This got me thinking about how we have been encouraged to become gospel scholars and familiar with the scriptures. I began to wonder just how many hours I had spent studying the scriptures in my life. I decided to try to calculate how much time I had spent.
And as I began trying to calculate, I realized how wonderful it was that I had been so consistent because it made it pretty easy to figure.
I could calculate pretty well how much time I had spent in the scriptures in Sunday school and gospel doctrine, in seminary, and summer institute classes.
I could also calculate pretty well how much time I had spent in the scriptures due to my parents holding family scripture study while I grew up, my parents sending me to EFY, my parents allowing me to go to BYU where I could take religion classes, and my husband and I reading together.
I could also calculate pretty well how much time I had spent in the scriptures on my own in daily study, in working on my book about Isaiah, and in writing my posts for this blog.
I’m not going to put the numbers up because I don’t want to provoke some kind of statistics comparison war on the Mormon blogosphere. We compare ourselves to others so much as it is. But I will tell you that it showed me that as members we will obtain a certain amount of knowledge and familiarity with the gospel simply by showing up at church and being where we are supposed to be. (Many of us acquire knowledge through teaching callings as well.) We will also acquire a certain amount of knowledge beyond that through the faithfulness of our parents and maybe even our spouses in having scripture study. But obtaining anything beyond that is completely and totally up to us.
Did you know that if you only dip into the scriptures in gospel doctrine class, in 80 years you will have gotten 4160 hours? That’s certainly a pretty good level of competence. But if you read the scriptures every day for 80 years without fail for half an hour, you will have gotten 14,600 hours! That’s more than 3 times as much practice with the potential for 3 times as many insights and more! And those two together (and nothing else) is over 18,000 hours!
It is plain to me that Heavenly Father wants us to become experts. (And not just experts, but gods and goddess.)
Here are some verses I found about the importance of studying the scriptures and what it can do for us:
And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life. (Alma 32:40)
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. (Joshua 1:8)
9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:
11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. (Titus 1:9-11)
And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived, for the Son of Man shall come, and he shall send his angels before him with the great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together the remainder of his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Joseph Smith Matthew 1:37)
Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life. (2 Nephi 31:20)