Sunday, July 20, 2014

Jump-start your scripture study

Ben Spackman has three very good posts about how note-taking is the most important, most overlooked, and most easy and most superlative tool in scripture study. 

Part 1 talks about why note-taking is so great.  

Part 2 talks about what kinds of things he takes notes on.  This is helpful for if you have never taken notes before and are not sure what to write if you start.  

From what he shares in these posts, you can tell that Ben Spackman has done an amazing job so far at learning how to learn about the scriptures. 

The thing that ultimately causes learning to occur is revelation through the Spirit, and the process that Ben Spackman talks about is the work that we can do to prepare our minds and hearts to receive what the Lord wants to give us.  It is also the way that we capture and preserve what the Lord gives us, and it helps demonstrate our gratitude and commitment to live what we’ve learned.

My note-taking on the scriptures started pretty small.  Most of my notes were written in the margins of my scriptures in tiny script.  Naturally, I had to be extremely brief.  From time to time, I would have insights that would not fit in the margins, so I decided to record them in my personal journal. 

Over the space of four or five years, the number of scripture-focused journal entries gradually increased until I realized that the personal history part of my journal was getting crowded out.  I wasn’t quite sure what to do about this.

Blogging helped relieve the pressure because I could record what I learned and share it at the same time. 

In 2010 I took a seminary pre-service class in which the teacher assigned us to read our scriptures daily and record what we learned along with our personal responses to the class reading material.  I was already reading scriptures daily, and I was intrigued by the assignment to write what I learned in one place. 

I learned that I really enjoyed it.  It was an extra step to do, but I felt I was getting even more out of my study than I had before.  I loved being able to put down my thoughts without worrying about structure or worrying if they were profound enough to share.

At that point I started using a scripture journal--separate from my personal journal-- to record thoughts and notes from my scripture study.  My methods aren’t as elaborate or technological as Ben Spackman’s, but I still can tell I’ve learned a lot.

If you haven’t tried note-taking yet, try it for a month and see what you get from it.