Scripture Study Technique 8: Diagramming the One Lesson

Scripture Study Techniques

Scripture Study Techniques 8 Diagramming

Learning Styles – Painting Pictures

Ever hear the idea that everyone has a different learning style? That some people are visual, audible, or tactile learners? It’s a popular theory, but it’s false. A study by several psychologists showed there is no evidence of this.

Someone may have a preference for how they want to learn a particular thing when it can be learned in different ways, but one obvious example is that geography is best learned visually. Try to describe the border of a country like Russia to someone without them seeing it on a map.

In the scriptures, we read words, but often they draw a picture for us. However, without drawing an actual picture, we sometimes fail to see the map the Lord has provided.

You can do this any number of ways. Draw an actual picture, put phrases on 3×5 cards and lay them out on a table, or use software to draw your picture digitally like a flowchart or mind map.

For example, the parable of the sower in Matthew 13 has 4 elements that are very visual. You might draw a picture of the scene and then analyze what those 4 things relate to.

You might take Alma 32 on faith, and write down every element of the scene Alma describes, and organize them. Not just the tangible things like a seed, seedling, and tree, but the actions taken like nourishing, diligence, and so on. Then dig into the symbolism and seek to know what those elements are.

The One Lesson on Priesthood

One day, I was reading in the Doctrine and Covenants in section 121:34-36. The Lord said:

34 Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?

35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson

36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.

One lesson… Hmmm, what are the rights of the priesthood? What are the powers of heaven we can tap into? What are the principles of righteousness that govern these powers?

I quickly saw that reading words on a page would not suffice for trying to put an image of this together in my mind. I started a diagram, which as you can imagine, went through many revisions and edits. I share it here only to demonstrate this technique. I have blurred out some of what I did because even though all the elements are scriptural, it’s still a little speculative on my part how this all matches up and I don’t want to deprive you of the joy of discovery. 🙂

I started with the idea that rights of the priesthood are connected on a separate path with the powers of heaven.

On the left I began with offices of the priesthood, then their rites (ordinances) and then their rights (privileges) in the priesthood.

On the right hand side of the diagram, I started diagramming D&C 121:37-45. with receiving an agency or authority over ourselves and others. You might read this section of scripture while looking at my diagram to get a better sense of what I was doing. Then it grew from there taking me to different places in the scriptures where it talks about priesthood power and principles of righteousness.

Rights of the Priesthood diagram

Diagramming Project

Now find a section of scripture or a theme that you want to understand better, and create a graphic. I guarantee if you break something complex down into a visual, you’ll understand it at a higher level than you did before. If you don’t know what software to use, there are some free ones listed below. Even though you can’t attach images to your Scripture Notes notes at this moment, it is coming in the future along with some powerful ways to connect your diagrams to the scriptures.

Free Diagramming Software

Free Mind Mapping Software


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About the Author

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

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