Note: This post was originally published on April 16, 2010. I'm reposting it this week because I am on vacation! And because it was an awesome post from the very beginning days of this blog, and deserves to be republished!
Little children love to ask questions.
Why? What is that? What are you doing?
A constant stream of inquiry comes from their precious lips, and behind that is a genuine interest and need to know.
My freshman year of college, my religion teacher taught us to ask questions as we read the scriptures. Each day before class we were supposed to write a one page paper on our reading assignment for that day. Our teacher never gave us guidelines on margins or font sizes. It was simply to be one page. There was one requirement though – that we ask, and answer, a question about the reading.
That semester was probably some of the most productive scripture study of my life. I felt myself digging into the scriptures, asking questions, wanting to know more – and most important were the answers that I received to those questions.
“Ask and ye shall receive; knock and it shall be opened unto you…”
I haven’t been asking questions lately in my reading, but tonight, as I was studying Alma chapter 7, where Alma is teaching of the prophesies of Christ, and the events that will be His life, I found myself in a dialogue with the scriptures.
“And he will take upon him death…”
Why? My three year old knows this simple truth – that Jesus died for us. What does it meant that He died “for us”?
“…that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people;…”
Jesus died so that we can live again. His death was so significant because He had to die to be resurrected. He had to die so that He could live, and if He can live again, so can we. Thus, the bands of death are loosed.
“…he will take upon him their infirmities…”
Why? Why would He, in His glorious perfection, take up our burdens, our feelings of grief and pain and guilt because of our weaknesses?
“…that his bowels may be filled with mercy…that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” (Alma 7:12)
So Jesus suffered for us so that He could know how to LOVE us better! Do I think of suffering for others in this way? When I take upon myself the burdens of others (as I covenanted to do at baptism) do I learn “how to succor” those people? Is that what I am learning? Do I complain about the pain, or do I rejoice in my increased ability to LOVE others?
I feel increased in my gospel understanding. I feel renewed in my commitment to live the gospel and be more Christ-like.
When I engage in dialogue with the scriptures, instead of simply reading, I feel as if God’s word has distilled “upon [my] soul as the dews from heaven.” (D&C 121:45)
Do you ask questions when you read the scriptures? Do you feel like you find the answers? Have you ever felt like you had a dialogue with the words in the scriptures?