Help for Life Challenges

How to find the answer to any life question in the scriptures

Jared Halverson on finding answers in the scriptures.png
By following a few simple study tips, we can increase our ability to find answers from the scriptures.

The scriptures hold answers to all our questions, but sometimes finding answers feels just out of reach. But with this helpful study technique from BYU religion professor Jared Halverson, we can find answers from God in the scriptures to even our most difficult—and modern—problems.

How? Jared suggests a study formula—and it comes in a convenient acronym form.


F: Find a principle

E: Explain it in your own words

A: Apply it in your life

S: Share examples and illustrations of the principle in action

T: Testify of the principle’s truth

F: Find a Principle

This means distilling a story in the scriptures down to its most basic elements to find a formula we can apply to our lives. Jared explains, “It’s principles that we’re searching for in scriptures—the basic, bedrock, eternal truth that a specific story conveys.”

For example, when we read about Nephi building a ship, taking out the historical details and specifics about shipbuilding helps us find the underlying principle.

“This is no longer about Nephi. It’s not about building a ship,” Jared says. “It’s about someone being asked by God to do something difficult.”

Looking at the narrative this way helps us get closer to the principle of the story and see how it could apply to us and hear answers from God.

E: Explain it in Your Own Words

Jared suggests that explaining a principle in your own words is like repackaging it. We can do this by asking ourselves, “How do I put that principle into real-world terms? How do I make it memorable?”

One way to do this is by identifying and creating an “if/then” statement as an explanation. Jared points out how Nephi gives an example of this in 1 Nephi 1:20. We read that (if) “because of their faith” then, “the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen.”

Jared explains, “You see how vague that statement is compared to the specific situation his father was in but how relevant [it] is? It fits not only Lehi’s experience, but all the experiences Nephi would later have, and that you and I have had as well.”

A: Apply it in Your Life

One way to apply scripture principles to our lives is to add in our personal details with a prayerful “me, here, now” mindset. The application of a principle will vary from person to person. There are no right answers, and answers might change over time.

For example, in Doctrine and Covenants 94, Jared says, “is very historical, very specific, about building some buildings for the work of the First Presidency.” While studying to teach this section he noticed a repetition of the word, “pattern,” and that was the key to finding relevance for his students. This principle—the Lord provides a pattern for us to follow to lay out, build, and dedicate our lives to Him—was something everyone could understand.

S: Share Examples to Illustrate a Principle in Action

After pondering on how to apply a principle to our lives, the next step, Jared says, is to “share experiences and examples from scripture or from your own life where that principle is being illustrated.”

He explains that the principles we study become a “stockpile” of spiritual information to not only bring us closer to Christ but also become tools we can use to help and serve others.

When his wife was going through a difficult time because of a family member’s situation, Jared drew on a principle he learned from Lehi to help him offer comfort to her and understand how to best help and support her needs.

T: Testify of the Principle’s Truth

If we are prepared, the chance to testify about the principles of the gospel can come at any moment and doesn’t have to be formal.

“Anytime I need to teach or speak, anytime I need to counsel or correct, anytime that I’m put into a position to influence people, I look for the principles that I have stockpiled in the past, trying to understand which ones apply to this person’s situation. And sometimes those principles even come back to bless me,” Jared says.

Following this study pattern, Jared explains, makes “the scriptures become relevant, personal, applicable, [and] powerful in your own life.”

The answers we need and seek are available to each of us.

Watch the following clip to hear two examples of how Jared used the F.E.A.S.T. method. First, to answer the question of a concerned parent who wanted her child to reach his full potential, and second, how a principle came to be one of his parenting guides.

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Video Companion
How to find answers in the scriptures: questions on parenting

Jared's complete Seek course, How to Make Scripture Study More Meaningful, is now available on LDS Living's YouTube channel.

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