Why study the scriptures?


Are You Holding To The Iron Rod?


Lehi's Dream - Iron Rod
Lehi’s Dream – The Iron Rod

While all Latter-day Saints know how important it is to “hold to the rod, the iron rod” and that the “iron rod is the Word of God”, some of us may confess that it has been quite a while since we have read the Quadruple Combination of our Standard Works (The Bible, Old and New Testament; The Book of Mormon; Doctrine and Covenants; and the Pearl of Great Price) in its entirety.

Scripture Reading In A Busy World

We know, and are well aware of the fact that Latter-day Saints are probably among the busiest people on the Earth, hastening to do an untold amount of good in this world. However, we should be careful not let this busyness interfere with our own spiritual welfare.

God’s character is revealed through careful study of the scriptures. Careful and meditative study of the scriptures is a great source of blessing and spiritual growth. They, combined with faithful, sincere prayer, will bring a person closer to God than anything else that can be offered in this world.

Knowledge is important. Jesus stated in his prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3).

In Hosea 4:6, the Lord stated, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”

In D&C 11:21, the Lord stated, “Seek not to declare my word, but seek first to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.”

In the Old Testament, God gave instructions to Israel’s king, “And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.” (Deut. 17:19,20).

Our need to study and ponder the scriptures, especially today, is abundantly clear.

But I Read The Book of Mormon

Mother and Daughter ReadingIf you, like many of us, are an avid reader of the Book of Mormon, you do well. But, it behooves us to remember one important fact: Although the prophet Joseph Smith stated that, “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” (History of the Church, 4:461.), he did not mean that it should be the only book that we are to study.

God commanded us, “And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” (D&C 88:118). In giving us this commandment, the Lord was not commanding us to spend our valuable time in learning things which would be of no or little eternal consequence. The “best books” He was referring to were those books that would have the greatest impact and benefit to all our eternal lives. Two of the greatest books that fall into this category are the Old and the New Testament.

The Old and New Testaments are a tremendous resource to see the work, love and longsuffering of our Lord and Savior. They, like the Book of Mormon, testify to the truth that God lives, and that He sent His Only Begotton Son to die for us and to minister to our needs.

In the Joseph Smith translation of 2 Timothy 3:16,17 we read, “And all Scripture given by inspiration of God, is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect (see Matthew 5:48), throughly furnished unto all good works.”

And again in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Let us always remember the scriptural admonitions, “It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance.” (D&C 131:6) and “For he will give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept; and I will try you and prove you herewith.” (D&C 98:12).

Reading through the scriptures once will only give us the light for that day. Much more is to be had as we continue to read over and over again the precious truths for which so many people gave their lives in order for us to obtain.

God blesses us with the talents we need in order to obtain His Kingdom. “…For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required…” (Luke 12:48). In the case where God has blessed an individual with the ability and capacity to read and understand, then such an individual cannot consider him or herself a true disciple of the Lord if he or she does not faithfully study the scriptures.

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