I want to ask a question within the genre of scriptural exegesis. When our church leaders commend us to seek education, they often quote a verse from the Doctrine and Covenants. The line is sometimes “the glory of God is intelligence.” Or the verse about no man being saved faster than he gains knowledge. Often the verse cited is D&C 88:118: “seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.”
What does that verse mean today? In Joseph Smith’s day the context involved the formation of a school for missionaries called the School of the Prophets. The Lord was commending “the best books” for elders who had little knowledge of the people and lands they would one day serve. The relative youth and inexperience of our missionaries today means the early context has surprising relevance in our times.
But of course scripture gets interpreted far beyond the original context. We are always eager to liken the scriptures unto ourselves. In talks by BYU officials, the phrase “by study” often gets interpreted to mean book learning; learning comes to mean truth; truth is the truth of the discplines; and the truth is sought by adopting standard methods of the disciplines like scientific hypothesis testing.
The phrase “study…by faith” is what I am curious about. What does it mean to T&S readers? Does anyone have any experience with learning “by faith.” Be specific.
Of course I welcome comments on any parts of the verse.