How to Study the Book of Mormon

This isn’t going to be a typical “how to study” post. I’m not going to be writing about color codes, gospel themes, or ways to mark your scriptures. Instead, this is a post on how to study the Book of Mormon, according to the Book of Mormon.

Moroni teaches us how to approach the scriptures:

” 3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.

4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” – Moroni 10:3-5

How to Study the Scriptires

  1. While reading the Book of Mormon, be mindful of the Lord’s mercy to all of us throughout the history of the world.
    • Pray to be mindful of the Mercy of Christ.
    • The Book of Mormon is full of illustrations of Christ’s love and mercy. Consider marking the scriptures where Christ’s mercy and love is shown or told. One scripture that comes to mind:

      ” 24 He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation.” – 2 Nephi 26:24

      Everything that Christ did was for the benefit of each of us.

    • While studying the scriptures, keep a journal and be mindful of how Christ is merciful to you. This is a great post by my cousin on how studying the scriptures has helped her see that Christ is merciful of her. Scriptures illuminate our lives, and recording these tender mercies is a great thing to do while studying the Book of Mormon.
  2. Ask God if the Book of Mormon is true.
    • In other words: PRAY!
    • We don’t have to wait until we’re finished reading the Book of Mormon to ask for a witness. We can pray for a witness every time we read.
    • This advice isn’t reserved only for those who haven’t yet read the Book of Mormon or received a witness of it’s truth. Even if we’ve read it before, and even if we know it’s true, we can still pray that the Lord will give us a witness of its truth.
  3. Have a sincere heart and real intent
    • When we pray and read the scriptures – give an honest effort. If we are reading to look for problems, we will not receive a witness. Our scripture study will be ineffective. We will not receive the guidance we desire each day.
    • If we pray with real intent, the Lord will soften our hearts – making them fertile for faith. Nephi exemplifies this concept:

      ” 16 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.” – 1 Nephi 2:16

      Nephi started only with desire – a real intent. The Lord softened his heart, and then Nephi’s faith grew.

    • If we approach our scripture study with a sincere heart and real intent, then the Lord will soften our hearts and help us to improve. He will cause the scriptures to be guide us, correct us, comfort us. Our scripture study will be effective only when we approach them genuinely.
  4. Have faith in Christ
    • Faith in Christ is necessary in studying the book of Mormon. Without faith in Christ, then the Book of Mormon is a waste of time.
    • Consider developing a stronger faith in Christ by studying what the Book of Mormon teaches about Christ.
    • While you read the scriptures, have faith that Christ, through the Holy Ghost, will illuminate your path. Have faith that the scriptures will become clearer to you.
  5. The truth of the Book of Mormon will be manifest by the Holy Ghost.
    • Live worthy of the Spirit.
    • when you receive manifestations by the Holy Ghost, record them.
    • You can have manifestations by the Holy Ghost every single time you read the scriptures. Strive for this to be your goal.

One final note:
The Holy Ghost bears witness of the truth and is connected with the scriptures. Nephi explains, ” 3 Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.” – 2 Nephi 32:3

When we fill our lives with the words of Christ, we fill our lives with the influence and power of His Spirit. As we study the scriptures, we will be prompted on what to do. This is what scripture study is all about.

As much as I love reading the scriptures and studying them – I love marking, I love looking for little elements like themes, similes, or symbols. The point of studying the scriptures is to have them be a conduit of Heavenly Father’s spirit in our lives. Moroni gives us the best pattern for scripture study. So, try it out! Don’t you love the Book of Mormon?!

***
If you would like additional scripture study tips, check out my free eBook: Getting More from the Scriptures: Techniques and Projects for Effective Scripture Study.

For more on how to study the Book of Mormon, check out this article by Elder Christofferson. If you would like to study the Book of Mormon, but don’t have one, access it online here or order a free one here. Check out some more blog posts about the Book of Mormon over at the Book of Mormon Forum.

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5 Comments

  1. I love this post. When I was a teenager I was so good at the marking and memorizing and all the trappings of proper scripture study, but I was missing the points you just laid out, and so my testimony wasn’t strengthened by my efforts.

    Later when I truly did the last four things you are listing here my testimony grew so quickly.

    I think your first point is a very interesting one to keep in mind during my study, and the rest of them would make a great FHE lesson about the Book of Mormon for my inactive brother in law.

    Reply
    • It is easy to get caught up on marking, highlighting, color coding, etc. And those can be really great. But I agree with you – our testimony grows when we invite the Spirit. Let me know how the FHE lesson goes!

      Reply
  2. Excellent insights, thanks.

    Reply
  3. littlejerry

     /  July 20, 2014

    Great advice, I will absolutely give it a shot. One suggestion though, you mentioned that if you do not have faith in christ, it is a waste of time to read the BOM. Remember what Moroni says on on of the title pages “[for]…the convincing of the jew and gentile that Jesus is the christ, the eternal god” one purpose of it is to instill a faith of the savior for those who don’t have a faith..yet.

    Reply
    • Thanks. I agree. I probably didn’t really explain how I feel very well.

      I guess I think that if we read the Book of Mormon looking for fault, then it is increasingly difficult to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon. If we pray, but we doubt Christ in the first place when we’re praying (without asking “help thou mine unbelief.”), then we probably won’t receive any answer.

      I think it is a fine line. I’m convinced that faith is difficult to develop for most people. Jesus taught that if we had faith the size of a mustard seed, then we’d move mountains. Originally, I thought “that’s the power of faith.” My understanding, over time, has also started to include the thought that perhaps it is also difficult to cultivate faith.

      I know that when I’m trusting God and having faith in Christ, my testimony grows. It isn’t until a trial of faith that we receive witness.

      So – I mean to say, we need to either believe or at least want to believe. However, if we come to the Book of Mormon (or the Lord, for that matter), in a rebellious attitude, then I don’t think that we’ll be able to find a testimony at all.

      Reply

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