We Are Responsible for Our Own Learning (December 26-January 1)

As we prepare to study the New Testament in 2023, this week we’re reviewing how to acquire spiritual knowledge.

Jesus expected His disciples to take ownership of their own learning process. “Whom do men say that I am?” He asked on one occasion. After hearing their answers, He asked the more searching question, “But whom say ye that I am?” (Mark 8:27-29, italics added; see also Matthew 16:13-15, Luke 9:18-20). He wanted more than general facts. which are relatively easy to acquire. He wanted to hear their assessment of those facts. What did they think, and what did they know? He wanted them to dig deeper and to develop their own convictions.

Here are three actions we can take this year in order to gain spiritual knowledge:

1. Ask good questions

In 2019, I organized my gospel study around questions. Each day, I formulated a question, pondered and researched it, and wrote what I had learned. At the end of the year I had a list of 365 questions I had studied and at least partially answered.

I started that year with a series of questions about questions. Here are a few of those which you might find useful as you consider questions you would like to tackle this year:

2. Work hard searching for answers.

Nephi tells us, “He that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost” (1 Nephi 10:19).

God will answer our prayers, but He does expect us to pray. He will reveal truth to us, but He does expect us to make the effort to understand what He reveals. Here are some blog posts about the process of finding answers:

3. Prioritize first-hand knowledge.

Primary sources are more reliable than secondary ones. Hearing about the experiences of others can be inspiring, but we ultimately need more. We need spiritual experiences of our own.

Nephi said, “Having heard all the words of my father,… I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost” (1 Nephi 10:17). And Jesus praised Peter when he shared his personal testimony: “Blessed art thou,… for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 16:17).

Here is a blog post about the role of direct experience in our spiritual learning process:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: