Search, Ponder, and Pray: A Guide to the Gospels

$27.95

By Julie M. Smith
“Allows ample opportunity for readers to plunge into the teachings of the New Testament. — Mormon Times

Preview the volume here.
 Also available in ebook for the Amazon Kindle (Part 1, Part 2), Barnes and Noble (Part 1, Part 2), Kobo (Part 1, Part 2), and Apple (single ebook)
Part of our Contemporary Studies in Scripture series

Book Description:

Latter-day Saints already familiar with the New Testament will find a wealth of new insights into the cultural, historical, and literary background of the Gospels. Research previously shrouded in academic jargon is presented in a way that is not only understandable, but encourages readers to evaluate the evidence for themselves and to draw their own conclusions. Over 4,000 thought-provoking questions allow readers to ponder the scriptures in new and exciting ways. In many ways, this book immediately and directly facilitates a close, deliberate, and thoughtful reading of the scriptural text.




Praise for Search, Ponder, and Pray:

“Julie Smith has made a substantial contribution, not simply to the growing field of serious Mormon scholarship on the Bible, but to the LDS community as a whole. In Search, Ponder, and Pray, Smith shares her impressive gift to ask questions that lead to powerful literary, historical, and devotional insights. This is the type of book I wish I would have had at the beginning of my career. It is my sincere hope that every teacher involved with church education will take advantage of this incredible resource.” — David Bokovoy, author of Authoring the Old Testament
“It’s impossible to read any page of Search, Ponder, and Pray with your mind on autopilot, because unless you take a stab at answering the questions yourself, there is really no point in reading. . . . Using this book has made me a better teacher by causing me to ask better questions during class discussions. It’s made me a better reader of the scriptures by training me to ask similar questions as I study.” — Ardis Parshall, Keepapitchinin
“Smith’s goal was to produce a tool for using existing scholarship, while urging students to continue to ponder, question, and analyze. The result is a readable, usable. and most welcome volume. . . . I was amazed at the comprehensive nature of Smith’s research. In some cases, she presents several alternative ways of understanding a scripture, and leaves it to the student to determine that which seems right. It places the burden of thought on the student, and leaves the teacher to guide the discussion and direct the students to a deeper experience with the scriptures. . . . I really liked this book, and would gladly recommend it to those wanting to go deeper in their Bible study, but especially to those teachers who hunger for new and innovative ways to involve their classes in studies of the Gospels.” — Jeffrey Needle, Association of Mormon Letters
“We ask lots of questions in Church classrooms. Questions in form anyway, where the answer is presumed, known, and an obvious given. But rarely do we ask genuine, real questions, where the answer is not necessarily clear or certain and we actually have to think about what the answer might be. I have long admired Julie’s talent, on full display in this volume, of asking truly probing questions about a text as a way to compel a reader to encounter it genuinely. I have used her material in my own teaching, and from the effort I have learned and even grown a little bit better at coming up with such thought questions myself. I highly recommend this volume for anyone who wishes to actually learn something from her encounter with the Gospels.” — Kevin Barney
I have learned more from Search, Ponder, and Pray than from any scriptural commentary or study guide I have ever encountered. Julie Smith goes well beyond asking interesting and valuable questions about the Gospels. She walks with us through a familiar terrain and points out things that we have been missing all of our lives—pertinent cross references, cultural and linguistic contexts, rhetorical strategies, possible inconsistencies, stylistic choices, and curious omissions. And she consistently resists the temptation to tell us what to think, preferring to point out important facts and details and allow readers to form their own conclusions. The result is a steady stream of insights that we produce ourselves in a process that feels a lot like revelation.” — Michael Austin, author of Re-reading Job: Understanding the Ancient World’s Greatest Poem
Search, Ponder, and Pray is an in-depth study guide pulling readers into a deeper exploration of the culture, symbolism and significance of the teachings of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. This weighty work joins lessons from the Old Testament and New Testament and the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible with ideas from the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and even modern prophets and Bible scholars. . . . Smith’s approach in this commentary allows ample opportunity for readers to plunge into the teachings of the New Testament in a way that is personal and geared directly to each reader’s interests and understanding.” — Melissa DeMoux, Mormon Times

Podcasts and Interview Links:

Mormon Studies Podcast

Maxwell Institute Podcast


About the Author:

Julie M. Smith graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BA in English and from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, with an MA in Biblical Studies. She is on the executive board of the Mormon Theology Seminar and the steering committee of the BYU New Testament Commentary series, for which she is writing the volume on the Gospel of Mark. She also writes for Times & Seasons, where she is the book review editor. She lives near Austin, Texas, where she homeschools her children.


More Information:

313 Pages

ISBN 978-1-58958-671-0 (paperback); 978-1-58958-672-7 (hardcover)

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