Prioritizing scripture study is a choice that can heal us.
I had been home from my mission for three months, and I was already having trouble reading scriptures.
I had read scriptures for an hour every day on my mission and had promised myself upon returning home that I would continue the habit. However, as time passed, I tried to justify my lack of scripture reading with excuses: I had too much homework, I was too busy working, I was too tired to study the scriptures in depth. With each excuse, my desire to read scriptures dwindled until I was forcing myself to read just one verse a day.
One night, as I opened the Book of Mormon for my usual verse of scripture before bed, I read Jacob 2:8. In this scripture, Jacob describes scriptures as “the word which healeth the wounded soul.” After pondering this verse, I realized the effect that neglecting scripture study was having on me. I felt more stressed at school, more apathetic at church, and more distanced from God. Just as an ill patient needs medicine, my soul needed the healing balm of the scriptures to help me repent of my sins and connect with God.
This realization brought to mind Elder Richard G. Scott‘s words in his 2014 general conference address, “Make the Exercise of Faith Your First Priority.” “Don’t yield to Satan’s lie that you don’t have time to study the scriptures,” he says. “Choose to take time to study them. . . . You may need to reorganize your priorities to provide time for the study of the word of God. If so, do it!”
I knew that I had to reorganize my priorities, so I turned to my friends, family, and church leaders and asked for suggestions to rejuvenate my scripture study. They provided me with a few suggestions on how to make scripture study my first priority:
- Decide on a time that works for you. Everyone’s schedule and personal needs are different. In my case, nightly scripture study was not effective. By moving scripture study to the morning and setting aside a specific time to read, I had more time to ponder the doctrine and principles from my reading throughout the rest of the day.
- Study with others. For decades, prophets and apostles have encouraged families to study the scriptures together. Since I was away from my family at college, I started reading scriptures with roommates and friends. It not only helped me to stay accountable, but also sparked some great discussion on gospel topics.
- Write down the thoughts you have during your scripture study. In his 1993 conference talk “Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge,” Elder Scott said, “Spiritually sensitive information should be kept in a sacred place that communicates to the Lord how you treasure it. That practice enhances the likelihood of your receiving further light.” Writing down promptings and thoughts I received during scripture study helped me focus on what I was reading. It also helped me to better recognize the voice of the Spirit and receive answers to my prayers.
When scripture study once again became a priority in my life, I found that I had more time in the day to complete important tasks. More importantly, as I set aside more time to read and ponder the scriptures, I felt a closeness with God that I had previously been lacking. When I chose to study the scriptures, the Lord did what Jacob promised he would: he healed my wounded soul and brought me peace.
Read or watch Elder Richard G. Scott’s “Make the Exercise of Faith Your First Priority” to learn more about the blessings that come from prioritizing scripture study and other exercises of faith, such as prayer and family home evening.
—Sarah Keenan, Mormon Insights
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Find more insights
Take a look at Kristen G. Walton’s Ensign article “13 Ways to Study the Scriptures” to discover new ways to rejuvenate your scripture study.