The power of The Word draws some people in naturally, while others find it a challenge. Written in a way that differs from how we speak, the scriptures can be difficult to understand without practice in reading the more antiquated style. Yet, the stories of individuals and societies making choices, failing, learning from their mistakes, and following God are what fill the pages of the scriptures—each story and parable connecting to our life on some level.
The phrase “the word,” as used in scripture, has at least two meanings. Elder David A. Bednar taught that “one of the names of Jesus Christ is ‘The Word’” and that “the teachings of the Savior, as recorded in the holy scriptures, also are ‘the word.’”
Blessings of The Word
Elder Mark Eddy shares three blessings of the scriptures:
- Reminding people how the Lord delivered their fathers
- Reflecting on the blessings of conversion
- Clarifying the covenant path and disproving the promises of the adversary.
As a mother of young children, I fell in love with the scriptures. I was attempting to build a spiritual foundation for my family, so I started with the habit of reading a chapter from the Book of Mormon every day. I started a journal to record my thoughts and impressions as I read.
Every so often, I could link the chapter of the day to something ongoing in the world or my life, and at other times, I just jotted down a quick summary of what I read. My small ones sometimes let me read for an hour or more, and other times, I was lucky if I could finish a few lines. Consistently reading and making notes made a difference no matter how much time I could devote to my studying.
How Journaling Helps
Research from Princeton and UCLA found a difference between students who took notes on paper and those who used their laptops. Here are some benefits they found:
- Writing helped student retention, allowing for learning on a deeper level.
- Recording thoughts allows for processing feelings more fully.
- Taking notes increases activity in the brain’s motor cortex, creating an effect similar to meditation. It stimulates and engages your mind in a more effective way, causing it to slow down and focus.
- Slowing down to record our thoughts creates more long-term memory cues and improves recall.
When I was in school, I remember learning this for myself. I was best able to commit something important to memory by writing it down. Recording my impressions and answers as I read the scriptures shows the value I give to what the Lord tells me.
“Knowledge carefully recorded is knowledge available in times of need. Spiritually sensitive information should be kept in a sacred place that communicates to the Lord how you treasure it. This practice enhances the likelihood of your receiving further light.”Richard G. Scott
Not only did I keep a small journal close by while studying the scriptures, I also developed a scripture marking system color coded by topic. It helps me easily access connections I’ve made and build a deeper understanding of what God wants me to learn.
Consistency and the Power of The Word
After devoting myself to consistent study for a few months, I had a few days of reading the Book of Mormon where I felt the Spirit testify of its truth. I remember thinking, “I know this. These truths feel so familiar to my soul. It’s not my first time learning this.” Because I recorded my testimony, I can look back and remember the way my faith grew.
Examining the stories of tests, hardships, blessings, unbroken promises, temptations, and conversions in scripture helps me understand how to apply the teachings to my life. Since those early days of study, I’ve learned that closeness to the scriptures is equivalent to closeness to Christ because He is, after all, the Word.
“The scriptures are like a written “recording” of the “voice” of the Lord—a voice we feel in our hearts more than we hear with our ears. As we study the written word of God, we learn to hear His voice in the words we read. As we return repeatedly to the holy scriptures, we gain experience and confidence in hearing and feeling His voice.”David A. Bednar
I love the promises made by President Russell M. Nelson if we prayerfully take the time to study the Book of Mormon every day:
- You will make better decisions—every day.
- The windows of heaven will open
- You will receive answers to your own questions and direction for your own life.
- Daily immersion will immunize you against the evils of our day.
I have found so much hope and light as I’ve sought for the power of the word, but just like anything we want to get better at, it takes practice. The more I slow down and spend time seeking—listening—the better I become at hearing what the power of The Word is telling me.