Scripture Study Technique 11 – Lists and Patterns

Scripture Study Techniques

Scripture Study Techniques 11 - Lists and Patterns

Have you ever noticed how many lists there are in the scriptures? Sometimes a list is just a few items in a single verse. Other lists have many items scattered throughout the scriptures which require searching them out to create the list.

I inherited a book from my father called Wilmington’s Book of Bible Lists. Its got over 350 lists of things from the fascinating, like 21 facts about the coming Anti-Christ, to the strange, like couples with only the husband named.

One list everyone is familiar with is the Beatitudes. These are 8 ordered steps on a path of progression which Jesus taught. Having them all together and identified makes it ideal to study them out individually and seek to implement them in our lives. The better we understand something, the more we can become like that attribute.

Another list is in Alma 37:8 where Alma teaches his son 3 reasons God preserves scripture:

1) They enlarge our memory by showing us examples of God providing for his people

2) Convince many of the error of their ways such as the Sons of Mosiah teaching the Lamanites the truth

3) Brought many to the knowledge of God unto the salvation of their souls

Often, lists can only be created by searching the scriptures and making notes about the patterns found across different stories and teachings.

For example, there are 3 stories of anti-Christ’s in the Book of Mormon. A careful study of the way they twisted the truth will give you a list of the common tactics being used in our day to twist truth and turn people away from God. Studying the prophetic responses will give you a list of how to respond and counter those arguments.

Another example of patterns would be searching for types, shadows, and symbols in the scriptures. Searching for the words type and shadow will find a number of verses where these things are specified, but there are many other things as well.

Where a shadow casts an approximate image of the original and usually foreshadows the event by common themes such as the sacrifices in the law of Moses being a shadow of Christ’s sacrifice, a type can be a person, event, object, or ceremony that has an antitype where common characteristics are seen. For example, prophets are a type of Christ. They possess the spirit of prophesy and in their lives often have characteristics that carry forward as symbols of Christ. Sometimes an event is both a type and a shadow such as the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac being a shadow of a future event where the Father would sacrifice his Son, and a type of Christ where Isaac willingly went to the sacrifice to do the will of his father. Types and shadows are powerful reminders to us, most often directly pointed to Christ.

Building lists and looking for patterns should ultimately be used to build introductory knowledge, provide opportunities for deeper study, and increase your testimony that God is in the details. We should be filled with awe and wonder at the depth of study we are able to do in the scriptures.


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God, family, country, scriptures, soccer, Sanderson, disc golf, dessert, development. These are a few of my favorite things. :) - Oak Norton

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