President Russell M. Nelson recently invited Church members during the general women’s session of conference to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year. He recognized that the challenge might seem impossible for some but promised that if we accepted the invitation with “full purpose of heart,” the Lord would provide a way for us to get it done.
He also noted that the promised blessings of completing this challenge would be great. He said, “The Lord will bless you with increased inspiration and revelation.” He promised that as we dedicate time to learning and speaking of Christ, “changes, even miracles will begin to happen.”
This challenge will allow us to set aside time every day to read the word of God and truly engage with the Book of Mormon. We desperately need the comfort and blessings that come from daily scripture study, and President Nelson promised that those blessings will come if we take the challenge to heart.
As we engage in this challenge, it’s important to really feast on the words of Christ. We need them now more than ever, so here are a few ways you can make your scripture study more meaningful and effective.
1. Open your study with a prayer.
Before you read your scriptures, pray that you’ll have an open mind and be able to feel the Spirit. Praying will also invite the Spirit into your heart so you can be fully prepared for what you might learn in your studies.
As you open your scripture study with prayer, think of questions or concerns you have that the Lord can enlighten you on. You’ll be able to find answers and comfort as you read the Book of Mormon.
2. Mark verses about the Savior.
President Nelson encouraged everyone to mark any verses that speak of or refer to the Savior. Doing so will draw us closer to the Lord and invite Him into our lives.
When you intentionally recognize the Savior in the Book of Mormon, you’ll come to realize that His hand is in the details of the stories and in the details of your life.
3. If you can’t read, listen.
Whenever I’m busy, I like to press play on whatever chapter I’m on and listen while I’m working, driving, or getting ready for the day. I can get through the chapters faster and get my other daily tasks done at the same time. As long as you remember to listen intently, this is a great way to feel the Spirit when you’re doing mundane tasks.
This is also a good way to help your children who don’t know how to read or who can’t read very fast. This challenge from President Nelson was given to all women over eight years old, so having your child listen to the scriptures might be more effective for them.
4. Keep a scripture journal.
Writing down thoughts and feelings that come during your daily scripture study will help you reflect on your experiences and receive revelation. Make sure you have a notebook and pen nearby and be ready to write.
As you write down your feelings and mark the scriptures that touch your soul, keep in mind the questions and concerns you’ve been praying about. Those feelings and scriptures could be God’s way of answering your prayers.
5. Read Joseph Smith History.
Find time to read Joseph Smith History, preferably before you start reading the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith tells his story of incredible faith and perseverance during his lifetime and the faith he exercised to translate the Book of Mormon.
Reading Joseph Smith History will give you a greater appreciation for what he and other early Saints went through to translate and print the Book of Mormon. This will make your reading experience even more meaningful as you remember their sacrifices and how important the book is.
6. Look up words and phrases you don’t understand.
Book of Mormon language is much different from the language we use today. It’s common to misunderstand phrases or stumble over unknown words, so look up their meanings when you come across them.
This practice will take a little extra time, but that additional research will help you get the most out of what you’re reading because you’ll understand what the ancient prophets were saying.
7. Set aside a specific time and place for scripture study.
Block out time during your day to dedicate to scripture study. Life gets crazy and it’s easy to push it off until “later,” but chances are “later” will never come. Plan in advance for your uninterrupted Book of Mormon study.
While you’re at it, make sure you have a quiet place with minimal distractions for scripture study. You’ll be able to better feel the Spirit and receive personal revelation if you put yourself in a peaceful environment.
8. Study other gospel resources.
We are truly blessed to have so many resources to help us learn the gospel. You can read Church books, Ensign articles, and conference talks in addition to the Book of Mormon to learn more about the Savior and the gospel.
Take advantage of the resources available online and in the Gospel Library app. There is so much to learn and adding other readings to your scripture study will bring you closer to Christ.
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9. Get creative and make it personal.
No two people learn or study the same way. You know better than anyone what works for you, so study the Book of Mormon however you learn best.
I love words and quotes, so when I come across a scripture that touches me, I like to write it down in a notebook and ponder it for a few days. I know artistic people who create beautiful paintings and drawings portraying different scripture stories or ancient prophets. I know people who love exercising and listen to the scriptures during their cardio sessions. There isn’t one “right” way to do scripture study, so find what works best for you.
10. Pray to know if it’s true.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve finished the Book of Mormon one time or 100 times—you can always pray for a confirmation that what you read is true.
President Thomas S. Monson emphasized the importance of reading the Book of Mormon in his last general conference address before he passed away. He said, “This morning I speak about the power of the Book of Mormon and the critical need we have as members of this Church to study, ponder, and apply its teachings in our lives. The importance of having a firm and sure testimony of the Book of Mormon cannot be overstated.”
He goes on to promise that if we prayerfully read it and sincerely desire to know if it’s true, “the Holy Ghost will manifest its truth unto you.”
Lead image from Getty Images
To help you better accomplish President Nelson’s challenge during the general women’s session to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year and make note of your feelings about the Savior as you read, check out this journal edition of the Book of Mormon. With extended margins for notes and reflection, this new format will allow you to write your thoughts directly in your scriptures and easily find them again in times of need. Suited for every stage of life, this book will help increase your connection to your most treasured verses and make your personal scripture study even more meaningful.
Or check out these other helpful guides:
The Book of Mormon Family Reader will help your family discover and discuss the eternal doctrine found in the Book of Mormon, drawing you closer together as a family and closer to Christ. This new format suited for every age and stage of life makes meaningful scripture study an attainable goal for every family. This book provides your family with a simple yet meaningful approach to learning the sacred teachings of the Book of Mormon. You will love how manageable, enjoyable, and enlightening family scripture study can be!
In this digital eBook bundle, the two volumes of verse-by-verse commentary have been brought together for more convenient study. This complete two-in-one eBook set offers a reader-friendly exploration of the book of scripture that is the keystone of our religion. It incorporates sound doctrinal commentary with quotations from General Authorities and explanations of difficult passages—all sprinkled generously with the authors’ own
The Book of Mormon Study Guide: Start to Finish is a comprehensive, question-and-answer commentary that draws from thousands of the very best insights on the scriptures, including those from General Authorities, Church magazines and manuals, the most respected scholarly commentaries, scripture reference books, and other publications. This comprehensive volume brings the most unique, most compelling, and most insightful comments on the Book of Mormon together into one place to help you get more out of your personal scripture study. As we ask inspired questions and seek a deeper understanding of the scriptures, we invite personal revelation to help us in our challenging and ever-changing journey of life.