New FARMS Book Offers Scripture Study Tips
A profound love for the scriptures has led James E. Faulconer, dean of General Education and Honors and professor of philosophy at Brigham Young University, to assemble the scripture study plan set forth in his book Scripture Study: Tools and Suggestions, recently published by FARMS. In this book Faulconer shares the study techniques he has refined through personal study and developed during his many years of teaching the scriptures to students at BYU.
This study aid offers pointers that will familiarize beginning students of the scriptures with the many resources available to them, as well as help more experienced students improve the overall effectiveness of their scripture study.
In the introductory chapter, Faulconer discusses how our scripture study relates to the medieval alchemist's motto: "Read, read, read, work, pray, and reread." He notes, "Though it did not help the alchemists turn lead into gold, it may help us turn leaden scripture study into gold." He emphasizes the importance of reading slowly and paying careful attention to each detail of the scriptures in order to gain a deeper understanding of and love for these sacred books.
Faulconer also explains the purpose of outlining, plus an in-depth method of cross referencing. He talks about what he calls "glancing back": reviewing scriptures written before the passage being studied to see how previous prophets applied specific words and ideas.
A main focus of Scripture Study: Tools and Suggestions is asking questions. Faulconer gives tips on how to ask cogent and thought-provoking questions, providing helpful examples of the types of questions that can help students of the scriptures learn the most from their reading.
Faulconer devotes several chapters to the reference tools available in the LDS edition of the scriptures and as a supplement to it. He discusses such aids as footnotes, alternative translations, historical dictionaries, and concordances, noting how each can improve the quality of scripture study and the depth of understanding gained from it.
In addition, a discussion of parsing explains how to use sentence diagramming techniques to see how words and ideas in the scripture relate to each other, and a chapter on rhetoric defines a number of ancient literary forms and gives examples to show how such studies can yield helpful insights and perspectives when applied to scripture.
Faulconer combines all of his recommended study techniques in a sample set of notes on a chapter in the book of Moroni. These notes show how the various tools and suggestions can promote meaningful scripture study. This book can be ordered using the enclosed order form.