By Hollie Ogden
“I read a verse, and it was exactly what I needed.”
How many times have you heard that?
Members of the church, through their diligent and repetitive study of the scriptures, seem to find “something new every time.” Different themes or ideas will stick out each time they read through. Or, they will feel God speaking directly to them. I’ve heard often from Young Women leaders and Sunday school teachers how a passage seemed to come out of nowhere, and it seemed as though they’ve never read it before.
I wanted this as I read.
I wanted that neat spiritual moment where I’m stuck in a challenging situation, I pull out the scriptures to a random spot or where I happened to be reading that day, and find something that Nephi or Mormon had written just for me.
I wanted exact words tailored anciently by God for me.
You have probably wanted that, too. You also may have experienced that.
As I read the scriptures in my youth, I became so fixed on this idea of reading in the right place. In retrospect, I realize I was obsessively worried about it. I worried that if I wasn’t reading exactly where I should be that I wouldn’t be getting the exact spiritual nutrients that I would need for the day, week, etc. And heading into the Come, Follow Me program almost two years ago brought this obsession to a head. For some reason, the thought of being on a fixed schedule had me thinking and rethinking my scripture study and my methods and questioning whether I would be getting what I needed when I needed it if I was on a fixed schedule with the rest of the world. I was mortified.
But as I’ve kept to the prescribed schedule and had scripture ventures of my own, I realized there is something much more important than finding exact words. There’s something more meaningful to glean from the scriptures than God speaking expressly through the ink.
And there is something new to be found every time you read! The Holy Spirit whispers different, personalized messages every time we study. The scriptures are inspired, and I am not discrediting the experiences of others finding their answers in exact, explicit words. But, I would submit to you that there is something far greater, far more substantial at work to satisfy the soul “hungering and thirsting after righteousness” (Matthew 5:6).
Our souls are satisfied because the scriptures bring us directly to the source of true spiritual satiety. The Lord Jesus Christ is the filler, Healer, and shelter for our souls. Wholly, completely, and beautifully.
He Himself has stated that His words and His gospel are “in the Bible and the Book of Mormon” (Doctrine & Covenants 42:12). Like those faithful disciples in Capernaum lowering their friend through the roof to get his broken form to the Healer, the scriptures are a vessel that brings knowledge of Him and His healing power within reach for us. The scriptures show Christ’s atoning power working in real-time, on real people, in real situations. It shows people who have descended to lows beyond what we might think we can face, and forgiveness being granted to the vilest of sinners.
In the Savior’s ministry to the Nephites, He administers the sacrament to them numerous times. Each account describes how the congregation was “filled” (ex. 3 Nephi 18:9, 20:9). In the same way, the scriptures are a daily bread that represents the literal words of Christ. They fill our souls because they bring us to Him.
So, it doesn’t matter as much as I thought as a youth where I’m reading in the scriptures. It doesn’t matter if I read chronologically, topically, randomly, or the same chapter over and over for weeks. Especially in the Book of Mormon, Jesus can be found on every page, in every metaphor, in every story.
The scriptures bring us exactly what we needed to hear because He is exactly what we need. Every day, every circumstance, for every person, every time.
Seek deeply for Him in your studies, and you will be edified in a way previously unknown to you.
Additional readings: 1 Nephi 15:23-24; 2 Nephi 32:3; Jacob 7:11; Alma 33:14; Helaman 3:29; 3 Nephi 28:34; “The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life Be Like without it?” Russell M. Nelson, October 2017