Scripto: A Searcher of God’s Word…
I have long held a deep love for the scriptures. I always loved to hear the stories of Jesus healing, and holding the little children, and prophets of old building arks, parting seas and standing alone for right so that just one might hear. My good mother would read illustrated scripture stories to my brothers, sisters and I, and open wonders to my mind. These stories inspired me to stand on the side of right and aid the downtrodden just as my scripture heroes had exemplified in their deeds.
I received my very own Bible when I was baptized at eight years old, and when I was twelve the complete standard works of scripture. I read them, I highlighted verses with colored pencils, I studied them, and carried them with me. For that I earned the nickname “Scripto” by some less than kind older boys at church, but I wore it as a badge of honor.
I really came to study and ponder the scriptures in depth when I was a young teenager and my oldest brother Ricky had left home to serve a two year mission. Elder Malcolm would write to us weekly and share scripture references which excited me about all that could be discovered in God’s word. I decided I too would serve as did he, and I would prepare by studying the word of God.
I learned for myself through a many years process that God speaks to His children not only through prophets and prayer, but by His Spirit in the study of His word. The lyrics of a children’s song, “Search, Ponder, and Pray,” written by Jaclyn Thomas Milne, clarifies how we make ourselves especially sensitive and available to receive revelation, both personal and for those with whom we share stewardship, when we read and ponder His word.
I love to read the holy scriptures,
And, ev’ry time I do,
I feel the Spirit start to grow within my heart-
A testimony that they’re true.
Search, ponder, and pray
Are the things that I must do.
The Spirit will guide, and, deep inside,
I’ll know the scriptures are true.
So, prayerfully I’ll read the scriptures
Each day my whole life through.
I’ll come to understand.
I’ll heed the Lord’s command
And live as he would have me do.
Where would we be without revelation? For one thing, we would not have the scriptures. Adam would not have learned of the law of sacrifice that we might know and understand the great atoning purpose of the suffering of our Lord. Noah would have never built the ark and neither man nor all the creatures could have endured the great flood. The first five books of the Bible would not have been written, because Moses would have never been given his holy calling to receive and express the will of God to Pharaoh and all the House of Israel. Joseph would not have known to receive Mary and the Baby Jesus as his own. Peter would not have answered as he did when the Lord asked, “‘Whom say ye that I am?’ And Simon Peter answered and said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God’” (Matthew 16:15-16).
Of revelation that came because man studied God’s word and more was revealed I give two examples.
Would we have the knowledge of God, and all the keys of authority to bring about His kingdom in these last days if a young man had not been reading the scriptures and sought God for understanding? Young Joseph Smith read the admonition in James 1:5 of the New Testament, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” He went to a grove of trees, like Moses to the mount, and received the Lord’s word and His law for all God’s children.
Nearly 100 years later Joseph’s nephew, President Joseph F. Smith was reading and pondering the Epistle of Peter. He recorded, “I sat in my room pondering over the scriptures; And reflecting upon the great atoning sacrifice that was made by the Son of God, for the redemption of the world;… As I pondered over these things which are written, the eyes of my understanding were opened, and the Spirit of the Lord rested upon me,…” (Doctrine and Covenants 138:1-2, 11).
It was then revealed to him in vision how when the body of the crucified Savior was entombed, the Lord in spirit visited those spirits who had lived before, as recorded in 1 Peter 3:18-20 and 4:6, and organized the work for the preaching to the dead. “They were assembled awaiting the advent of the Son of God into the spirit world, to declare their redemption from the bands of death. Their sleeping dust was to be restored unto its perfect frame, bone to his bone, and the sinews and the flesh upon them, the spirit and the body to be united never again to be divided, that they might receive a fulness of joy. While this vast multitude waited and conversed, rejoicing in the hour of their deliverance from the chains of death, the Son of God appeared, declaring liberty to the captives who had been faithful; And there He preached to them the everlasting gospel, the doctrine of the resurrection and the redemption of mankind from the fall, and from individual sins on conditions of repentance” (Doctrine and Covenants 138:16-19).
Revelation, whether personal or for God’s kingdom, is to be had of man to bring understanding and hope to a world lost in earthly wisdom, but found in the Lord and by His Spirit, even unto redemption and salvation. We need only to place ourselves in positions where we are sensitive to the Lord’s Spirit, and He will instruct us from on high, to understanding of the scriptures and the light of knowledge that is available to those willing to hear. May we search the scriptures, ponder, and pray to receive the knowledge, inspiration and light of Godly understanding, for ourselves, our families, and for all to whom we provide service. As we daily feast on the words of Christ He will enlighten our minds and bless us with the joy of always knowing. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
The Compassion of God’s Great Plan of Happiness
In the Come Follow Me study for the week of November 29 there is a quote on the compassion of God’s great plan of happiness from President Henry B. Eyring. I felt it wisdom to include it here for the hope and benefit of all:
“Only a very small minority of God’s children obtain during this life a complete understanding of God’s plan, along with access to the priesthood ordinances and covenants that make the Savior’s atoning power fully operative in our lives. …”
“Some may consider this unfair. They may even take it as evidence that there is no plan, no specific requirements for salvation—feeling that a just, loving God would not create a plan that is available to such a small proportion of His children. Others might conclude that God must have determined in advance which of His children He would save and made the gospel available to them, while those who never heard the gospel simply were not ‘chosen.’”
“But you and I know, because of the truths restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith, that God’s plan is much more loving and just than that. Our Heavenly Father is anxious to gather and bless all of His family. While He knows that not all of them will choose to be gathered, His plan gives each of His children the opportunity to accept or reject His invitation” (“Gathering the Family of God,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 20–21).