As a girl who loves books, bookstores, and rainy little cafes for that matter, the love that can be felt for the scriptures is like none other. I’m irregular and sporadic with scripture reading, but anytime that I force myself to set aside all electronics and read a chapter, by the time I’m done I want to smack myself on the forehead for all times I didn’t read. I haven’t always felt I had a great love for the scriptures, so making my personal set work for me has made all the difference. If you’re feeling burnt out, frustrated, or underwhelmed with your scripture study I hope that one of these suggestions can help you out.
Try using color in a way that helps you stay focused, looks attractive, and will help when you return to that chapter or verse at a later date. Here’s what works for me: I use yellow anytime the Godhead is referred to, I highlight the word or phrase with a yellow pencil; Lord, God, Redeemer, Christ, etc – all marked in yellow. Any time joy, happiness or peace is mentioned I underline the section in orange. Because, I love happy things. Verses that could apply to me in today’s time or that are inspirational I draw a light red box around; that way it’ll stand out the next time I’m flipping through looking for a little extra something. New names or places are underlined in green, which helps keep track of who’s speaking, where the person is, and the significance of the chapter.
Make Institute Manuals Your New Best Friend
Institute manuals are study guides that are used during semester long classes focused on a certain section of the scriptures: the New Testament, Old Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine + Covenants, or on a specific study topic, such as marriage. For $2 you can order them online [free shipping, I mean, c’mon] or pull it up on your phone through the LDS Library phone app.
I open the manual after I finish a chapter or two for the day to see what insight or thought I missed. If there’s a quote, thought or explanation that I love, I write it on a post-it note and set it on the scriptures page that it correlates to. This guarantees I’ll always have enough room for whatever length of quote, and save room in the margins for other notes.
Try Listening Along
Seriously, go for it! When you select a chapter on the LDS app you can hit play and be read to. It works best for me if I open my scriptures and follow along as normal as if I were reading it myself. Though there are speed settings I’ve found the normal speed is the most usable: too much slower or faster and the guy turns into a robot.
Add Titles to The Top of Each Page
While studying for a youth lesson I found this PDF from a blog, the Red Headed Hostess, and fell in love. She created title pages for every page in the Book of Mormon — from “Lehi sees the future destruction of Jerusalem” to “Come Unto Christ.” It’s amazing. I used her PDF and wrote every title page on the pages of my scriptures, alternating placement for every other page.
She also provides title pages for certain books in the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua, Judges and Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra through Ester, and that’s where things ended when I did a quick search through her site.
Set Goals + a daily time to Read Daily
My last tip for studying the scriptures is to set personal goals. Doing so sets it as a priority in your heart, and will hopefully make it more meaningful when you sit down to read. Ideas of goals you can set would be reading consistently for a certain amount of days, reading for a specific amount of minutes daily, reading read the new or old testament from cover to cover, or searching the scriptures for help with understanding an idea such as peace, love or forgiveness.