Searching the Scriptures

Searching the Scriptures – Book Review

Searching the Scriptures by Gene R. Cook

Learn to enjoy personal and family scripture study more by reading this book.


We received this book as a gift and were truly strengthened by reading it. Instead of just reading, we learned how to study the scriptures and benefited greatly from the techniques learned.

Gene R. Cook, of the Quorum of the Seventy, outlines the purpose of the scriptures before discussing ways to improve our personal and family scripture study.

Here are some basic ideas highlighted in chapters on personal study:

  • How to hear the voice of the Lord while studying scripture.
  • How to ponder and question while reading.
  • How to discover patterns.
  • Techniques for marking and cross-referencing scriptures.

And some ideas highlighted in chapters on family study:

  • Blessings of family scripture study.
  • How to overcome common pitfalls and roadblocks.
  • Techniques for making it work.
  • A suggested format for family scripture study.

One of my favorite chapters discusses some common Hebrew phrases and writing styles in the scriptures. I liked learning about the phrase “It came to pass…” Elder Cook points out that the phrase shows up around 1300 times in the Book of Mormon and over 450 in the Bible.

We never saw these repetitive words as important. After reading this book, we learned how the phrase offers an important emphasis for each verse. We now take time to pause and ponder what we are reading. The phrase “It came to pass” highlights how “what happened” is much more important than “why or how it happened”.

For example, Elder Cook compares the important event when a young man or young woman decides to serve a mission. There are a lot of influences why someone would choose to serve a mission. Parents are probably very high on this list, but so are siblings, church leaders, prayers, and activity in Church.

When talking about the decision to serve a mission, we could spend a lot of time giving credit to all those influences involved. But when we say “and it came to pass (Elder or Sister Smith) decided to serve a mission”, we make a humble statement indicating that the decision to serve a mission is important and the influences are not. We can clearly see what the speaker wants to highlight.

Next time you come across the phrase in the scriptures pause and ponder, “what is the important principle or action highlighted in this verse?”

These simple truths and understandings have greatly improved how we ponder the scriptures and look for additional understanding. We strongly recommend this book to anyone looking to improve their personal or family scripture study. It is available in print and kindle format on Amazon.

Check out other book recommendations central in strengthening and influencing our family culture.

Have you read this book? Leave a comment about your experience or share the recommendation with a friend.

2 comments for “Searching the Scriptures – Book Review

  1. Shelby
    July 8, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    Excellent. I have an adolescent book on scripture study but could use an adult one. Thanks for the recommend. Any good books on goal setting. I know ya’ll are all about that. 😉

    • July 10, 2014 at 1:24 am

      We will put out another lesson on goal setting soon. Haven’t really read a book specifically on goal setting and have pieced together most of our ideas from a lot of different sources.

      My favorite source about organization and goal setting is First Things First by Stephen R. Covey.

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