Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Seminary Study Skills

   At the beginning of each year I review what I wish my students could learn about studying the scriptures. Here are some things I wish for every year:

  • I wish they could pick up their scriptures and easily find verses that inspire them
  • I wish they knew how to follow a chain of scriptures to find answers to their questions
  • I wish they loved the Topical Guide
  • I wish they read all the footnotes
"Our students cannot know of God, and so love as they must love, unless they are taught by the Holy Spirit. Only by the Spirit can they know that God loved us enough to send His Son to be the propitiation for our sins and that Jesus is the Son of God and that Christ paid the price of their sins. Only by the Spirit can they know that Heavenly Father and His resurrected and glorified Son appeared to Joseph Smith. Only by the Spirit can they know that the Book of Mormon is the true word of God. And only by inspiration can they feel the love of the Father and the Son for them in giving us the
ordinances necessary to receive eternal life. Only by obtaining those witnesses, placed deep into their hearts by the Holy Ghost, will they be rooted on a sure foundation to stand steady through the
temptations and trials of their lives” (“To Know and to Love God” [an evening with President Henry B. Eyring, Feb. 26, 2010], 2). 

Mark and annotate. One of the most helpful ways for teachers and students to capture and retain the things they learn is by marking and annotating the scriptures. To mark means to designate, distinguish, set apart, or bring attention to. This can be done by underlining, shading, or outlining key words or passages in the scriptures. To annotate means to add explanatory notes or commentary. Examples of scriptural annotations could include writing personal impressions, prophetic commentary, cross-references, word definitions, or insights gained from the comments of class members in the margins next to specific scripture passages.
Scripture marking and annotating can help students and teachers to:
• Make important words, phrases, ideas, truths, people, and events easier to remember and find.
• Clarify and discover meaning in the scriptural text.
• Preserve personal insights gained and those received from others.
• Prepare to teach the gospel to others.
Teachers can encourage students to mark their scriptures by saying something like, “As you search these verses, I invite you to mark a key principle that you discover,” or “Here is an important cross-reference. You may want to write this in the margin of your scriptures.” It is better to teach, illustrate, and practice the basic elements of scripture marking throughout the year than to teach a particular marking system. 

These quotes from "Gospel Teaching and Learning" are guiding my first lessons of the new year.
To bridge the gap between the Old Testament and the New Testament we will go on a scriptural expedition. From Malachi 3:1,

to asking these three questions; Who is the messenger? Who sent the messenger? What is the message? The topical guide answers the first question. Reading through the list of scriptures we find that John 6:57 tells us the answer to the second question.

    The message, according to these verses, seems to be about the covenant God makes with his children.

   One really big theme I see in the words of Jesus Christ is his pointing us to Heavenly Father and the covenant He is willing to make with the House of Israel.

   This search and answering these questions brings me a magnified feeling about what my Heavenly Father has for me and leads me into reviewing the Plan of Salvation.

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