Discovering more

There are many ways to learn more about the Christian faith. To state the obvious first, I would always recommend reading the Bible as a good place to 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 contemporary English. Good bookshops, especially Christian bookshops, will have a selection to choose from, &or you could use an online version, for example via biblehub.com, biblegateway.com, or other similar websites.

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 order. 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. That would make the purpose of much in the Old Testament clearer, since you would know what it’s building up to.

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

It’s also a good idea to find some committed Christians who are willing to discuss their faith with you. My DMs are always open via Etheldreda.net @etheldredanet on Twitter, if you follow me there. Many churches put on occasional special events or talks for enquirers, in addition to their Sunday services. Often good churches run the Alpha Course or something similar like Christianity Explored. You might be able to find some good local churches via those course websites, or other means, and meet up with some Christians that way.

* 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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