Thanks as ever for your thoughtful comments and participation. I hope this summary of today’s discussion will be instructive to those who could not attend and deepen the study of those who did.
Meaningful Scripture Study
After Nephi heard his father Lehi’s vision, he approached the Lord for greater understanding. Consider the following verse and look for elements that make for meaningful scripture study.
For it came to pass after I had desired to know the things that my father had seen, and believing that the Lord was able to make them known unto me, as I sat pondering in mine heart I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, into an exceedingly high mountain, which I never had before seen, and upon which I never had before set my foot.1 Nephi 11:1
It is notable that Nephi was caught away in the Spirit to a place which he had never set foot. How often does your scripture study lead you to places you have never been?
At the conclusion of his own vision, Nephi encountered his brothers, Laman and Lemuel, puzzling over their father’s dream. Nephi’s response is summarized in this passage:
And I did read many things unto them which were written in the books of Moses; but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.1 Nephi 19:23
Although an intellectual understanding may expand our minds, our goal should be to liken the scriptures in a way that changes our hearts and draws us closer to God.
To liken the scriptures means to understand how the principles and doctrines apply to one’s own life and to use them to become more like the Savior.
Ultimately, likening the scriptures happens when the Spirit helps one see the importance of a principle and how it could be a blessing to him or her personally.Teaching the Gospel Handbook, pg. 33-34
Discovering how to interpret and apply the parables of Jesus is essential to getting the most from them. To interpret [the scriptures], one must study what it meant to them, there, then. To apply a [the scriptures], one must ponder what it means to me, here, now.Frank F. Judd Jr., Parables of Jesus: the Priceless Parables
As you consider ways to improve your own scripture study, prayerfully complete the following questionnaire and act on the promptings you receive.
The Condescension of God
One of the first questions asked by angel during Nephi’s vision was: “knowest thou the condescension of God?” (1 Nephi 11:16). Although the word condescension is associated with an attitude of superiority, the scriptural definition is quite different. Study the following definitions and ponder what it reveals about the nature of God and Jesus Christ.