God has told us many times we must study the scriptures in order to become closer to and understand Him. The scriptures are God’s written word that He has given to us through His prophets. It acts as a manual to help us navigate through our earthly life. These scripture study tips will help you make the most of your gospel study and help you grow closer to Jesus.
In this article, you will find;
- Ideas of questions to ask
- Study tips for visual learners
- Study tips for auditory learners
- Action learning tips
- Social learning tips
- Many other suggestions and ideas
Gospel Study Ideas for Growing Closer to Jesus
“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” (John 5:39-40)
Jesus said these words to some very educated religious leaders who had devoted their entire lives to studying their scriptures. Yet they still refused to see how the scriptures testified that Jesus was the Messiah, who offered them salvation and life through a relationship with Him.
The goal of this blog post is to give you creative ideas, approaches, methods, activities, ways of thinking, techniques, or tips that may help you search the scriptures in a way that deepens your relationship with Jesus. Because as He says: “Search the scriptures…they testify of Me.”
God made you a special individual with unique ways of learning. As you read through the ideas, find the ones that jump out to you. They are grouped into these different themes and learning styles: Focus On Jesus, Questions to Ask, For Visual Learners, For Auditory Learners, Read/Write Learning, Action Learning, Social Learning, and Other Suggestions.
Focus on Jesus:
- Ask yourself: “What does Jesus want me to know from the scripture or story?” This is a bit different than simply asking, “What should I learn?” because it brings Jesus into your study.
- Imagine a story from the point of view of Jesus. For example, you might read Matthew 8:1-4 and imagine what Jesus felt for the leper he healed. You could imagine what it would feel like to know what the leper had been through and then to reach out and touch Him with healing power. As you imagine this, it will invite Jesus into your mind and heart. He wants you to feel and do for others as He does.
- Ask, how does this story or thing symbolize Jesus? An ancient American prophet said: Behold, my soul delighteth in proving unto my people the truth of the coming of Christ . . . ; and all things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying [symbolizing] of him. [2 Nephi 11:4]. The apostle John also said ultimately everything testifies of Jesus, from the smallest proton to gigantic planets and stars. The Holy Ghost can guide you to understand the symbolism of created things.
Questions to ask:
- Ask the question: “What do I wonder?” Here are some examples: “I wonder what would it feel like to be healed of leprosy?” or “I wonder, how did onlookers feel when Jesus was baptized by John?” or “I wonder why would someone live and preach about God in the wilderness?” In Episode 51 of the Latter-day Saint Women podcast, Lori Newbold walks through more examples:
- Ask yourself: What would the person in the story want me to know?
- Ask: What word jumps out at me? Then study that word using the Topical Guide. Jesus said the Holy Ghost would “bring all things to your remembrance” (John 14:26). A word may catch your attention for many reasons and Jesus, through the Holy Ghost, can guide you to the truths He knows you need to remember by those specific words.
Tips for Visual Learners:
- Find a piece of art that describes a scripture or principle that you are studying. Here are some great online resources:
- Draw or paint your own illustration of a scripture, principle, or doctrine. If you don’t feel like you are very artistic, you could try to do it even with just stick figures or simple geometric shapes. The activity will still help you connect with Jesus and help imprint His truth in your mind and heart.
- Watch a Gospel movie or show. Movies can never depict history or Jesus perfectly, and cannot replace prayerfully digging into the written word of God. However, Jesus can teach us and speak to our souls through them. Pondering on the portrayals by the actors can also open our mind to different interpretations of the scriptures. Here are just a few free resources to check out:
Tips for Auditory Learners
- Find a song that explains or testifies of a scripture or truth from your study. You could also think about how that song connects you to your Savior.
- Read aloud to yourself or with others! The act and effort of speaking will help you internalize the scriptures and lessons. Jesus grew up reading aloud with family and friends in the synagogues He attended.
- Read the scriptures aloud in a new language you want to learn. A prophet of Christ named Alma said: “the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word” (Alma 29:8). God speaks to any and all nations about The Word in their own unique language and culture. You can discover new dimensions of Jesus by studying in other languages.
- Record yourself reading the scriptures to share with your family or friends.
- Listen to a recording of the scriptures. This can be especially helpful when you are busy and have time on your commute or while doing some busy work. This can remind you that Jesus is there with you even in the monotonous periods of life.
- Listen to Gospel podcasts. Check out our list of the best LDS podcasts.
Tips for Learning Through Reading & Writing
- Write in a study journal. The apostle John wrote: “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written” (John 21:25). When you write in a study journal, you are writing what Jesus is doing in your life, and adding to this infinite library of books that testify of the wonderful things Jesus does.
- Write a poem or song about a principle, story, or other Gospel truth you are learning. A Haiku, couplet, or even limerick are simple types of poems you could try.
- Read the scriptures fast, like a novel. The scriptures are ultimately a deep story about God and His love for us. Immersing yourself in the story can open your mind to new details and the grandeur of Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
- Write a parable that illustrates a Gospel truth. Or write a scriptural parable in a slightly different way to help you understand it. Here is an example made for children:
- Research the definition and etymology of words you encounter in the scriptures. I find the easiest way to do this is to type “etymology of [fill in the blank]” in the search bar. An etymology traces the historical definition of words, and I find it usually gives deeper meanings that provide much greater light on things. Much of our vocabulary today has been dumbed down or corrupted to not really mean the same thing as when the scriptures were originally written.
Tips for Action Learning
- Share something you learned with someone else. It can be as simple as texting someone a scripture that touched you or that reminded you of them. Jesus cares about our relationships and wants us to share our lives with each other.
- Act out a scripture story. This can be especially fun with kids. I can imagine Jesus acting out the story of Noah or Esther with the little children of His time.
- Do an activity about a scripture teaching or story. For example, you might study the parable of the mustard seed and then plant a small seed and watch it grow. Imagine Jesus is planting it with you and teaching you what He wants you to learn.
- Memorize scriptures that are really meaningful to you and your relationship with Jesus. When you pick scriptures that really touch you personally, it helps you remember them better. You could keep a list in a small notebook or on your phone. Write the scripture and then write it with just the first letter of each word to help you memorize it.
Tips for Social Learning:
- Create a study group. Jesus said, “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” Matthew 18:20.
- Study for someone you know. You don’t always have to study the scriptures just for yourself. You could study with the intent to understand someone you struggle with. You could study thinking about someone else going through a hard time. Or you could study looking for what God might have you teach a student or your own child.
- Attend your church Sunday School. Associating with fellow believers will strengthen your testimony of Jesus as you share and hear the redemptive stories and lessons that others have learned on their journey with Christ.
Other Tips & Suggestions:
- Study in the temple or other sacred place. The apostle John says “the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of [the heavenly city]” (Revelation 21:22). Every temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a direct symbol of Jesus and Heavenly Father. When we learn in, near, or focused on the temple, we are learning with Them as our teachers.
- Study outdoors. God created nature to remind us and teach us about Him. Being outdoors can also help us calm down and open our minds to the truths He wants to teach us.
- Study by topic. Pick a topic, such as faith, baptism, miracles, or prophets and study it deeply. The Topical Guide and Bible Dictionary are especially wonderful resources for this type of study.
- Study by person. There are so many people in the scriptures we can study! Choose someone that you relate to, maybe Jonah, Mary the mother of Jesus, Hannah, or even the small man Zacchaeus who climbed a tree to see Jesus. Really get into their lives and learn from how they connected with Jesus.
- Apply a scripture or principle to everything you are studying. This is similar to studying by topic. Once you identify a truth, such as “the truth shall make you free” (John 8:21), think about how any other scripture you read connects with that scripture. If you want to give it a try, apply John 8:21 to Matthew 5:38-42 and see how they connect. Then open up the scriptures to somewhere random and see how John 8:21 connects.
Focus On Your Relationship with Jesus
We hope that in all of your gospel study, you will come to know Jesus. He prayed to the Father: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). There is no such thing as salvation without a relationship with Him. And having that eternal relationship is the “most sweet”, fills your soul with “exceedingly great joy”, and is “desirable above all other [things]” (1 Nephi 8:11-12).
Final Thoughts On These Scripture Study Tips
We hope that these gospel study ideas will benefit you during your scripture study and bring you closer to Jesus. Feel free to comment below with any other tips you have to deepen or improve your gospel study so we can share them with our readers!