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The Student Study guide is full of great definitions for scripture terms and symbols. When you hit a difficult passage, look at the student guide for help. If that doesn't work, keep a good dictionary nearby that gives the root meaning of words as well as definitions that you can understand. See what this does by looking up words--even common words--and see how the definitions give deeper meaning to the scriptures. You might even replace the word and see how it deepens the meaning of the scriptures.

Look For: Look for words that you think are important or don't understand and then look them up in the dictionary.

Example: 1 Nephi 11:22. This verse talks about the fruit of the Tree of Life representing love of God which "sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men." This is an interesting way to describe God's love. In a dictionary I have (Merriam Webster Desk Dictionary), there are four definitions and each gives added light to the way God's light is shed for us. The first and second definitions refer to the shedding of blood and remind us of Christ's atonement and the blood that he spilled for us. The third definition refers to the shedding light on something, which also reminds us of how the Love of God gives us insight and intelligence. Finally the fourth definition refers to the shedding of clothes, for example. And though this definition seems unrelated to the verse, we can think that as we shed our sins--our bad habits--and clothe ourselves in the covering of the atonement, the Love of God becomes more apparent for us. Some people think that when they are in sin that God does not love them anymore. But when they repent--shed their sins--they realize how much God really does love them.

(Adapted from Panning for Gold: Various Methods to Understand and Apply the Scriptures to Ourselves by Eric Bacon, Northwest Area Seminaries)

December 31, 2012
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