Saturday, March 10, 2018

Elder David A. Bednar on hearing the voice of God through scriptures

Elder David A. Bednar (born June 15, 1952) was serving as the president of BYU–Idaho when he was called and sustained as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in October 2004.
"The scriptures, in essence, are a written 'recording' of the voice of the Lord—a voice we feel in our hearts more than we hear with our ears. And as we study the content and feel the spirit of the written word of God, we learn to hear His voice in the words we read and to understand the means whereby the words are given to us by the Holy Ghost....
"Understanding and applying five basic principles can help our personal scripture study become more edifying and effective.
"Principle 1: Pray for understanding, and invite the help of the Holy Ghost. The things of the Spirit can be learned only by and through the influence of the Spirit....
"Principle 2: Work. Gospel knowledge and understanding come through diligent study of the scriptures and tutoring by the Holy Ghost....
"Principle 3: Be consistent. Given the hectic pace of our lives, good intentions and simply 'hoping' to find the time for meaningful scripture study are not sufficient....
"Principle 4: Ponder. The word ponder means to consider, contemplate, reflect upon, or think about. Pondering the scriptures, then, is reverent reflecting on the truths, experiences, and lessons contained in the standard works. The process of pondering takes time and cannot be forced, hurried, or rushed....
"Principle 5: Write down impressions, thoughts, and feelings."
- David A. Bednar, "Because We Have Them before Our Eyes," New Era, April 2006, pp. 2-7
Click here to read the full article

Elder Bednar helps us recognize the value of the scriptural record as a source of instruction from God—in truth, the voice of God speaking to us through the written word. And as we learn to listen to that record, we learn to hear His voice speaking to us:

What a great insight! It echoes the words of the Lord to Joseph Smith:
And I, Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God, have spoken it.
These words are not of men nor of man, but of me; wherefore, you shall testify they are of me and not of man;
For it is my voice which speaketh them unto you; for they are given by my Spirit unto you, and by my power you can read them one to another; and save it were by my power you could not have them;
Wherefore, you can testify that you have heard my voice, and know my words.

D&C 18:33-36
How carefully we should learn to "listen" as we study the word of God! Elder Bednar proceeds to give suggestions on how to do that more effectively. I included the highlights of his five suggestions, but the entire article is worth reviewing.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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