Sunday, June 5, 2016

Spiritual Sunday: Feasting on the Scriptures

In January, I decided to establish some meaningful habits in my life. In particular, I wanted to exercise daily, read my scriptures daily, and study Swedish. For the most part, I have managed to consistently do these three things on a daily basis. It is changing my life and makes me feel happy and accomplished when I complete these tasks each day.

For my scripture study, I am doing a few things. First, I try to study my scriptures before my kids get up for school. It doesn't always work out and I study later in the day. But I concentrate better in the early morning without interruptions. Second, I have two specific reading assignments I do each day. I read a few verses in the New Testament and then I study Isaiah, using the BYU Religious Studies textbook by Victor Ludlow, Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet. Third, I mark verses and important words with some scripture markers. Fourth, I use sticky notes to make notes in my scriptures. Fifth, I write thoughts and commentary about my Isaiah study on lined notebook paper that I keep in a simply three-ring binder.

I usually enjoy studying my scriptures, but I'm reaping some new benefits with my more consistent and regular study. In the past when I studied I would get caught up in trying to study it all at once. Now that I have a schedule, I set a timer for 30 minutes and just relax into my study. I know I will pick it up again tomorrow and that my study builds on the daily practice.

By choosing to focus on just a small section at a time, I am getting so much more out of my study. I have a tendency to read very fast. So focusing on a few verses at a time forces me to slow down, re-read, ponder, and really digest what I'm reading. The story of the Savior in the gospels is coming alive for me in a way it never has before. I feel like I am there, experiencing and watching the Savior in his ministry. It's real and powerful in a way that I never knew before. I can feel my testimony of Jesus Christ growing and expanding. I plan to continue studying in just this way and working my way through all the standard works: The New Testament, The Old Testament, The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price.

My Isaiah study is so exciting to me.  Reading the textbook linked above has been so helpful. Victor Ludlow provides historical and social context for the time period. Studying this way appeals to me on a intellectual, historical, and spiritual level, combining all the things I love and enjoy. I can't believe how much I am learning and digesting. Studying Isaiah is deeply satisfying in so many ways.

The best part about this scripture study is how I feel inside. I feel my testimony growing. I feel my heart and mind drawing closer to God. I feel myself craving to read the scriptures. I feel the influence of the Holy Spirit more in my life. I am getting better at recognizing small promptings. I feel like I am orienting myself more toward righteousness and God.

How does your life change when you implement scripture study consistently? What have you experienced spiritually?


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