Monday, January 9, 2017

How I Study My Scriptures

For a while now I have been meaning to share a little system I've developed to help me in my scripture study. Mostly it's in reference to the way I highlight my scriptures as I study, but I will include some other things I have found to be helpful as well.

I have had a pretty steady scripture reading habit since I was a little girl. I read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover when I was just 8 years old. I used to love to sit in my day bed at the end of the day, with just my lamp on, and read my scriptures and write in my journal. It was therapeutic and grounding to me, and in pure, childlike faith I gained a testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I've known the scriptures are true my whole life, and I have personally felt their strengthening power.

For me, my study is so much more meaningful when I feel like I'm having some interaction with the content I'm studying vs. just reading it. Highlighting verses that are significant or make a personal impact on me is great way to do this. I saw an idea for an itemized highlighting system like this on Pinterest a couple years ago, and have since made it my own. I shared it with a friend once and she has been using it and loves it. It is straightforward, easy to remember, and a helpful tool to use in study. This is how it works...

You'll use 5 different colors to highlight important verses. Each color has a certain meaning so when you refer back to the scriptures, it will be easy to decipher what any highlighted verse will be about. This is what I mean:

Red is used to show something you should STOP doing. Things that are wrong, something you want to avoid, warnings, etc. In this category falls the "wo unto" verses. ;)

As you might guess, green verses are things you SHOULD do. Commandments, good patterns, instruction, etc.

Verses about the Savior are marked in yellow because he is the light of the world. When a verse teaches about Jesus Christ and his power and work specifically- yellow is your color.

Blessings. Blue verses show the Lord's generous hand- especially to the faithful. Promised blessings, fulfilled blessings. I've been surprised to see how many times I could and do use blue when studying my scriptures. A great reminder that the Lord's hand is bounteous, that he LOVES and desires to bless all of his children, and that if we are righteous we will prosper in the land. Blue can also include promises the Savior gives to us, for we know they will be fulfilled.

Purple is for verses that explain doctrine, and also for verses that are interesting or poignant that don't fall into the other categories. Purple is important but is also kind of my catch-all for scriptures I want highlighted that don't have as specific a category.


The kind of highlighters I like to use are Crayola Twistable Crayons. They don't bleed through the thing pages, I love that they are adjustable, and I love that they aren't as bold as a marker or even a pencil. The color is there, but it's not overwhelming. I also use the edge of a bookmark to make the lines straight when I highlight.

Study Guides:
Over the last few months I have started using study guides in my study and it has made such a difference! I love having more of a focus and intent behind my study rather than just reading chronologically. I've learned more extensively about specific subjects, which I love, and find myself able to answer questions I hadn't thought of before. The Small Seed is a great resource. They provide monthly study guides that focus on different subjects. I love their guides because they reference specific scriptures, scripture stories, General Conference talks, and they have lots of great study questions and journal prompts to help you think deeply about what you're reading. I also have started using the Sunday School Class Member Study Guide as well as the Teachings of Presidents of the Church manual and am just thrilled that this year we're studying President Hinckley. I love him and his encouragement and positivity.

Consistency/ Prayer/ Time of Day:
The last tip I'll share is more for the intention of your study. Making scripture study a habit is so important and such a blessing. It's much easier if you have a certain time of day you study, so that it's just built in to your day- something that you do every single day because there is always a time for it. I have always studied at night before bed, because it's the pattern I started as a little girl, and it feels good to me to connect with my Father in Heaven as I close my day, but just recently I've begun waking up early to do it in the morning because I've felt prompted to, and I am sooooooo much fresher in the morning. I enjoy my study a lot more in the morning, which is a great blessing rather than feeling like I'm just "getting it done". I love starting the day all by myself when the house is quiet, learning at God's hand, and feeling like my day is on the right track with the Savior and His will being the priority.
   A couple months ago I heard Dallin H. Oaks speak and he said that you should always pray before you study your scriptures.  Just as we would ask for a blessing on the food before we physically feast, we need to ask for a blessing before we feast spiritually as well. I have started to pray much more often that I can "learn at the hand of the Lord". I ask Him to direct my study so I can learn things that are important, relevant, and useful in my life right now. Also, saying a prayer of gratitude for God's words and insights after they come enhances your study too.


I know that studying, learning, understanding, and applying God's word changes our lives. There is direction, clarity, and comfort in the scriptures. Reading the scriptures is such a huge way that God communicates with us, and if we want to know Him and understand Him and His desires for us personally, we have to be in the scriptures. We live in a world of so much information, and so many of the words we hear each day are false, deceptive, contentious, and discouraging. "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." John 4:14

1 comment :

  1. Thanks for sharing Ellery! I remember you reading your scriptures during your prep time at school, and thought that was so neat! I can't wait to try out your tips for marking and reading!