I think we all have our favorite ways of studying the scriptures. But sometimes, after I’ve been studying the scriptures one way for a while, I want to try something new. I’ve been thinking of new ways to approach scripture study lately, and I’ve come up with some ideas.
I’ve centered these ideas around studying Jesus Christ, who He is, what He’s done, things like that. But some of these ideas might transfer over to other study topics, so experiment with them a bit. I’d love to hear how these ideas work for you!
1. Set Up a New Marking System
I’ll admit, this is one I’ve done a lot. I’ve had various marking systems, and now if you look in certain copies of my scriptures, you’ll see more than one type of marking going on and it probably wouldn’t make any sense. Sometimes, I’m not sure it makes sense to me either.
But I’ve also had some marking systems that were awesome. My most recent one focused on marking only things connected to Christ and the Godhead.
If you’re interested, my set-up was:
- Yellow – Any mention of God the Father, Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit
- Red – Specific mentions of Christ’s Atonement and suffering
- Purple – Mentions or teachings of Christ’s coming and Second Coming
- Blue – Witnesses/testimonies of Christ and His teachings
- Green – Examples of Christ’s relationship to us
- Orange – Things I can do to be more like Christ
This marking system surprised me in a couple of ways. First of all, I think I learned a lot about Christ. I learned how engaged He is with us and how much He helps people. Second, I couldn’t believe how much I marked. I know the scriptures are about God, Christ, and the Holy Ghost, but I never realized how often they are mentioned until I used this code. My testimony that the scriptures testify of the Godhead increased so much.
If this code isn’t quite what you want, there are loads you can find on the internet. Seriously, Google it and so many will show up. Or, you can just make up your own too. That way you’ll be finding exactly what you’re looking for while you study the scripture.
2. President Nelson’s Challenge
In 2017, President Russell M. Nelson challenged us to do a study of Christ by going through every scripture that mentions Him – that includes scriptures in the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price.
Now, I haven’t tried this one yet. I definitely want to, it’s just deciding when the best time to start it will be for me. It sounds so awesome.
According to President Nelson, this is a study of over 2,200 scriptures. Think how much we could learn about Christ by studying 2,200 scriptures about Him.
If you want to know more about this challenge, click here to read President Nelson’s personal experience with it.
3. Draw or Diagram Christ’s Parables
So, I’m not an artist. I don’t draw or paint. I’m no good at it.
But, I have found that drawing out certain stories, symbols, parables, etc. has been helpful to me. I sometimes understand them a lot better when I draw them out.
Recently, I’ve started doing this more. Not so much because I love drawing (again, not really my thing) but because I’ve started using a scripture study guide that encourages things like drawing. And I’ve been surprised to find that I pay more attention to events in the scriptures that I might have skimmed over before.
Drawings don’t need to be Mona Lisa level pieces of art. If you’re like me, you’ll use a LOT of stick figures and hope that God isn’t offended by my poor representations. But no matter what level of art your drawings are, you can learn quite a bit by seeing pictures of the scriptures.
This could be especially useful with parables because they are generally short stories that wouldn’t be too hard to draw. By drawing out the story, you might find deeper symbolism in the story, or find a way to apply it to yourself that you hadn’t thought of before.
The thing I like about drawing in the scriptures is that it forces me to think about the verses differently than I normally would, which brings a new level to my study that usually isn’t there. So even if you aren’t an artist, this could be a good method to try.
4. Write Your Personal Witness of Christ
Years ago, when I was in seminary, I had a teacher who suggested we read “The Living Christ,” then research scriptures of Christ so we could write a personal witness like “The Living Christ.”
I actually really like this idea. I find that when I write about something, I understand it a lot better afterward. Sometimes it just helps me get my thoughts in better order. Sometimes it’s the result of deeper research.
Either way, writing what I personally believe, know, and experience with Christ could be really strengthening. It could help me appreciate both the scriptures and resources like “The Living Christ” better than I do now. Especially since I would need to spend some good time in the scriptures to do it.
This one is cool because writing your witness could be a study by itself, or if you are close to finishing a study, you could add this in at the end to wrap up the study.
5. Compare Types of Christ to Christ Himself
Types of Christ are people or things that represent or act as symbols of Christ in the scriptures. If you aren’t sure what counts as a type and what doesn’t, there’s a list of types of Christ here. This could be a good place to start. You can also go to the Topical Guide in your scriptures or online to find a more complete list of types of Christ.
Or, if you don’t want to use the Topical Guide, another way to do this would be to study ancient prophets in the scriptures and find ways that they are types of Christ. Moses is one of the top examples I’d recommend starting with.
Look at the lives of the people, their actions, the miracles they’ve performed, their parentage, their relationships with God the Father, the chronology of their life events, their characteristics, and more. If you’re not looking at people, you can still look at characteristics of the symbol that are similar to Christ, how the object is treated, what the narrative says about the symbol, and how the symbol behaves toward other people. An example of this could be a lamb.
I find it really helpful to study people who have worked to become like Christ or who share characteristics with Him. It helps me feel like it’s possible to improve and become more like Christ. After all, the people who were types of Christ were still human beings. They weren’t perfect, but they loved and served Christ. It’s the kind of example I think we’d all like to prioritize in our lives.
6. Study Each Personal Visit Christ Has Made to God’s Children
Studying visits Christ has made to Earth and God’s children is something I’ve tried here and there. And though I haven’t done this study in-depth, I think that we can learn a lot about our relationship with Christ by seeing interactions He’s had with people face-to-face.
For example, the brother of Jared had a pretty cool, faith-strengthening experience with Christ. And Joseph Smith received guidance from Christ that he hadn’t thought possible before meeting Him. If you wanted, you could even include personal interactions people had with Christ during His life on Earth. The woman with the issue of blood, for instance.
Our relationship with Christ is personal; His Atonement is individual. By seeing how Christ and His Atonement interact with others, we might learn how He reaches each of us too.
7. Make a Pretend Lesson Plan
I like the versatility of this idea. You could choose a specific story or characteristic of Christ to study and build a lesson around, or you could decide after finishing a study that making a lesson plan about your study would be a good way to finish it out.
You could make the lesson a Sunday School lesson, a Young Women’s/Young Men’s lesson, a Family Home Evening Lesson, or a missionary-style lesson (like you’re talking to someone who isn’t familiar with the gospel). You could even make it a talk instead of a lesson if you wanted. See if you can write a talk like John Bytheway or Brad Wilcox.
This is something you could have fun with while still learning. Make up activities to go along with the lesson, think of personal experiences that connect to the topic, and write down open-ended questions you could ask your “audience.” The great thing is, you can put the whole thing together without pre-teaching nerves getting in the way.
When the lesson is finished, you’ll have done enough study and preparation to understand your topic much better. And, as a bonus, if you ever do need to give a lesson or talk last minute, you’ll already have one ready to go.
If you feel like your scripture study has been flat or routine lately, try one of these ideas to shake it up and get some new inspiration. Focusing a study specifically on Christ can especially help to bring the Spirit and strengthen our testimonies.
Or maybe you have some ideas you’d add to this list. What are they?? Let me know in the comments!