One of the things that I enjoy most about God is how he works in patterns; everything is ultimately connected and part of one eternal round.
You have the macrocosmos, the universe and everything within it and then the microcosmos which is your own personal universe, your body, governed by your mind, and finally the mesocosmos which is somewhere in-between and can be represented by a temple.
The temple is a model of not only the universe, the macrocosmos, but of our own bodies, the microcosmos. The temple allows us to make a connection between everything by bringing it all into one place.
Thus we can view things from a small to a large scale, or personal to universal. But we can also view things on the scale of time, past, present, and future; the temple also takes us on a journey through time.
If you ponder these ideas, you can see how they can be applied to understanding scripture as well.
If we read the scriptures just one way, we are only seeing one facet of their potential meaning. If we only read the parables of Jesus to be stories about farmers, employers, animals, or objects, then we miss their deeper meaning.
In studying Zenos’ allegory of the olive tree, we can certainly look at the tree as if it represents the house of Israel throughout time. You can read the entire chapter through that lens in your studies and perhaps move on to the next chapters.
But wait, what if you read through again, this time with the tree representing something on a smaller scale, maybe the church today or even your own family?
Then, what if you read it again, but this time with the tree representing just you. You are the tree the Lord weeps over and cannot bear to lose.
Sometimes I think people read through their Come Follow Me chapters, finish early in the week, think that they are done reading, and forget about the Book of Mormon the rest of the week.
Maybe not but if this sounds like you, I invite you to try what I have suggested here.
First, read through just letting the text say what it needs to. Then, perhaps, read through again, but this time insert yourself into the narrative. I think might be similar to what Nephi meant when he spoke of “likening the scriptures” unto ourselves.
Taking various vantage points in examining the scriptures has been incredibly helpful to me personally. If anyone has any other ideas, feel free to share them in the comments below.