Once you accept Jesus as your Savior, please follow these simple guidelines and they will help you grow in your walk with the Lord:
1. Get in the Word. (Read your Bible daily, begin with the book of John, every answer to every question you will ever have is in the Bible)
2. Get on your knees. (Pray often about everything) Just like any other relationship - if there is not communication you will never truly know each other. Prayer is your direct line to Him.
3. Get in church. (Surround yourself with other believers so you can ask questions and trade ideas and thoughts with them, it will help you grow your friendship with God)
4. Get baptized. (Make a public profession of faith.)
5. Tell your friends about your salvation. (Be a witness to those around you.)
Where does a new Christian begin in the Bible?
I would like to encourage you to consider reading the Bible all the way through...start with the New Testament and then read through the Old Testament...but if that seems a little overwhelming to you, then start smaller by just tackling one book at a time and take breaks as needed.
As a new Christian or someone just reading through the Bible for the first time - read 1 to 3 chapters a day and then increase as you get used to it and are able to grasp a great and greater understanding of it. Take it at your own pace, but be consistent and try to read every day.
The main thing is to become like a sponge, to soak up all the info you read and apply it to your life.
Begin a daily Bible study by reading the book of John. In my opinion, the book of John will help you get started on your journey better than any other book. John tells the story of Jesus from birth to crucifixion and lets the reader get to know the man -JESUS.
Another great place to spend some time daily is in Proverbs. They are short and you can easily read and absorb a chapter each day. The Proverbs are full of great life application lessons that are easy to understand. There are 31 of them - one for each day of the month. Read through them each month and start over at the beginning of each new month. You will be surprised at how God will use the book of Proverbs to minister and speak to you each and every day. It will teach you how to get along with your fellow man as well. As you read them each day - God's Word will become part of you.
My favorite book of the Bible is James. James was Jesus' brother and he did not pull any punches with this book. It will speak to you in a mighty way if you let it, and it will give you many great principles to apply to your life.
1 Peter & 2 Peter are great also. They reflect great principles that we are to live by each and everyday.
I would definitely recommend 1 John as a great book to dive into. It's a short book, but speaks in volumes to the Christian.
REMEMBER THIS: Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion - it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ. Spend time with Jesus. The very practice of reading the Bible will have a purifying effect upon your mind and heart. Let nothing take the place of this daily exercise.
Other Good Reading:
There is nothing like hanging out with the experts. Reading books about the Word of God is good for your Christian growth, but don’t read books about the Bible in place of the Bible. Read books by Christian authors to strengthen you and to help you understand the Bible better. Reading a good book about our God written by someone who had studied the Word deeply is like having an expert at your beck and call.
A Couple of great books to check out:
"The Case for Christ" and "The Case for Faith" by Lee Strobel.
These two books are fantastic. "The Case for Christ" is a journalist's investigation of the evidence for Jesus Christ. "The Case for Faith" investigates some of the toughest objections to Christianity. Both will help you grow with leaps and bounds.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. How can I learn more about the Bible besides just reading it? How do I begin a study of the Word?
You can gain a great deal of understanding of God simply by reading the Bible, however, once you begin to read you will find that some of the lessons and stories intrigue you to dig deeper and know more and this is where you will want to refer to outside sources.
We encourage you to supplement your reading with insight and understanding from commentaries and Bible dictionaries and a Lexicon if necessary. When you come across a word that you don’t understand, look it up in the back of your Bible or in a Bible dictionary. When you read a Chapter that doesn’t make sense, see what the Matthew Henry commentary has to say about it. You can access all of these study helps right here on the “Discipleship” page that is located on this website.
Go to your local Christian bookstore and get a book with more information about the particular subject matter you are studying. Commentaries are kind of like the Cliff Notes to the Bible except they are not the condensed version, but rather the expanded version. They tell you about customs of the times, practices and other details that are in the Bible that refer to that passage but are not necessarily right there on the same page...or even in the same book. To study the Word, read the actual scripture, read commentaries or reference books (get several viewpoints) about the scripture, look up words you don’t understand, refer to a map to follow along mentally where things are taking place and finally discuss your findings and questions with other brothers and sisters in Christ.
2. What translation of the Bible should I read?
It is important to be able to understand what you are reading. If the King James Version is too difficult for you to read as it is for me - I suggest that you get a copy of the Bible in the New International Version, a New Century Version or in the New Living Translation.
Personally, I suggest the New International Version "Life Application Study Bible" by Zondervan which has a "commentary" at the bottom of every page and character outlines and study helps and maps as you read along.
There are theories about how perfectly translated some versions are and for deep study of the Bible you would want to use the King James Version, but for study that intense you might also want to know Greek and Hebrew. For a new Christian, I encourage you to go with something easier to read and then once you have a foundation you can take your studies to the next level.
For the very young readers, I would suggest a Children’s Bible appropriate to their age. For pre-teens, the Teen Extreme is an excellent Bible.
Now, lastly, let me just say it doesn’t matter if you are 4 or 40, the point is to get in the Word regardless of what version it is. If the New Living translation and the NIV are still too difficult for you and it causes you not to read at all - then get a Children’s Bible and start there and work your way up but whatever you do, start somewhere and grow with God. You will never experience His supernatural presence if you do not get to know Him. Communication is the key!
3. What is a good amount of time I should spend in prayer?
Is there a specific way or place I should pray? God has never given us a time scale for prayer. He made all of us uniquely individual and because we are all at a different level in our relationship with Him, then there is no set amount of time He demands of us.
God wants to be part of your life as much as you will let Him. It needs to be sincere quality time from your heart.
God never said you have to come to Him only on your knees or facing the east or anything like that, but out of respect and reverence for Him, we each must figure out for ourselves how we can devote our time to Him.
We encourage you to spend some uninterrupted time in prayer each day with no distractions. Hide away from others if need be and just be alone with God and tell Him what’s on your heart. Share your concerns with Him. Be thankful for His blessings in your life. Ask for His direction and leading.
Our recommendation: Start your prayer routine by getting on your knees for 10 minutes a day and work your way up to an hour a week or even an hour a day and just see the difference it will make in your life. There may be days when you pray less and days when you pray more, but strive not to let the day pass without being in close communion with God. I personally try to pray without ceasing.
4. How do I know what is the truth and what is false teaching? What kind of church should I go to? Is there any one perfect religion?
The Bible warns us of false teachers and there are many religions out there that proclaim to be true followers of Christ but are not. Never, no matter what, take for granted that anything you are being told is the sacred truth. You absolutely and positively have to read it for yourself and if you still don’t know, get on your knees, go to the Father and ask Him to reveal the Truth to you.
Even when seeking out a church - you must ask God to guide you to a place where the truth is being taught. You need to be in a church where you are able to be taught the Word of God and where you are able to have confidence that the church leadership is bringing the truth of God's Word to you and the congregation.
5. How do I know when God is speaking to me?
God will likely not beam down a blinding ray of light as you walk through the mall and speak to you in a resounding voice that reverberates throughout the city, but if you are listening for Him you will hear Him just as plainly.
By learning Gods ways and by being informed of the way He has answered the prayers of people in the Bible - you will be better equipped to recognize when He is speaking to you.
Next time you pray and ask God for something and He answers you, be aware of that little inclination that taps into your mind and causes you to think of Him. That is His way of telling you that He is responsible for your answer to prayer.
Never assume that an answer to prayer is a coincidence and fail to thank God for making a change in your life. Sometimes God makes His presence very obvious and undeniable and sometimes His presence is very subtle. Faith is when we know He is near regardless of how subtle He is.
The more faith you have, the easier it is for you to feel His presence and hear Him when He speaks to you. If you really want to know God personally, get to know Him, get in the Word and get on your knees.
If you still have questions, e-mail me and I will do everything I can to help you. God bless!!!
Your brother in Christ,
<>< BRIAN NEAL <><