One of the most effective thing to do while studying the scirptures is to read them actively. I’ve thought a lot about how to do this. It seems like some people are able to read something, finish, and realize that they have no idea what they just read. I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve never had that problem.
I think that the thing is, while reading, you need to be observant. Sometimes, it is easier to observe when you are asking yourself questions. This is when it becomes active reading. This is how you learn to read between the lines.
Of course, this is kind of tricky – in that I don’t literally ask myself questions while I read. At least, not any more. However, when I first was learning how to read the scriptures, I did take more time to find answers to both obvious and less obvious questions. Over time, this thought process has become a habit. I hope it helps.
Three Types of Questions
In general, there are three types of questions:
- Search These will help you get the facts of the scriptures that you are reading. Sometimes they seem kind of “dumb”, but they are actually very useful.
- Analyze These questions will help you synthesize the facts of the scriptures. You will begin to make meaning.
- Apply These questions will help you to apply the scriptures to your own life.
In order to learn how to apply these to scripture reading, I’ll include an example of how it might work.
“I AM the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” – John 15:1-8
- Who is the vine? (see vs. 1) – Search
- What happens to the branch that doesn’t bear fruit? (see vs. 2) Search
- What happens to the branch that does bear fruit and why? (vs. 2) – search
- Why does the Lord want to bring forth good fruit? (based on vs. 1-2) Analyze
- Where does the Lord instruct us to Abide? (vs 4) – search
- Why do you think it is important for the branch to abide in the true vine? (vs 4) – analyze
- Christ again mentions that He is the vine. What does he tell us that we are? (vs 5) – search
- Obviously, this is a symbol. Christ is not literally a vine. We are not literally branches. Why do you think that He is making this relationship? What are we supposed to be learning from the illustration of a vine and branches? – analyze
- What can we do without Christ? – apply
- Through verses 5-7 Christ invites us to abide in Him. He also tells us the consequence of each choice. What is the consequence of NOT abiding in Christ? (vs. 5-6). What is the consequence of abiding in Christ? (vs 7) – search
- Why do you think that Christ is doing so much to illustrate the consequences of our decision to abide in Him? – analyze
- What does it mean to actually Abide in Christ? – analyze
- What can I specifically do (better) in my life to Abide in Christ? – apply
- When we abide in Christ, and remember that Christ is the true vine, we then begin to bear good fruit. In verse 8, it tells how Heavenly Father feels about good fruit. What does it say? (vs 8) – search
- Those who choose to abide in Christ, and bear good fruit are considered His disciples. What does it mean to you to be a good disciple of Christ?
- How does it make you feel to know that Heavenly Father is glorified when you bear good fruit? – apply
Jesus Christ is the True Vine.
The branch that doesn’t bear fruit is taken away.
It is purged – so that it can bear more fruit.
I suppose that he wants to bring forth good fruit because that’s the whole point of the vine. It is frustrating to have a plant/vine that doesn’t fulfill it’s purpose.
He wants us to abide in Him, the true vine.
If we don’t abide in Him, then we won’t bring forth good fruit. Also, if the branch is separated, it will probably die.
We are the branches.
I suppose that this symbol – a vine and its branches – helps us to realize how we are totally dependent on Christ for life. Without him, we die. It is also teaching us that we need to be fruitful, or productive. Otherwise, we are cut off.
Nothing. Without Him, there is no life. He created me. He has atoned for my sins. I need Him.
If we don’t abide in Christ, then we are withered, removed from the vine, and gathered up to be put in the Fire. However, if we abide in Christ, then we will ask what we will, and it will be done. (Also, we won’t be burned!)
I think that He is trying to teach us these consequences in a way we understand because they are truly the consequences that we will receive if we don’t turn to Him. If we refuse Christ, then we will succumb to Satan – and Spiritual Death. It is Christ who offers us life. He wants us to Live. He is willing to support us. But we must be willing to abide in Him. It cannot happen any other way. The branches of the vine cannot live without the true vine. It is a simple fact.
I’d say that it means we take on His name through baptism, keep the commandments, pray often, and seek to come closer to Him through the scriptures.
There are always ways that I can improve. I think that personally, I can make sure my prayers are better. I can also be better at serving others.
The good fruit glorifies Heavenly Father.
To me, it means that I try to live like Christ. I try to help and support others. I try to keep all of the commandments. I try to keep the Love of Christ in my heart – and let it motivate me to do good.
I’m so happy to know that I glorify the Lord when I bear good fruit. I’m happy because I know that my Heavenly Father Loves me. I often wonder how I can truly show gratitude to His mercy. I’ve been a beneficiary of His love for my whole life – often when I haven’t deserved it. Yet he has not held back his Love for me. So, I’m happy to know that there is a way I can please Heavenly Father. This truly motivates me to be a better person.
Questions! I hope that this example has helped. Try asking yourself more questions while you study. These questions are also especially helpful when teaching a class.
Thanks for taking the time to read! Do you have any additional insights? Please share if you do.
If you would like more scripture study tips, then you can check out my free eBook here.