In both ancient and modern times, the Savior has invited, “Learn of me” (Matthew 11:29; Doctrine and Covenants 32:1). Learning of Jesus isn’t something that just comes automatically—consider these words from President Russell M. Nelson: “As we invest time in learning about the Savior and His atoning sacrifice, we are drawn to [Him]…As we seek to be disciples of Jesus Christ, our efforts to hear Him need to be ever more intentional. It takes conscious and consistent effort to fill our daily lives with His words, His teachings, His truths” (Ensign, May 2017, May 2020).
Blessings come from focusing on Jesus. President Nelson taught, “The more you learn about the Savior, the easier it will be to trust in His mercy, His infinite love, and His strengthening, healing, and redeeming power.”
The ideas on this page are meant to help you invest time, be ever more intentional, and put conscious and consistent effort into learning about Jesus so that you are drawn to him and trust more fully in his redeeming power.
There are a variety of ways that we can learn from and about Jesus Christ. Some of these are frequently used, like the scriptures, living prophets, and following his teachings. Others are perhaps less-frequently discussed: modern scholarship, artwork, movies, music.
On this page you’ll find many possible approaches to deepen your understanding of Jesus Christ. My hope is that this page can be a resource you return to, in order to find additional ways to learn more about Jesus Christ. Try different ideas and see what resonates with you. Just like we approach physical exercise with a plan (e.g, leg day, cardio day, etc.) consider making a specific plan of what you will do in your studies to focus on Jesus Christ.
(Jump to Scriptures, Prophets, Modern Scholarship, Artwork, Movies, Music, Personal Experiences).
The scriptures are explicitly created to point us to Jesus Christ. Toward the end of the Book of John we read, “These [things] are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31). Nephi similarly testified, “We labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do…we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Nephi 25:23, 26). The scriptures are a powerful way to come closer to Jesus Christ.
Idea #1: The President Nelson Invitation
President Nelson invited young adults to read every verse about Jesus Christ in the Topical Guide (more than 2,200 citations!) President Nelson promised great blessings to those who take on this valuable assignment. Learn more about it here (that link also has a couple of resources to make it easier to track which passages you’ve read).
Idea #2: Reading the Gospels
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John provide the most information that we have about the mortal ministry of Jesus Christ. I suggest that you first listen to the Gospel of Mark (this rendition is tremendous). Then prayerfully read Matthew, Luke and John, marking verses that stand out to you and recording insights you receive.
Idea #3: Reading the Gospels in Another Language or Translation
Read the four Gospels in a second language you speak or in an alternate translation (e.g., the New Revised Standard Version or the New Living Translation). This can help us gain fresh insights from familiar texts and open new vistas of understanding. (Note: it’s not wrong to read from alternate versions).
Idea #4: Finding Christ in the Book of Mormon
Take the following invitation, given by Elder David A. Bednar at a Face-to-Face with young adults: “My invitation…is, go into the Book of Mormon. Read it from the beginning to the end, looking for the Savior–his attributes, his characteristics. And as you do that, earnestly and sincerely, it no longer becomes looking at words on a page. You come to hear his voice. You come to know him in a very remarkable way” (see ~38:55). President Nelson issued a similar invitation encouraging people to mark each verse that speaks of or refers to the Savior.
Idea #5: Synopsis Studies
A powerful way to dig deeper into Christ’s life is to do a synopsis study. This entails a side-by-side reading of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), looking for similarities and differences in the accounts. A careful study of key events in the Savior’s life, such as his baptism, the last supper, his experiences in Gethsemane, his trial, crucifixion, and resurrection can help us know him and increase our peace. On this site you can find documents that are formatted in such a way that make it easier to do a synopsis study.
Idea #6: Memorize Scriptures about Jesus Christ
Collect a few verses of scripture that are centered on Jesus Christ. Find ones that really touch your heart and then commit them to memory.
Idea #7: Study Christ’s Miracles
Carefully study each of Christ’s miracles (list of miracles and scripture references here). Take the time to note phrases that stand out to you and write personal messages you feel from each miracle. There is much more to learn than initially meets the eye.
Idea #8: Study Christ’s Parables
Carefully study each of Christ’s parables (list of parables and scripture references here). Take the time to note phrases that stand out to you and write personal messages you feel from each parable. As with miracles, there is much more to learn than initially meets the eye.
Idea #9: Study Another Aspect of Christ’s Atonement, Ministry or Teachings
I’ve suggested doing an in-depth study of Christ’s miracles or parables, and there are many other aspects of Christ’s Atonement, ministry and teachings that you could focus on. For example, you could do an in-depth study of what the scriptures teach about Christ’s Crucifixion, his sermons, the questions Jesus has asked, and many other things. Doing an in-depth study of a specific aspect of Jesus Christ can be a powerful way to grow closer to him.
One of the greatest blessings of living in the latter-days is that modern prophets and apostles are on the earth. These apostles are “special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world” (Doctrine and Covenants 107:23). Their special witness of Christ can help us come closer to him.
Idea #1: Memorize the Living Christ
Whether you just recite it over and over again, use music, or some other technique, having these words in your mind is a powerful way to connect with Jesus Christ.
Idea #2: Study General Conference Talks that are Specifically Focused on Jesus Christ
This page has a collection of General Conference talks that are specifically focused on Jesus Christ. Read, watch or listen to several of these talks and take notes on what you learn about the Savior.
Idea #3: Learn from Special Witnesses
Watch the series of videos called “Special Witnesses of Christ.” These videos feature each member of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve sharing their testimony of Jesus Christ.
Idea #4: Messages from the Presidents of the Church
Read a chapter or talk focused on Jesus Christ and/or his Atonement from each of the Presidents of the Church. One way to approach this is through the collections of teachings from each president of the church from Joseph Smith to President Hinckley. If you click on an individual book, usually one of the first chapters is specifically about Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ said that the first and great commandment was to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:37, emphasis added). One way that we can love God with all of our minds is to spend focused time using our brains to learn about him and his son. Scholars have been studying Jesus Christ for literally centuries–there is much that we can learn from what they have written.
It’s important to note everyone has biases. Different scholars may look at the exact same data, and one might take a believing perspective, while another scholar takes a doubtful one. Obviously not everything a scholar says or writes is going to be true. That is a legitimate problem with scholarship, but that shouldn’t make us afraid of it. In fact, Elder Ballard said, “I am a General Authority, but that does not make me an authority in general! My calling and life experiences allow me to respond to certain types of questions. There are other types of questions that require an expert in a specific subject matter. This is exactly what I do when I need an answer to such questions: I seek help from others, including those with degrees and expertise in such fields.”
Thus, while we have to be a smart consumer of information, that doesn’t mean we should just ignore scholarship. With discerning hearts, we can study what scholars have learned, and as a result learn more about Jesus.
Even though there are only three ideas here, the options within them are numerous. Take some time to explore them!
Idea #1: Read a Book About Jesus from this List.
There are obviously many more books about Jesus that you could read, this list is just a starting point. Some are more intellectual, others more devotional–look at the descriptions and reviews on Amazon to identify which you would like most. Many are available for checkout as print, digital or audio books at a local library.
Idea #2: Read Articles About Jesus from this List.
These articles are roughly organized from shortest to longest; choose whichever articles seem most interesting to you. Of course, this is just a beginning of scholarly articles about Jesus Christ.
Idea #3: Read BYU Devotional Articles about Jesus.
Scholars at Brigham Young University have given dozens of devotionals centered on Jesus Christ. You can watch, listen to or read these devotionals.
Art historian Jenny Champoux wrote, “[Art] has the power to shape belief, influencing the way Mormons tell scriptural stories and understand doctrinal lessons.” Noel Carmack, a scholar of Latter-day Saint artwork, similarly noted, “The motivating impact that visual images of Christ have on members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints cannot be overestimated.”
Idea #1: Learn About Images of Christ
Read this article: Noel A. Carmack. “Images of Christ in Latter-day Saint Visual Culture, 1900-1999.” BYU Studies Quarterly 39, no. 3 (2000): 19-76. This article provides multiple insights into visual depictions of Jesus Christ.
Idea #2: Visit (Physically or Digitally) a Museum with Paintings of Christ
Many cities have art museums with religious paintings, and if there’s no such museum near you, you can take a digital trip! The main idea is to view artwork about Jesus Christ, read the descriptions of each painting, and take the time to be still and ponder paintings that are especially appealing (or challenging) to you.
If you need a virtual museum to visit, try the Church History Museum’s online exhibit of artwork on the life of Christ, the exhibit on “Jesus through the Centuries” hosted by Digital Museums Canada, or the Joy of Museums virtual tour of “Christian Art and Biblical Paintings.”
Idea #3: Focus on the Work of One Artist
Select an artist who has drawn several paintings of Christ and learn more about that artist’s approach and perspective. For example, you could study Argentine artist Jorge Cocco Santángelo, who has created many paintings of Jesus in a style he calls “sacrocubism” (a combination of “sacred” and “cubism,” referring to the art movement that used abstracted objects and geometric shapes). You could explore his work by watching the video on this page and then browsing the sample of Cocco’s work here. Of course, there are many other artists that you could study in similar ways.
Idea #4: Create Art
If you have artistic inclinations (or want to develop them), try creating a piece of artwork that captures some of your knowledge of and feelings for Jesus Christ.
Idea #5: Decorate
Try your hand at creating a Christ-centered environment. For example, you could decorate a physical space (e.g., your room) with Christ-centered artwork. Or you could create a “Christ” folder of pictures on your phone that you can periodically scroll through. Many similar ideas are possible.
For many modern Christians, the way we imagine Jesus’s appearance and demeanor is heavily influenced by movies. Cinematic portrayals of Jesus can be powerful. My first memory of watching a movie about Jesus is as a nineteen-year-old in the Missionary Training Center when I watched The Lamb of God. As I saw the Savior nailed to the cross, the Spirit washed over me and testified of the Savior’s love for me. Others have had similar experiences when they watched movies about Jesus Christ.
Idea #1: Watch Movies About Jesus Christ
This idea is pretty straightforward. Simply watch a movie about Jesus Christ (this list gives you a good starting point, but it’s not comprehensive). My top choices are The Gospel of John and The Son of God. Before you begin, I recommend reading this article: “From Scripture to Screen: Films Depicting Jesus and the World of the New Testament,” by Scott C. Esplin and Matthew J. Grey. What insights does it provide about how movies can influence our perception of Jesus Christ?
Music has been important to disciples of Jesus Christ in every dispensation because, through sacred music, we can both learn about and worship the Savior. In a revelation to Emma Smith, Jesus said, “My soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads” (Doctrine and Covenants 25:12). The Savior himself drew strength from sacred music, such as when He sang with His disciples before leaving the last supper and heading out to Gethsemane (see Matthew 26:30).
President Russell M. Nelson gave an important talk about Christ-centered music and the protection it offers. There are many ways that we can learn about Jesus Christ through music. Consider the following approaches.
Idea #1: Listen to Curated Music About Jesus Christ
The curated music on this page is an enjoyable way to experience a variety of Christ-centered musical approaches throughout the centuries. It might introduce you to some genres of Christ-centered music that you haven’t explored previously.
Idea #2: Explore Different Genres of Music About Jesus Christ
You probably have music that you already like that is centered on Christ. For some variety, spend some time exploring different genres of Christ-centered music. For example, you could listen to medieval or renaissance music about Christ. Or, you might try contemporary Spanish, Portuguese, or Chinese Christian music. There are many different genres to explore!
Idea #3: Create Your Own Jesus Christ Playlist
Invest time creating or refining your own playlist focused on Jesus Christ. This could be a playlist you have on YouTube, Spotify, or some other way. As an example, here’s my Spotify playlist of songs focused on Jesus Christ.
You might consider creating different playlists (e.g., Christian music about Jesus, Hymns about Jesus, music about Christ in other languages, etc.)
Idea #4: Create a Piece of Music
If you have musical inclinations (or want to develop them), try composing a piece of music that captures some of your knowledge of and feelings for Jesus Christ. If you have the ability, you could write both lyrics and music, and possibly even perform what you create for others.
Jesus said, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). The English word “know” has different connotations–knowing facts and also knowing people. The Greek word translated into English as “know” in this passage is talking about being acquainted with somebody–really knowing them as a person. That’s what eternal life is. It’s not knowing about him, but knowing him–and one of the best ways we can come to know Jesus is through personal experiences.
Idea #1: I’m Trying to be Like Jesus
Jesus said that we should strive to be as he is (see 3 Nephi 27:27). Find a verse that shows a specific characteristic of Christ and then spend a week working to emulate this characteristic. Write down your experiences.
Idea #2: Focus on Love
Here’s a specific example of the previous idea. John wrote, “Every one that loveth…knoweth God” (1 John 4:7). Mormon taught that “charity is the pure love of Christ” (Moroni 7:47). Focus on charity by studying Paul’s teachings on love and then working to apply them in your life for one week. What changes do you notice as you do so?
Idea #3: Serve Those who are Disadvantaged
King Benjamin taught, “For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?”(Mosiah 5:13). To know Christ we have to serve him. Jesus said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these among you, ye have done it unto me.” In other words, when we serve the most disadvantaged members of society, we are serving Jesus, and therefore coming to know him. In Jeremiah 22:26 the Lord says,“He defended the cause of the poor and needy . . . Is that not what it means to know me?” (NIV).
Idea #4: Keep Christ’s Commandments
Jesus taught, “If ye love me, keep my commandments,” and John wrote, “Hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments” (1 John 2:3). Choose a commandment that is challenging for you and focus on keeping it for one week. How does this help you draw closer to Jesus Christ?
What additional ideas would you suggest?
Special thanks to Joshua Sears who gave original idea for this page. His initial work on this project significantly informed my efforts on this page.