6 O my sons, I would that ye should remember that these sayings are true, and also that these records are true. And behold, also the plates of Nephi, which contain the records and the sayings of our fathers from the time they left Jerusalem until now, and they are true; and we can know of their surety because we have them before our eyes.
7 And now, my sons, I would that ye should remember to search them diligently, that ye may profit thereby; and I would that ye should keep the commandments of God, that ye may prosper in the land according to the promises which the Lord made unto our fathers.
Why is it important for us to study the scriptures?
As King Benjamin prepared to deliver his final sermon to his people, he gathered his three sons and emphasized to them the importance of studying the scriptures. He taught them that the words contained on the brass plates (many of the books in the Bible) are true. He testified that the words written written by Nephi and his descendants (the first part of the Book of Mormon) are also true. He emphasized the value of this physical representation of God’s word: “We can know of their surety because we have them before our eyes.”
He then urged them to “search them diligently.” Why is that important? We know that we can receive God’s word in several ways. We receive inspiration through the promptings of the Holy Ghost. We hear gospel truths taught in church meetings and in our homes. We experience the value of true principles as we apply them in our lives. What is special about reading the written word of God?
Elder David A. Bednar provided some insight into this question:
The scriptures, in essence, are a written “recording” of the voice of the Lord—a voice we feel in our hearts more than we hear with our ears. And as we study the content and feel the spirit of the written word of God, we learn to hear His voice in the words we read and to understand the means whereby the words are given to us by the Holy Ghost….
How important it is for each of us to return repeatedly to the holy scriptures and thereby gain experience and confidence in hearing and feeling His voice. As we regularly study the holy scriptures, “Behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do” (2 Ne. 32:3)
(“Because We Have Them Before Our Eyes,” New Era, April 2006).
So the tangible nature of the scriptures gives us an anchor as we learn how to hear and recognize the voice of the Lord.
In the same article, Elder Bednar taught five principles for making our personal scripture study more effective:
- Pray for understanding, both at the beginning and end of each study session.
- Work. Don’t expect scripture study to be easy.
- Be consistent. Set aside a specific time and place each day to study.
- Ponder. Reflect, in an unhurried way, on the lessons you can learn from the passage you are studying.
- Write down impressions, thoughts, and feelings. The Holy Ghost can continue to teach us as we write what we have learned.
Today, I will remember the importance of the written word of God in helping me to recognize and follow His voice. I will strive to hear His messages for me and for those I love in the words I study. I will be grateful for this tangible way of receiving and learning to recognize His voice.