As I have done my best to find an optimal, effective method of Gospel Study Journal, I have become aware of different ways to study. These will be listed here, along with a brief explanation of each, in case it may be of benefit to someone. Many of them consist of varying ways of marking one’s scriptures. As new methods come to my attention, I will outline them here.
A simple method, this one involves an array of different colors. Each color represents a different concept, topic, or theme. One color might represent direct quotes from Christ. Another may denote passages that relate to the Atonement. Yet another may highlight direct prophecies as spoken through a prophet. Or, they may be broken into topics such as faith, hope, charity, baptism, repentance, or diligence.
After the page is marked, a small round dot sticker is wrapped around the edge of the page. This allows for easy identification of which concepts can be found where.
This provides a visually-oriented way to know what a given passage or chapter of scripture is about merely at a glance. Many folks that I know use this method of studying the Gospel and marking their scriptures.
This method is less about color coordination and more about keeping track of thoughts and notes. Most times as we are studying the scriptures, we experience inspiration. Thoughts come to our minds and meaning comes to us through the power of the Holy Ghost. We would do well to write such things down. Knowing this, a number of those close to me prefer this type of approach.
Sometimes, to fit everything in, a whole assortment of abbreviations and symbols are used to denote greater meaning than can fit in the space available. To compensate for this, thoughts may be transferred to slips of paper that are then glued into the spine of the scriptures. This is generally done at or near the passage about which the note has been written.
This method allows us to keep track of at least the majority of thoughts and inspiration that we have had regarding the meaning of the scriptures. As we go back through them, we can review what we previously had written.
One way to study topically is to refer to the Bible Dictionary, Topical Guide, or some other reference volume (Mormon Doctrine, The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, etc.). As you do this, you research a specific topic. You are then able to find a wealth of relevant topical commentary accompanied by many scripture references applicable to the topic you are studying. You may then write down each scripture reference you find. Once this has been done, you can look up each reference.
As you read, study, and ponder each reference over and over, you strive to understand its meaning. Consider its similarities to and differences from the other passages that have been written down. It is through this comparison and contrasting of the different passages that further inspiration and understanding come to you. As new concepts come into your mind, write them down, perhaps in your Study Journal.
One of the very most important ways to study with children is by doing everything possible to have the power and influence of the Holy Ghost present as you study. Make sure to sing a hymn. Make sure to say a prayer. Then start your scripture study.
My children who are old enough read two verses when it is their turn. They then do their best to explain what they understood about what they read. My wife and I then explain to them what we understand about what we read. We may also ask our children a few questions as to why the principles mentioned are important. We may discuss how we might apply these principles in our lives.
For children who are not old enough to read, you may wish to have them repeat the words as you whisper them to the child. As appropriate, you may then ask them what they understood about what was read. If little or nothing, that is perfectly normal. An older child might assist in offering an explanation. Then, as before, my wife and I will explain a little and ask a few questions.
At first, I was not sure this process would work. However, exercising faith, we began doing it. Any time I ask my children if they would like to read the scriptures, they excitedly affirm that they would. For our family, this approach has met with much success.