3 Ways to Improve Your Scripture Study

Know Christ by knowing how to study the scriptures.

"Whosoever shall drink this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." -David A. Bednar

Photo by Dawid Zawila

I started reading the scriptures on my own when I was twelve. I opened a copy of the Book of Mormon, and in about a year I’d read it from cover to cover. When I finished, I took a two-week break and then started reading it again from cover to cover. I’ve followed that pattern for 11 years. Though I’ve read it so many times that I’ve lost count, I honestly don’t know or understand half as much as I should by now. I might have learned more if I’d applied more than one way of “obtaining living water from the scriptural reservoir,” as Elder David A. Bednar describes in his talk titled “A Reservoir of Living Water.”

Elder Bednar explains in depth three ways of reading the scriptures that can help us draw on the strength and power of our Savior Jesus Christ. The first is to do what I’ve been doing for years: reading from cover to cover. Elder Bednar says that “reading a book of scripture from beginning to end initiates the flow of living water into our lives by introducing us to important stories, gospel doctrines, and timeless principles.” He labels this method as the most fundamental way we can obtain the living water of Christ.

Next comes studying the scriptures by topic. Topical study should flow naturally from reading cover to cover and should happen as we seek to find answers to important questions that arise as we read, such as What is faith in the Savior? Why and how does faith in the Savior lead to repentance? This method should get us digging a little deeper into the scriptures.

The final method—searching for connections, patterns, and themes—is, according to Elder Bednar, the best way to draw from the living water of our Savior. Elder Bednar explains, “Whereas reading a book of scripture from beginning to end provides a basic breadth of knowledge, studying by topic increases the depth of our knowledge. Searching in the revelations for connections, patterns, and themes builds upon and adds to our spiritual knowledge by bringing together and expanding these first two methods; it broadens our perspective and understanding of the plan of salvation.”

Though right now I’m not regularly searching for or seeing the connections, patterns, and themes in the scriptures, consistently reading the scriptures is a good start. As with most things that are worth achieving, learning to study and seek for connections, patterns, and themes in the scriptures will take time. But the time will be valuable if it helps me—and you—draw on the powerful reservoir of living water that is our Savior Jesus Christ.

Dive deeper into Elder David A. Bednar’s talk “The Scriptures: A Reservoir of Living Water” for more insight on how to strengthen your relationship with Jesus Christ through the scriptures.

Source: BYU Speeches

Lauren Buchanan, Mormon Insights

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Find more insights

Learn more about scripture study from Julie B. Beck’s talk “My Soul Delighteth in the Scriptures.”

Discover what it means to apply the scriptures by reading President Russell M. Nelson’s talk “Living by Scriptural Guidance.”

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