Friday, July 29, 2016

Bruce R. McConkie on the blessing of studying the scriptures

Elder Bruce R. McConkie (July 29, 1915 - April 19, 1985) served as a Seventy from 1946-1972 when he was called to the Quorum of Twelve.  He served in that assignment until his death from cancer at age 69.
"It is far better for us to gain our answers from the scriptures than from something someone else says about them. It is true that we oftentimes need an inspired interpreter to help us understand what apostles and prophets have written for us in the Standard Works. But it is also true that many explanations given by many people as to the meaning of scriptural passages are somewhat less than true and edifying.
"We are in a far better position if we are able to drink directly from the scriptural fountain without having the water muddied by others whose insights are not as great as were those of the prophetic writers who first penned the passages found in the accepted canon of holy writ. I am not rejecting proper scriptural commentaries; I know and appreciate their value and have written volumes of them myself; I am simply saying that people with the ability to do it would be far better off to create their own commentaries. There is something sacred and solemn and saving about studying the scriptures themselves. We should train ourselves in this direction."
- Bruce R. McConkie, "Letter to Honest Truth Seekers," 1 July 1980; see Horne, Bruce R. McConkie, pp. 143-4
Click here to read the complete talk

This is interesting counsel from one who was considered one of the great scriptorians of our dispensation, and one who produced as much scriptural commentary as any other Church leader in recent years. While an "inspired interpreter" has a place now and then, the challenge is knowing that the interpreter is reliable, since many are "less than true and edifying."

So then Elder McConkie offers the challenge: we should each write our own scriptural commentary! Our study of the scriptures should lead to insights and applications that we can document to our benefit, helping increase our knowledge and retain insights. A "scripture study journal" can become such a personal commentary. It's a challenge worthy of consideration.

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