“Regarding the Holy Book: read it, study it and apply its wisdom in your life.” (TMI 32:10)
Some brethren have asked, “How can I read the Holy Book and make its message real for myself?”
The genuine study and real application of the Holy Writings of our various communities is one step in learning about the faith, what is required of us individually, and how we live our lives within the covenant that we have been called.
Just reading the Scriptures alone is not enough to establish a proper footing in the knowledge of the Truth that has been revealed to us through the Living Spirit.
If we can not understand something in the Holy Writings or other texts sacred to our community, we should be willing to ask questions of those who are more mature in the faith or who have expertise on particular topics.
It is also important to study a particular text numerous times with a great deal of repetition, and if available, we should use the questions provided with the text to help us grasp a better understanding of what is being stated in the text.
When studying a text, think of how you can apply the principles or various points within it in your own life.
Take notice of certain points that are referred to. For example, when you see a list of characteristics, goals or virtues, write these down so they can be committed to memory if possible. One example of this is found in the Teaching of Mir Izgadda, 50:2, where it says, “Develop a heart of compassion, grace and loving kindness for all souls and you will begin to find true happiness and peace.” Notice that three characteristics are mentioned in this verse: 1) compassion, 2) grace and 3) loving kindness.
The act of writing these points down on paper can assist in committing them to memory, which in turn helps with applying them.
You will also notice that there are two additional points listed in the same verse. His Divine Presence says that by developing these three characteristics, one can gain 1) happiness and 2) peace. You can write these two down with the characteristic traits already mentioned. Again, this method assists in committing the special points to memory.
We are encouraged to not only read, but also study the text. In an Apostolic Letter from Mar Ammo, he spoke about the importance of studying the Holy Book and concerning the difference between reading and studying.
Mar Ammo also said, “We encourage all of our brethren to read the Holy Book of Light each day, but reading it alone is not enough. One should be familiar with the text, not only enough to be able to quote from the Book but everyone should also understand its meaning and this is where we encourage, not only reading, but also study and contemplation. Reading and studying are not one and the same … when reading our Holy Book, ask yourself how you can apply what is being read in each of the various situations you may encounter every day. Contemplate on the subject matter being referenced in the Scriptures at hand.”
(By Jonathan bar Stephen, 24 February 2015)