Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Scripture Feasting Tool #2 - Principles

Did you know that "the scriptures have been written to preserve principles"? 
(President Marion G. Romney, CES Symposium, Aug. 17, 1979).

What is a principle? A truth you can use. 

Here is Elder Richard G. Scott's definition. "Principles are concentrated truth, packaged for application to a wide variety of circumstances. A true principle makes decisions clear even under the most confusing and compelling circumstances. It is worth great effort to organize the truth we gather to simple statements of principle.” (Ensign, Nov. 1993) 

Let's use Alma 57:21 as an example.

 "Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them."

  • Here is a wonderful truth from this verse but its not put in a way that you can easily use: "Obedience."
  • Here is a truth you can use written as a principle: "Obeying with exactness brings blessings."
  • To make principles even easier to find and use, try writing them in your own words as an "if...then" cause-and-effect statement. "If I obey with exactness, God will bless me." 
Here's one more example in 1 Nephi 1:12.

"And it came to pass that as [Lehi] read, he was filled with the Spirit of the Lord." 
  • Here is a principle from the verse that is written as an "if..then.." cause-and-effect statement in my own words. "If I study the scriptures, I will be filled with the Spirit." 
President Ezra Taft Benson said, “One of the most important things you can do...is to immerse yourselves in the scriptures. Search them diligently. Feast upon the words of Christ. Learn the doctrine. Master the principles.” (Ensign, Nov. 1986, emphasis added)

Here are three tips to help you find, internalize, and apply principles. 
  • Look for cause-and-effect verses or stories that you can pull out a truth you can use, writing it like this, "If I... then I..."
  • Asking these questions can also help you find principles: “What is the author trying to teach?” "What is a life lesson I can use here?" "What does God want me to do?" 
  • Rewrite principles in your own words in a way that applies to you in in the margin next to the verse. Or in a scripture journal. 

On  page 2 of my Book of Mormon I found this principle: "Scripture feasting fills us with the Spirit."  I wrote that before I learned the "if...then..." statement concept. Now I could write it like this: "If I feast on the scriptures I will be filled with the Spirit," or "When I feast on the scriptures then I am filled with the Spirit."

Want more? Click here for some quotes about the importance of finding principles in the scriptures. 

Feel free to share a principle from your current scripture study in a comment below! 

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1 comment:

Becky Edwards said...

Here are a few principles I found in my reading today with a 90 day Book of Mormon challenge I'm doing this summer:

1. If I keep the commandments, I am "blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual..." (Mosiah 2:41)

2. If I serve and share with others, I will retain a remission of my sins. I need that! (Mosiah 4:26)

3. If I follow the Spirit, push away natural man temptations, use Christ's Atonement, and become submissive and loving like a small child, I will become a saint. (Mosiah 3:19)

4. If I have faith and use the Atonement to receive forgiveness and a purified heart, I will be filled with the Spirit, joy, and peace. (Mosiah 3:2-3)

5. If I remember that I'm nothing without God, and call his name daily, standing fast in faith then will receive these gifts:
- rejoicing
- filled with with God's love
- retaining a remission of my sins
- grow in knowledge of God's glory
- a changed heart
- a natural desire to live peaceably and not to hurt others
- a desire to be honest
- ability to feed, clothe, and teach my children
- ability to help my children not fight and quarrel, rather teaching them to walk in truth, loving and serving each other
- ability and desire to succor those in need and share with others