Recently, I was asked to share a few tips on studying The Book of Mormon. Before I begin, I just want to clarify that the ways I will be sharing are not the ONLY way or even the BEST way to study. These have just worked for me and what works for me, may not work for you, but try a few out, tweak them to fit your personality, and do your best to get the most out of your scripture study.
My second point on scripture study is that it can ALWAYS be better or improved, so don't just skip out on the study because it isn't perfected. Any form of study is better than none at all. Remember that.
STUDY BY WORD OR TOPIC When I study by word or topic, I don't go to the topical guide and read every scripture on the subject. I'm too much of a "I have to finish everything the first day" type of person, so I quickly learned that doing that was just not the way I should go about studying by word or topic. Instead, I chose to read The Book of Mormon and highlight (with a specific color) that word every time it appeared-- no matter the context. For example, one of the words I chose was commandment, until highlighting it every time I saw it, I never realized how often that word is used. When things are mentioned more than once, they are probably important, which is why I started this method of study. As I read with my specific words in mind, I was amazed at the lessons I needed to learn were brought out in a new way. It slowed down my speed read and helped me fully grasp important gospel truths.
Other words/topics I studied this way were: The Godhead (any time a member of the Godhead was mentioned, I colored the name in purple) The Doctrine of Christ: (I did this to help me as a missionary and colored in each different part of the Doctrine of Christ a different color) Faith (orange) Repentance (pink) Baptism (green) Gift of the Holy Ghost (blue) Endure to the End (brown) The Plan of Salvation (or any of its other names, yellow)
A NEW WRITING As a missionary, I read this Ensign article about how too many colors, notes, and underlining can hinder the Spirit's ability to teach us new things because we look at a scripture and assume we already understand it because it has already been marked. In the article Elder Richard G. Scott gives advice to Elder Mervyn B. Arnold about studying one set of scriptures on one topic fully and then putting those scriptures away and getting a new set to study a new topic. When I read this, I thought, I can't possibly buy that many sets of scriptures. That's pretty expensive. But I decided to give it a try with a fresh copy of The Book of Mormon for my personal study. I chose to study (in a very similar fashion to the way I did in the first section) speaking because one of my many fears as a missionary was opening my mouth. I really enjoyed this study, not just because it was something I needed to work on but because I really did find new scriptures that I had read dozens of times but overlooked because the scripture before or after it was marked up.
SPEED READ This goes along with The Book of Mormon Challenge. Instead of reading slowly, read the whole thing quickly and pull the stories out. It's amazing to see how the stories and characters come alive as you read the scriptures like any other book.
DISECT (Note: I never finished this method, but I learned SO much while trying this) Read one verse a day and read every scripture in the footnotes of the particular scripture. I loved this because it brought The Book of Mormon and The Bible together for me. Cross references are so awesome and there are already tons references below in the footnotes! I also loved the things I learned from The Bible Dictionary during this study.
10-A-DAY This is a study for the entire standard works. If you read 10 pages a day (5 from the Bible, 2 from The Book of Mormon, 2 from the Doctrine & Covenants/ Pearl of Great Price and 1 from the General Conference Ensign) you will finish the entire Standard Works in a year and read The Book of Mormon twice. I did this method the year before my mission and LOVED it. I was amazed at how much I loved the Old Testament (gasp!) had I never done this study, I wouldn't have found some of my favorite scriptures.
There are so many ways to study the scriptures. And we are so blessed when we choose to study at all. What are your favorite scripture study methods?? Tell me in the comments!