When I read the Psalm of Nephi, I generally focus on his main message: He is discouraged by his sins and recognizes that only God can help him overcome them.
But today, I’ve been thinking about how he begins the psalm: with pondering.
“My soul delighteth in the scriptures,” he says, “and my heart pondereth them” (2 Nephi 4:15). Scripture study was not drudgery for him. It was not something he did out of a sense of duty. It was something that brought him joy.
To ponder the scriptures, I think, means that they stick with you throughout the day. You don’t just study in the morning, set the book aside, and then get on with your life. “I reflected on it again and again,” wrote Joseph Smith about a passage he had read in the Bible: James 1:5. I imagine him returning to that passage repeatedly, trying to better understand its meaning, its implications, and what he ought to do about it.
Pondering requires humility. If we think we already know enough, then there’s no point in pondering. A ponderer hasn’t figured everything out. They may have accepted a true principle, but they have yet to work out its details and its ramifications.
“My soul delighteth in the things of the Lord,” said Nephi, “and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard” (2 Nephi 4:16). Nephi’s pondering wasn’t limited to the written word of God. It also encompassed the truths he had learned by personal revelation. I can imagine Nephi pondering the expansive vision recorded in 1 Nephi 11-14 for the rest of his life, trying to fully understand its meaning for him and for his family. Like a patriarchal blessing, it’s meaning must have evolved for him as he matured and as his circumstances changed.
Today, I will follow the examples of Nephi and Joseph Smith. I will “ponder continually” on the truths I have learned from God, both from the scriptures and through personal revelation.