Thursday, November 29, 2018

Elder Neal A. Maxwell on the benefits of scripture study

Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926-2004) served as a Seventy from 1976-1981, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve until his death from cancer in 2004.
"The advantages flowing from scholarship in the scriptures include not only the truthful content and the useful insights to be gleaned and that can be brought to bear on problems of today (personal or institutional), but also the reality that the very reading of the scriptures puts us in touch with what God said to others in other days. It thereby creates an atmosphere into which new inspiration can come, if needed.
"It is all very much like a composer's being sufficiently inspired by hearing great music to create additional great music. An artist may stumble upon a scene of great beauty that sparks in his mind a painting that has never before been on canvas. Previous revelations in the scriptures are like the 'clean sea breeze of the centuries' that can be played by us, putting things in a perspective as they really are—much as a person with a few aches and pains can, by visiting a hospital, put his own physical problems in fresh and grateful perspective."
- Neal A. Maxwell, Things as they Really Are, p. 106

This statement from Elder Maxwell has always intrigued me. Clearly we learn much as we read the scriptures from the content, messages, and instructions that are recorded there. But what other intrinsic benefits do we derive from the process? Elder Maxwell suggests it creates an "atmosphere" in our lives that invites other blessings:

The comparisons with composers and painters help us to understand the suggestion Elder Maxwell is making. When we read and ponder the scriptures, seeing the inspiration and instruction God has given to man in the past, we are opening our minds and hearts to receiving the same kind of blessings and divine influence in our own lives. By focusing our thoughts and attention in that way, excluding the distractions and influences of the world, we become prepared and ready for God's influence in a much greater degree.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment

// Customization to close archive widget on first view - DK 3/15