For a long time I have struggled with studying the scriptures. I've faithfully read the scriptures every day for more that 13 years, but I have to admit that I've rarely gotten a lot out of it. The exceptions to this were when I was in Jerusalem, but that's for another day.
I find I read the scriptures more like a history book or a story. I know the history of the Nephites cold. I can find any piece of information that you want in the Book of Mormon. I enjoy reading the Old Testament because it has lots of good stories. Since I particularly enjoy ancient history, the Old Testament comes alive for me.
These are worthwhile things in the scriptures. But I've never managed to do what my husband does. He really thinks about the scriptures when he reads. He asks me where to find things or what specific words mean, but his questions really get me thinking. I realized a long time ago that I needed to ask more questions, but was never very successful. But now I have finally found the book that has helped me learn to do this better.
Sometime last year, Julie in Austin posted that she had just had a book published about the gospels. I didn't buy it then, mostly because I dismissed it in my mind as another LDS commentary and I forgot about the book. Then I happened to start reading an LDS blog that she posts to and I was reminded of her book. But what really got me was when she said that her book was filled with questions and no answers. This was different. I ordered it. I think it's probably the first LDS book I've ever purchased instead of having purchased for me. I didn't even check it out from the library first.
And I love Search, Ponder, and Pray. This is the first time in a long time that I have looked forward to reading the scriptures. I generally haven't liked commentaries because they say one thing, and I often think it means something else, or I think it can go further. But this book has helped me read the scriptures more carefully. I've thought of new ideas. I've referenced other books of scripture, especially the Old Testament, more often. The introduction alone made the purchase worthwhile.
In fact, I think that after I've worked my way through this one, I could do it myself with the Old Testment. That would be lots of fun, since the OT has plenty of character. I look forward to it.