Scripture means different things to different bodies of people. When a new convert begins to study they often lean on the understanding of others to make sense of new ideas and what the Lord wants them to know. But can someone “be ever studying and never come to a knowledge of the truth?”
The purpose of scripture is not to provide answers, but to help in formulating questions so you can receive personal revelation. No single person should be the final word.
A prophet preaches repentance, a seer describes what they see, and a revelator brings new information the Lord wants His people to know. We must ask the questions ourselves, independent of any mortal being.
If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal. (D&C 42:61)
This is very needed, today and right now, especially with the remnant movement.
It’s true…the questions we have do reveal much about ourselves and our relationship to the Savior. Great message.
I see a lot of symbolism with the temple. The prophets and messengers teach and prepare us to converse with the Lord. They give us lots of truth, inspiration, and guidance but some things are left for only the Lord to reveal.
We see this with Mormon’s account of the Savior’s appearance to the Nephites. Mormon (the Prophet) says that he has given us the lesser things, and he wants to write more but is forbidden. He tells us we receive the greater things after believing in the lesser things and by going to the Lord. (3 Nephi 26)
I believe that there are some things that are only to be learned by conversing directly with the Lord. It is by having these initial conversations through the veil that eventually the veil is parted and we are brought into his presence.
That’s why I think some people are having a difficult time right now when they want to receive more “Thus saith the Lord…”-type revelations from the Leaders of the Church. Our Prophets, Seers, and Revelators are meant to bring us unto the veil, but then it’s on us to truly seek the Lord and converse with him. We aren’t supposed to always lean on them because the Lord wants a “generation of priests.” I think some people would rather be like the Israelites who told Moses, “You go and speak with the Lord and tell us what he said and we’ll stay right here.”
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There are some that argue that the scriptures are absolutely meant to provide answers. I used to think that too until I realized that interpretation is rarely concrete. Everyone has an opinion. What matters is God’s opinion, and I constantly ask Him to reveal it to me.
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I think that I am often guilty of “ever studying.” Not just in the scriptures, but in historical records, journals, apocryphal records, conference talks, the Dead Sea scrolls, the Nag-Hammed scrolls, internet forums, the early Christian fathers, apologetics, Hugh Nibley, the Joseph Smith Papers, etc.
All of these have been incredibly valuable and insightful. Occasionally as I’ve been studying, your blog comes to mind. There are many posts you’ve made that throw further illumination on the written record.
Sometimes it feels easier to just go to the written record because then there is something that I can easily read, defend, source, and show to other people when they question where I am getting certain ideas.
How would you recommend balancing seeking revelation and studying the written word? I know that many of your posts have dealt with prayer, having faith, receiving revelation, and seeking the Lord. When you started out, did you struggle to find a balance? Were there any processes you used to effectively balance between studying the written word and seeking revelation?
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I have read just about everything. I don’t as much now, unless I need to keep up with the conversation among friends. The key is to not take anything you read as absolute, especially commentary books. I remember about a year ago the Lord told me to study Isaiah. I went and got 5 or 6 books on the topic and was ready to begin digging in. The Lord kindly stopped me and said, “Read all the Isaiah references in the Book of Mormon and write the translation verse by verse. Let me guide you.” That was a scary prospect, but I did as I was commanded and within one day I had translated all the BofM Isaiah passages into the spiritual intent they were given. It was the most enlightening experience of study I ever had. My purpose for this post was to emphasize that study is good, scriptures are great, but revelation is paramount and where true knowledge is gained.
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Was that the Definition of Words in Isaiah post?
No, those are just the definitions. There is an entire translation like the Book of Revelation, but I was instructed to take it down for now.
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