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Tomorrow is Day 1! I know some people have already started...which is great! Here are some things to consider today as you make a plan and prepare for the month ahead:
Remember--this challenge is about reading. It's about reading...and understanding. It's about reading and understanding...and feeling the Spirit--every day. It's about growth. It's about blessings. It's about setting good habits. It's about testimony and faith and obedience. You don't have to answer any questions (although you should find answers to your questions). You're not graded or scored or ranked. There is no pressure, just opportunity. Opportunity for blessings and strength and knowledge--and much more. Much more.
From David B. Marsh, "Getting the Most out of Your Scripture Study:"
"The Savior and His servants have encouraged us to read, seek, search, ponder, study, feast upon, and treasure up His words (see Isaiah 34:16; John 5:39; 2 Nephi 31:20; 3 Nephi 17:3; and D&C 11:22). The number and variety of invitations suggest that there are different ways to study the scriptures. My own experience confirms this. Sometimes I like to read from cover to cover. At other times I search for answers to personal questions or challenges... One thing is certain: there is no one right way to study the scriptures.
While there is no one right way to study the scriptures, there are certain skills that can help us get the most out of our scripture study. Like a cook who uses specific skills to prepare delicious meals, so an able student of the scriptures uses specific study skills to prepare delicious scriptural feasts to feed the soul. The more we master these skills, the more satisfying our scripture study will become."
Unfortunately, the skills he is referring to here are not listed in the article. But...here are some things to consider:
Pick a time to read each day. You may not be able to read at the same time each day, but make a plan, set aside time every day--write it in your planner and be specific, like scheduling a doctor's appointment.
Pick a good place to read. Find a spot where you are comfortable (but not so comfortable that you fall asleep!) and where you can feel the spirit. For me this means a quiet, clean room with lots of light. I love to read in a comfy chair by a window.
Keep it simple. If you want to take notes, take notes. If you want to highlight or journal or cross reference, do it! But...keep in mind your goal. The shared goal here is to read the whole Book of Mormon in thirty days. However, we all have individual motivations and purposes for doing this challenge. Make sure that your daily reading practices enable you to meet your goal--not prevent you from finishing. My friend Rachel wrote about exactly that...here.
Start with a prayer. Invite the Spirit to enhance your learning, to open your mind and infuse your memory with the things you need to understand and remember.
Ask questions. You will find answers. Begin your reading each day with one specific question in mind. You may not find the answer right away, but it will give your thoughts direction and help you focus on what you are reading...because you will be looking for the answer. Whenever I do this, I am amazed at what I find. It always increases my testimony of just how much Heavenly Father is aware of me and my needs and how divinely inspired the words in the scriptures truly are.
What suggestions do you have for more effective scripture study?