Discovering more

There are many ways to learn more about the Christian faith. First, to state the obvious, I would always recommend reading the Bible as a good start, and doing so prayerfully alone before God – it’s how I came to know the Lord *. It’s best to use an accurate translation that you find easy to read. There are many available in modern English. Good bookshops, especially Christian bookshops, will have a selection to choose from.

It’s not a good idea to start with Genesis and read through to the end as if the Bible were a novel. In fact it’s a collection of 66 smaller books not necessarily designed to be read in sequence. It’s probably best to start with some clearer, easier to understand ones first, before moving on to more obscure books. I would suggest reading John’s gospel first, where you will discover Jesus for who he really is, then perhaps one of Paul’s letters such as Philippians, where you will see New Testament Christianity in action.

If you’re determined to read through the whole Bible book by book, a good plan might be to start at the beginning of the New Testament with Matthew’s gospel, reading through the whole New Testament first, before starting the Old Testament. This will make the purpose of much in the Old Testament clearer, since you will know what it’s building up to.

It might help your Bible reading to use a commentary or study guide. Some Bible translations have ‘Study Bible’ editions such as the NIV (New International Version) or ESV (English Standard Version) that come with helpful notes. The Lion Handbook to the Bible is also very helpful – a widely available, single volume, well illustrated guide.

If you’re more a face to face conversational learner (and even of you’re not) it’s a good idea to find a committed Christian who’s willing to discuss their faith with you.

Thirdly, find a sound church. Aside from the regular Sunday services, many churches run special events and talks for enquirers. Many good churches offer the Christianity Explored or Alpha Course, and I would recommend seeking out a church that offers one of these or similar courses. You might find a good local church via the World Evangelical Alliance website.

* I spent the first seven years of my Christian life with just a New Testament and prayer before God. That was because to the best of my knowledge there were no other Christians around, and back then there was no such thing as the internet. This start provided some unusual blessings, but generally speaking Christians should meet ‘together’(Hebrews 10:25) if at all possible.

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