More than Divine Words on a Page

I had been living far below my privileges when it came to scripture study.

In a class I took on teaching seminary, I learned that there is a better way to study scriptures: by following the learning pattern. The learning pattern includes understanding the context and content, identifying and understanding doctrines and principles, feeling the truths of those doctrines and principles, and applying them in your life.

Photo by John Mark Smith.

I practiced these steps with the story of the man sick of the palsy (Mark 2:1–12). The first thing I did was to focus on content and context. In my mind, I could see the event happening. I saw the friends of the sick man struggle to lift him up onto the roof, muscles straining and sweat running everywhere, until they were successful. This visual is based on the scriptural text, so it was meaningful and enhanced my scripture study.

Continuing through the pattern, I thought of the importance of bringing one of my friends to Christ. I thought about the determination of the man’s friends to get him to Christ in a jam-packed house (Mark 2:2), and I compared their efforts to own missionary efforts as I strive to balance determination with agency. Consequently, I recognized that I need to bring people to Christ by showing charity, not by dragging them.

As I reflected on how this principle made me feel, I considered how the man who had palsy changed after coming to Christ. I related this change to my own experience coming to Christ and to the experiences of my friends.

As I felt the importance of coming to Christ, I decided to immediately apply it by fulfilling my stake’s suggestion to do member missionary work.

By applying this principle and following the learning pattern, I know I will see more than divine words on a page: I’ll see divine influence on my life.

Learn more about enhancing your own scripture study by learning more about the learning pattern.


—Austin Tracy, Mormon Insights Contributor


Find more insights

Study the scriptures like never before by applying the learning pattern.

To get help with understanding context and content, check out these study aids.

Go through the learning pattern with Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf in his talk “Learn from Alma and Amulek.”

Immerse yourself in the story surrounding the Lord’s declaration to feed his sheep in Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s talk “The First Great Commandment.”



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