LDS Scripture Study Techniques

studying in black & white
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 In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints studying the LDS scriptures is important because they are the word of God. Studying the word of God is vital to our salvation.

The following are a list of techniques (with pictures) that you can use to study the Bible or all of the LDS scriptures.

01
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Color Coding

LDS Scripture Study: Color Coding
LDS Scripture Study: Color Coding.

Color coding your LDS Scriptures is a great technique that works for beginners, experts, adults, or children. It's how I first came to love my daily study time and to realize the true value of the LDS scriptures.

First buy some good quality colored pencils or scripture marking crayons/pens. Make sure they won't show or bleed through to the other side as the pages of LDS scriptures are very thin. I used a set of Pioneer Markers (actually crayons) that worked perfectly, available in 12 or 6 colors. (Other brand: 18, 12, 6)

Then mark LDS scriptures either words, phrases, verses, or entire sections in a color that you associate with a specific topic or subject. Here's the list of categories I used for each color although you can make your own with more or less colors/subjects:

  1. Red = Heavenly Father, Christ
  2. Peach = Holy Ghost
  3. Orange = Charity, Services
  4. Light Yellow = Faith, Hope
  5. Dark Yellow = Repentance
  6. Gold = Creation, Fall
  7. Pink = Righteousness of People
  8. Light Green = Salvation, Eternal Life
  9. Dark Green = Prophecies yet to be fulfilled
  10. Light Blue = Prayer
  11. Dark Blue = Wickedness of People/Evil Works
  12. Purple = Prophecies already fulfilled
  13. Brown = Baptism

The two different ways I marked my LDS scriptures was either to underline the entire verse, or outline it and any other corresponding verses before and after it.

02
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Footnote Referencing

LDS Scripture Study: Footnote Referencing
LDS Scripture Study: Footnote Referencing.

Referencing the footnotes is an excellent way to further your understanding of gospel principles and to study the LDS Scriptures. While reading a passage pay attention to words or phrases that "jump out at you" meaning you find them interesting, curious, or are unsure of what they mean. If there's a footnote reference (a lowercase a, b, c, etc. before the word) look to the bottom of the page where you'll see the footnotes (listed by chapter and verse) and related references or other notes.

I like to circle the little letter in both the verse and its corresponding footnote. Next I take a bookmark, or other firm piece of cardstock, and draw a line between the two letters. I use a regular ball-point pen for this but a pencil would work too. I also like to add a little arrowhead pointing towards the footnote. If you're using the color code system (Technique #2) you can underline the footnote reference in its corresponding color.

After doing this you'll be amazed at all the gems you'll find. This is one of my favorite study technique which can be used when reading from cover to cover or with any other LDS scripture study method.

03
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Pictures and Stickers

LDS Scripture Study: Pictures and Stickers
LDS Scripture Study: Pictures and Stickers.

Putting pictures and stickers into your LDS scriptures is a really fun way to liven up your study time and is perfect for students of all ages. You can buy special see-through stickers called Scripture Stickers (although they are pricey) or make your own "stickers" by cutting out pictures from Church magazines, especially the Friend, or printing out some LDS Clipart.

When pasting your own pictures make sure you use a glue stick, not runny glue, and only place a small amount of paste onto the part of the picture where it will attach to the margins, don’t put glue on the parts that cover text. This way you can lift up the picture to read the text underneath it.

Stickers are fun too. Make sure you don't cover any of the text with stickers. Large stickers can be placed on blank spaces/pages but very small ones can fit in the margins.

You can using star and heart stickers to keep track of your favorite LDS scriptures. Here's what you do: While you're studying keep a look out for those verses that touch you or mean something to you, such as answers to prayers or insightful readings. Place the sticker (or you can just draw a star or heart) next to those verses in the margin. One of my companions during my mission drew hearts which she called "Love Notes." She'd write a small note in the margin explaining why that verse was a love note from Heavenly Father.

Tip: When using stickers you can also fold one over the top of the page so that half of the sticker is on one side and the other half on the opposite side, this makes it easier to find your favorite LDS scriptures when looking from the top.

04
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Marginal Notes

LDS Scripture Study: Marginal Notes. LDS Scripture Study: Marginal Notes

Placing notes in the margins is a quick technique to help you get involved with what's happening in the LDS scriptures as you study them. Just write the main event in the margin next to the verse(s) that describes it. For example, when Nephi brakes his bow in 1 Nephi 16:18 write "Nephi Brakes Bow" in large letters in the margin. If you're doing the color coding method (Technique #2) you can write this in the topic's corresponding color or if you’re artistic you could draw a broken bow in your LDS scriptures.

I also like to keep track of who's speaking to whom so in the top margin, above the column I'm reading, I write the name of the speaker and put an arrow then write the name of the person/group being spoken to. For example, when an angle speaks to Nephi in 1 Nephi 14 I write: Angel -> Nephi. If there isn't a particular audience you can just write the speaker's name or put "me" or "us" as the receiver.

You can also keep track of who’s who in the Book of Mormon when there's more than one person with the same name, such as Nephi, Lehi, Helaman, Jacob, etc. When you come across the name of a new person look them up in the LDS Scripture Index. If there is more than one person with the same name you'll see a small number following each name along with a bit of info and corresponding references. Go back to your LDS scripture reading and write the number of the corresponding person after their name.

For example, when reading in 1 Nephi you come across Jacob. Look in the Index, under J, and you'll see four different Jacob's listed. Each has a number following the name along with some references. Which Jacob you've come across will depend upon where you're reading in 1 Nephi since both Jacob 1 and Jacob 2 are mentioned. If you're in 1 Ne 5:14 you would put a small one after Jacob's name, but in 1 Nephi 18:7 you would put a two.

05
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Post-it Notes

LDS Scripture Study: Post-it Notes
LDS Scripture Study: Post-it Notes.
Using post-it notes is the perfect technique to have more room for writing notes and still keeping them in your LDS scriptures. Just place the sticky side of the note along the margins so it doesn't cover up the text. This way you can lift up the note and read the text below. Some of the notes you could write are questions, thoughts, inspirations, coinage, lineages, travel routs, etc.

You can also cut the notes into smaller pieces (just make sure to keep part of the sticky side) so they don't take up as much room. This works well if you have a small question or thought.
06
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Spiritual Journal & Patriarchal Blessing

LDS Scripture Study: Spiritual Journal & Patriarchal Blessing
LDS Scripture Study: Spiritual Journal & Patriarchal Blessing.

Keeping a spiritual journal is a simple yet powerful technique to help you record your own spiritual experiences as you study LDS scriptures. All you need is a notebook of any type and size. You can copy touching passages, note inspirational thoughts, and many other things. Just make sure not to lose your notebook. If it's small enough you could tuck it in a case for carrying your LDS scriptures.

You can also use your patriarchal blessing when studying LDS scriptures and make notes in your spiritual journal about it. A patriarchal blessing is your own personal scriptures from the Lord, like a chapter written just for you and it can be a very powerful resource if you study it often. You can study it word by word, phrase by phrase, or paragraph by paragraph by looking up topics in the Study Helps (See Technique #8). I have a small, laminated copy of mine that fits in my scriptures so I always know where it's at. If you'd like to mark up your Patriarchal Blessing make sure you use a copy and not the original.

07
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Study Helps

Scripture Study Helps
Scripture Study Helps.

Many LDS scripture study helps are available from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints both from LDS Distribution and from their website at LDS.org. These great resources include:

  • Guide to the Scriptures (I believe this is only available online)
  • Bible Dictionary (a personal favorite full of fascinating details)
  • Topical Guide
  • Index
  • Joseph Smith Translation
  • Bible Maps
  • Church History Maps
  • Photographs of Scriptural Sites
  • Photographs of Church History Sites
  • Chronology of Church History
  • Abbreviations and Designations
  • Explanation Concerning Footnotes
Most of these resources are easy to use because they are referenced in the footnotes of LDS Scriptures. If you're using the color coding system (Technique #2) you can highlight passages of the Bible Dictionary and Joseph Smith Translation that you read, and/or underline verses you look up in the Topical Guide and Index.

Make sure that you don't miss out on these inspired LDS scripture study tools.
08
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Word Definitions

LDS Scripture Study: Word Definitions
LDS Scripture Study: Word Definitions.

In this technique you look up the definition of words as you study your LDS scripture which will help increase your vocabulary. While reading pick out words that you don't know the meaning of, or that you'd like to more fully comprehend, then look them up in the Study Helps (Technique #8) or you can use the Triple Combination Vocabulary Guide by Greg Wright and Blair Tolman. (There used to be individual guides but they're now all combined into one.) This vocabulary guide for The Triple Combination (meaning The Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price) is wonderful and I use it all the time, it's very handy and would make a great gift!

After you've discovered the definition write it in the bottom margin below the footnotes. I like to write the verse, the footnote letter (if it doesn't have one I make one starting with the next letter available), then the word (which I underline), followed by the short definition. For example in Alma 34:35 I looked up in the "Triple Combination Vocabulary Guide" the definition for "subjected" which is footnote letter "a". Then in the bottom margin I wrote, "35a: subjected= slavery, under obedience or bondage to."

09
of 09

Memorize Powerful LDS Scriptures

LDS Scripture Study: Memorize Powerful LDS Scriptures
LDS Scripture Study: Memorize Powerful LDS Scriptures.

Memorizing powerful LDS scriptures is a technique that takes extra work but it's worth it. By powerful I mean promises. There are many verses in the LDS scriptures that contain special promises from our Father in Heaven. If we find and memorize them they will help us in our times of need. You can write the verses on index cards to more easily carry them around. This way you can read over them during your spare time.

Thanks to Steven A. Cramer's book, "Putting on the Armor of God" for this idea and the list of LDS scriptures that I used.

I printed up a bunch of small cards and then attached them to a key ring.

Studying the LDS Scriptures really is important and as you take the time to really focus your mind and study them instead of just reading them you will come to love them even more.

Updated by Krista Cook.