Challenge #8—Search, Ponder and Pray

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This week’s challenge is kind of a continuation of last week’s, but only a little more broad.  

The Challenge:  How do you study your scriptures?  
You can write down how you do it, do a video walk-through tour of your marking system, take pictures, make a scrapbook layout of it, or even set goals to do a better job of daily scripture study!

It seems like this last General Conference had a lot of messages about the scriptures.  I loved this talk by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles found here.

One of my favorite quotes from this talk was:

“Pondering a scripture…gives great direction to life. The scriptures can form a foundation of support. They can provide an incredibly large resource of willing friends who can help us. A memorized scripture becomes an enduring friend that is not weakened with the passage of time.
Pondering a passage of scripture can be a key to unlock revelation and the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Scriptures can calm an agitated soul, giving peace, hope, and a restoration of confidence in one’s ability to overcome the challenges of life. They have potent power to heal emotional challenges when there is faith in the Savior. They can accelerate physical healing.”
I love to study my scriptures!  I had the opportunity to serve as a full time missionary, and one thing that I learned was that scripture study is important, and the more you do it, the more you hunger and thirst to study more!  As missionaries, we had personal study for one hour each day!  We studied the Book of Mormon for 1/2 an hour, and then studied any other scriptures (Bible, Pearl of Great Price or Doctrine and Covenants) or specific books (Jesus the Christ, The Articles of Faith, etc.) for 1/2 an hour.  It came to me, almost as shock, that every morning I looked forward to studying.  I hungered and thirsted for the knowledge I could find in the holy words.  

Right now in my life, as a mom, I don’t really have time to study for one whole uninterrupted hour, and some days I’m lucky if I get in 3 verses.  But I do make a point to read my scriptures everyday.  It does take sacrifice—or so it seems some days.  But the truth of it is that on the days when I study my scriptures and put God first in my life, those days just seem to fall into place.  Whenever I’m having a bad day, I think back to my morning and most of the time I realize that I didn’t study my scriptures that morning.  It truly is the “rock” to my day!

There are a few things that I do to help me study.  First of all, I start with a prayer.  This opens the doors to receive personal revelation!  Next, I have a very detailed marking system in my scriptures.  (I took a whole Institute class on this!)  This system has really helped me visualize the scriptures and it helps me find certain topics with ease.  Also, it really helps me study and feast on the scriptures rather than just read them.  When people look at my scriptures they wonder why it’s so colorful.  This is what they look like:


Also, I love to keep a scripture journal.  A special place where I can record the things I learn.  I don’t write in it every session, just when something really powerful hits me.  Another thing that helps me, is to study with the LDS Institute manuals that go with the what I'm studying.  There are so many insights in them that help me understand so much more!

There is an awesome article in this months’ Ensign about studying your scriptures, and here is a link to many more talks and lessons from the Church website.  If you would like to share how you study your scriptures, leave a comment or a link to your post!

I am so grateful for the scriptures!  I know they are the word of God, and that by reading, studying, and pondering upon the teachings found therein, we can come closer to Christ!

Now, I challenge you to record about how you study your scriptures!

If you want to read on, I'll explain how I mark my scriptures!

I use colors in the regular verses by subjects. Some colors I chose because I associate that color with that topic, others were just random. 

Red = Repentance and Atonement
Orange = Wickedness, wicked acts, pride 
Yellow = Christ speaking, Sabbath Day, and in a small rectangle, I use it to mark parables in the Bible (bottom right picture)
Light Green = Righteousness, righteous acts
Dark Green = Mercy, grace
Light Blue = Faith, baptism
Dark Blue = Missionary work, obedience
Purple = Godhead (anything that states the natures of any member of the Godhead)
Hot Pink = Testimonies of the writers
Dark Pink = Lover, service, charity
Brown = Prayer, fasting, church attendance

In the footnotes I highlight in the color, then circle or color the letter up in the verse.  This way, as I'm reading, I know there is an important footnote to read.  (These are mostly in the Bible) I use the colors as such:
Greek  New Testament translation (GR) = Green 
Joseph Smith Translation (JST) = Red
Hebrew Old Testament translation (Heb) = Blue
i.e. = Pink
OR = Orange
Random extra helpful notes (see...) = Light green

I make lists with small red triangles.  For example, in D&C 11:17-18, I have a small triangle in front of [keep my commandments], [hold your peace], [appeal unto my Spirit], [cleave unto me].  This comes in handy whenever you want to focus on parts that make up a whole.  

I write any notes or related scriptures in the margins in black.  (Sometimes I draw small pictures as well!) I often write at the top about something major that is going on, to find stories easily.  ("Nephi builds a ship", "King Benjamin teaches his people", "Christ visits the people on the American continent", etc.) 

I also write basic questions that the scripture answer.  I write these questions in pink.  For example, in 3 Nephi 9 (pg. 425), I wrote: "Why did Christ come to Earth? vs. 17-22".  This has helped me easily find answers and give answers to others should they have those questions.

My favorite marking tools are the Gelly Roll pens by Sakura for colors.  Down side is, it's permanent and if you mess up, it's always there. Up side is they are skinny, acid-free and come in many colors. Colored pencils also work, and they can be erased if you buy the right kind.  Down side is you have to sharpen a lot to keep the point little enough.  I do use both, especially when I have more than one topic per color, then I'll use pencil for one, pen for the other.  For the black writing pen, I use Sakura Pigma Micron or the Zig Millennium in a .01.  Both are very fine and acid-free.  

If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask! I hope that helps!

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