to read. Sometimes we find that the study of a single verse will occupy the whole time." (President Howard W. Hunter, "Reading the Scriptures," Ensign, Nov. 1979, 64).
"The life, acts, and teachings of Jesus can be read rapidly. The stories are simple in most instances and the stories are simply told. The Master used few words in his teachings, but each one is so concise in meaning that together they portray a clear image to the reader. Sometimes, however, many hours might be spent in contemplation of profound thoughts expressed in a few simple words."  (Howard W. Hunter, "Reading the Scriptures," Ensign, Nov. 1979, 64).
Any time spent in the scriptures can benefit you, but if you race through them just so you can say "I read the WHOLE Book of Mormon before Christmas!", then you have your reward, but you are missing the point.  If you are too casual in your approach to reading the scriptures you will miss important truths and insights that you could have obtained if you had taken the time to truly immerse your soul in the doctrines of the scriptures.  Don't be in such a hurry that you don't have time to be taught by the Spirit, who reveals truth and gives comfort only gradually and over time, and only with much diligence and application on our part.
"Gospel knowledge and understanding come through diligent study of the scriptures and the tutoring of the Holy Ghost. The combination that opens the vault door to hidden scriptural treasures includes a great deal of work--simple, old-fashioned, hard work. A farmer cannot expect to harvest in the fall if he does not properly sow in the spring and work hard during the summer to weed, nourish, and cultivate the field. So it is for you and me. We cannot expect to reap scriptural insight unless we pay the price of regular and diligent study. Casual strolling through or dabbling in the scriptures will not yield enduring gospel understanding.  And the scriptural treasures we seek in our lives cannot be borrowed or loaned or obtained second-hand. We must each learn to open the vault door by applying the principle of work."  (David A. Bednar, Ricks College Devotional, January 6, 1998).
It would be a tragedy to miss out on the knowledge and the deep and abiding comfort and healing that the Spirit can provide simply because we are in too much of a hurry.  If we are too casual in our relationship with deity, we can lose the companionship of the Spirit altogether.  Fortunately, we can always return to the scriptures, and the scriptures (coupled with sincere repentance) can help guide us back to where we need to be in order to enjoy the sublime companionship of the Holy Ghost which is so essential for our spiritual nourishment and welfare.
“I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away. If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns.”  (Spencer W. Kimball, "Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball" (2006), 67).
If you can learn to immerse yourself in the scriptures, you will find them to be an unending source of healing and comfort.  The scriptures can be your road back to God whenever you have strayed, and for whatever reason.  They can be your lifeline that will guide you back to Him, and they are just as essential for your spiritual survival as a line tossed to a drowning man.  If you feel that God is far away, and "it seems that no divine ear is listening," the scriptures can help you to grow closer to God.  As James said in James 4:8:  "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you."  Immersing yourself in the scriptures can help you do that.
"Immersion in the scriptures is essential for spiritual nourishment. The word of God inspires commitment and acts as a healing balm for hurt feelings, anger, or disillusionment." (Quentin L. Cook, "Can Ye Feel So Now?," Ensign, Nov. 2012).
"I plead with you to make time for immersing yourselves in the scriptures. Couple scripture study with your prayers. Half an hour each morning privately studying, pondering, and communicating with your Heavenly Father can make an amazing difference in your lives. It will give increased success in your daily activities. It will bring increased alertness to your minds. It will give you comfort and rock-steady assurance when the storms of life descend upon you."  (M. Russel Ballard, CES Fireside for Young Adults, 3 March 2002).
Next Tip:  Scripture Master Tip #11:  Read More Than One Verse a Day

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