By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Walking On the Road to Emmaus

And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. (Luke 24:13-15)

I have been thinking about this little story in Luke about two disciples walking along the road to Emmaus from Jerusalem. The complete story is found in Luke 24:13-35.

The Bible Dictionary says this:

A village 60 furlongs, or about 5 miles from Jerusalem; generally identified with the modern Kulonieh, on the road to Joppa.

There is a lot to be said about this wonderful story. Imagine having the Lord Jesus Christ appear to you and walk along with you and expound on the scriptures to you. Five miles isn't a long way, but if you are walking, it would take awhile and you would have time for a wonderful conversation with the Lord. Even if you didn't know until later that it was the Lord, as these two did not, it would still be an intriguing conversation.

Walking is often used as a metaphor for traveling through life and for living life in accordance with the Lord's commandments. Or, conversely, for walking in darkness, i.e., not in the ways of the Lord.

What I am thinking about this morning, however, is literal walking. Walking by yourself opens up opportunities for thinking about all sorts of things and also for prayer. Whether you are walking for exercise or to get somewhere, you have this quiet time in your mind and heart which can lead you to insights or to communion with God.

If you are walking with a friend, you have a chance to really talk things over. This is what struck me about the story of the road to Emmaus--that these two disciples (and later, Jesus) had the time and opportunity for an in-depth discussion of the gospel and of recent events in Jerusalem.

I think we miss out on a lot when we don't have this kind of time and opportunity to think, to pray, or to talk with a companion. There are a lot of blessings for us living in this modern age, but whenever I read of the road to Emmaus, I think that one blessing we miss out on unless we make the effort to create it, is to walk along, alone or with someone, with plenty of time to concentrate on something. It can be working out a problem, contemplating nature, prayer, meditating on some aspect of the gospel, or whatever we might want/need to focus on for awhile.

In ages past, people often traveled by foot, but now, it's often a matter of driving to a park (during the daytime, when you have a hope of it being safe) or, if you are blessed to live in the country, of walking around your property or down the road a ways. Even if your choice is to go to a track at the gym, you can usually be alone with your thoughts for awhile at least, although I have to say that I think being out in nature helps this process along.

It just seems like a chance to unwind, give serious thought to things, and let go of the stress of the modern world for a little while. May you find a quiet place to walk.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

A Verse at a Time

Lately I have been studying the scriptures in a different way than I have before. I have in the past usually read from beginning to end, whether it was the entire Bible or Book of Mormon or Doctrine & Covenants or Pearl of Great Price, or a book within one of those, or a chapter. That is certainly useful for getting an overview of what is in the scriptures, but I tended to not linger too long over any one verse and think deeply about what it meant.

What I am doing now is selecting a verse (from the Topical Guide, say, or a reference in a book) and studying it, thinking about what all it means, and most of all, thinking about how it applies to me in my life today. I am also trying to not fall into the usual pattern of applying the scripture to mankind in general, but to apply it to me specifically. It is an eye-opening experience. I feel like I am learning more, seeing more.

I haven't yet tried using Strong's Concordance to see what the Greek and Hebrew words might mean that might give me additional insight. Right now, I am just thinking about how the scripture relates to me and how it can help me to live the gospel more thoroughly. I pray for understanding, too, because that can open the way for additional insight and ideas.

I feel as if I am remembering more and seeing things that I can actually put into practice. That is an important part of the gospel--putting it into action. James tells us to be doers of the word and not hearers only, and he is right. (See James 1:22).

There are, of course, many ways to study the scriptures, and I think it is a good thing to try different ways and not just study the same way all the time. A different approach can yield more treasure.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007


I took last weekend off from blogging so that I could concentrate on enjoying and learning from General Conference. I thought the talks given were so good and so helpful!

The audio, video, and text archives are online
here. I think it's wonderful that they get those online so quickly so we can go back and review the talks and think more about their messages.

There is so much to the gospel. It helps me that every six months we have General Conference so that we can hear these messages. They can't possibly cover everything, of course, but the messages can highlight some much needed gospel topics that can help us with our daily lives. We can meditate on them and pray about them and learn much.

I am pleased with the calling of Elder Eyring (now President Eyring) as a counselor in the First Presidency and Elder Cook as an Apostle. Not that I would have been disappointed with whoever might have been called--after all, it is the Lord doing the calling!