There is power in the scriptures. Releasing that power into your life can be tricky. We have all read the scriptures, and we are probably all guilty of “reading” the scriptures, but with no discernible change in our life or thinking afterward. The trick becomes learning how to read the scriptures so that their power changes us and helps us become the kind of people we want to become. When you read your scriptures, do so with the intent to unlock their power in your life. This is part of seeking and knocking.
Where do they come from?
Scriptures are the writings of the prophets. They include historical narratives as they tell us about the behavior of the people of their day. Each book of scripture has its own unique history as to how the Lord brought it about. The Doctrine and Covenants, for example, is largely a record of Joseph Smith’s revelations having to do with the restoration of the gospel in the last days. Many of the revelations are answers to questions about which Joseph took to the Lord seeking clarification or information.
In this article we’ll look at how we got the Book of Mormon then talk about scriptures in general and how you can begin to unlock more power when you study the scriptures.
Nephi was commanded to keep a record of the Lord’s dealings with his family in 1 Nephi 9:3 – 6.
3 Nevertheless, I have received a commandment of the Lord that I should make these plates, for the special purpose that there should be an account engraven of the ministry of my people.
4 Upon the other plates should be engraven an account of the reign of the kings, and the wars and contentions of my people; wherefore these plates are for the more part of the ministry; and the other plates are for the more part of the reign of the kings and the wars and contentions of my people.
5 Wherefore, the Lord hath commanded me to make these plates for a wise purpose in him, which purpose I know not.
6 But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words. And thus it is. Amen.
Here are the main points of these verses:
- The Lord wanted an account written of the ministry of Nephi’s people
- A separate account was kept of their wars, contentions, and the reign of their kings
- Nephi admitted that he had no idea at that time why the Lord wanted these records made, but he knew that the Lord always has His reasons for what he does, and that since He knows the end from the beginning he prepares a way ahead of time so He can always accomplish His work
In the case of the Book of Mormon, the Lord had every generation for a thousand years keep records so that when the Nephite people finally rejected their God completely, His prophet Mormon could take the records kept by all the prophets and compile a special record of their people. This was not just a historical compilation that anyone could write.
We don’t know how much Mormon was shown of us who live in the last days of the world. In the Words of Mormon 1:6 – 7 Mormon admits that much of what he is doing is just following the promptings of the Spirit, trusting that God knows all things.
6 But behold, I shall take these plates, which contain these prophesyings and revelations, and put them with the remainder of my record, for they are choice unto me; and I know they will be choice unto my brethren.
7 And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will.
In Mormon 5:8 – 24 Mormon gives us a better idea of how much he knew about our day. How much he knew would affect what accounts from his own history he would want to include in his record. Here is a brief list of what he states in these verses he knows about our day:
- He knows that all the wickedness of his people will eventually be revealed from the housetops.
- This knowledge will come to both the gentiles and the remnant of his people. He knows that the gentiles will consider his descendants “as naught” and will scatter them.
- He writes specifically to those of his descendants, as well as to those gentiles who have a knowledge of the Lord in the last days, those who “know from whence their blessings come.”
- These important writings will, by commandment, be hid up unto the Lord until the Lord brings them forth in his own due time unto remnants of the Nephites and Lamanites.
- The reason for these things Mormon has recorded is to convince the Jews that Jesus is the Christ, “And also that the seed of this people may more fully believe his gospel, which shall go forth unto them from the Gentiles.”
- Because of their wickedness, the remnant of his people would have their blessings held in reserve for a while. Those blessings would be given to the gentiles who would inherit the land then drive and scatter the remnant of his people. But when the Lord remembers His covenants with Israel he will bring the gospel to them and restore them to the lands of their inheritance.
Mormon chose from his own history those lessons that would protect us, guide us, and give us the insights and strength we need to survive in today’s world. He had a pretty clear picture of the Lord’s plan for His people in the last days. When he compiled the record we call the Book of Mormon, he was directed by the Spirit to include such things as would fulfill the purposes of the Lord for His people in the last days.
Why is there power in the scriptures?
God’s power is not in his physical strength, but in the words which he speaks. By the power of his word are the planets created and held in their orbits. By his word are the laws made that govern all things. That is why his word is considered to be like a two-edged sword that cuts both ways, meaning it is very powerful.
What are scriptures but the dealings of God with his children? The scriptures give us the stories that describe how the Lord teaches, punishes, and loves us from generation to generation. The prophets write what they are prompted to say by the Spirit, and that becomes scripture. When we read the word of God we have access to His power in our lives. His words carry his power.
Robert D. Hales said in October 2006 General Conference the following:
The holy scriptures are the word of God given to us for our salvation. The scriptures are essential in receiving a testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel. The scriptures given to us by God in these latter days are the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. These sacred records bear testimony of the Savior and lead us to Him.
The scriptures have the power to save us because they teach us how to be saved. They outline the doctrines of salvation, like baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. No one book of scripture has all there is to say on the subject of salvation. We must study all of them to get the full picture. The Lord has reserved specific pieces of the salvation puzzle to be revealed by specific prophets. These prophets were foreordained in the premortal life to do this work.
Many prophets have seen the end of the world and the millennial reign of Christ, but only John the Beloved in the New Testament was allowed to write about it openly. No matter how much good information is to be found in the Pearl of Great Price, the Old Testament, the Book of Mormon, or the Doctrine and Covenants, we have to turn to the New Testament to find the writings of John. So there is not only the power in the word of God, but each book of scripture holds special parts of that power. All of them need to be studied to get the full benefit.
President Ezra Taft Benson said, “There is a power in [the Book of Mormon] which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book.” There is truth, and hence power in every book of scripture, but we have been told that the Book of Mormon is the most correct book on earth.
What do the prophets tell us?
Do the scriptures alone tell us all we need to know about how to live our lives? No, they do not. In 2 Nephi 32:3 we are told:
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.
We normally think of the words of Christ as the scriptures, but His words are also contained in the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Between a study of the written word, and listening to the prompting from the Spirit, we will be able to stay on the strait and narrow path that leads us back to God.
Because the Lord speaks in symbols, comparing one thing to another, we cannot fully understand the scriptures just with a cursory reading. The scriptures take study and pondering. We must contemplate their meaning and how they relate to each other. We need to try to figure out how the verses we are reading today can apply to how we are feeling and behaving today. This is what likening the scriptures to ourselves is all about. This is the pattern for releasing the power contained in the scriptures.
Until we try to use the scriptures to change into something better today than we were yesterday, the scriptures will just be words and stories. As we read the scriptures, it is that desire to change, and our seeking the Spirit to affect that change, that opens our mind’s eye to the spiritual insights contained within the scriptures.