I recently made a presentation to attendees of the FIRM Foundation conference regarding Scripture Notes. I wanted to share something from the scriptures and demonstrate the power of searching the scriptures. The presentation was titled “If/Then Statements in the Book of Mormon.” I wrote a little about this in the blog post a few weeks ago on principles of the gospel. I went through the Book of Mormon and highlighted each of almost 600 verses that use the word “if” to show the “then” conclusion of those conditional statements. Not only was it a fun and interesting project, but it was a testimony builder that the authors of the book were well grounded in principles of righteousness and able to expound upon them in simple and clear terms.
As with any study project, there are words that jump out at you. Sometimes I like to refer to these spiritual tangents as scriptural rabbit holes because they can go deep and in unexpected directions. Here’s a visual for how I tend to study. I’m reading something and suddenly I get a prompting to pay attention to something. If I allow my curiosity to be piqued, I may follow that tangent to another reading and dig in. This method of searching has led to some interesting discoveries over the years. Sometimes I get curious about something but there’s nothing there to follow and I go right back to what I was doing. Often there is more than meets the eye. The thing to be aware of is when we read, don’t say, “I have to finish the chapter” and then ignore all the inspiration that comes to you along the way.
This is where the power of Scripture Notes really shines. You don’t have to leave what you’re doing to dig into the hole. You just open a new pane without losing your place and see what you find. If it’s nothing, you go right back to where you left off by closing the pane.
One of the words that jumped out at me while studying for this presentation was the word “inasmuch.” I don’t remember which of a couple verses I was reading in when this word jumped out at me, but when it did, I opened a search pane and did a search for it. Here’s the results I found.
Note the distribution of the word across the scriptures. Interestingly, an apparently similar word, insomuch, had this very different flipped distribution between the Book of Mormon and Doctrine & Covenants.
For my purposes, and with somewhat limited time trying to prepare for the presentation, I decided to filter for only the verses in the Book of Mormon and see what they might show. This became really fascinating.
The word inasmuch essentially means “to the extent.”
Reading these 25 verses in the Book of Mormon showed me that the Lord doesn’t just put everything he wants to tell us in one place. Only by searching the scriptures did I find the full picture of what he was trying to say.
What these verses showed was there are 5 different promises the Lord gave to those in the promised land for keeping the commandments, and 2 curses. There is one we hear over and over again and I’ve previously written a blog entry along those lines. It relates to prospering in the land. However, here’s the full picture.
I never would have seen this full picture without searching the scriptures and recording what they say (which is really easy to do in Scripture Notes’ collection note feature). Searching the scriptures gives you a more comprehensive look at the things the Lord has to say. It reveals “Easter eggs” that are hidden to those that don’t look under the rock or down the rabbit hole.
The Savior taught “…he that hath the scriptures, let him search them…” 3 Nephi 10:14
Inasmuch as we have the scriptures, we need to search them.