So, you have become a Christian and you are desperate to know more. When you give your life to Jesus you can find yourself, as I did, in a state of frantic searching for more, a deep longing to know more of God and more of His Story. There are many ways to go about this. I began with a personal study of Paul The Apostle. I studied his journeys and read many books about his life and writings. Following this I began to study each book of the Bible individually, looking at who the author was, when it was written, the purpose of writing etc. When I had completed this I was still desperately searching for more and so I enrolled in an Access to Degree programme with Highland Theoretical College and now I am on the degree programme. Throughout the week I also take part in the BSF Bible Study, help out with Alpha, watch sermons online, attend a Dwelling in the Word session, go to worship virtually with my college and do personal Bible reading and journaling.
Before embarking on any study, it is helpful to begin with a short prayer asking the Lord to help you to understand more of His Word and get to know Him more intimately. I will close this blog with an example should you wish to use this.
I think it is especially important you understand that not one of us will leave this world with all the answers. While Scripture is held amongst the pages of a book, It is not simply a collection of light-hearted words as a novel or simple poetry but a depth of knowledge stacked layer upon layer holding at It’s core, life itself.
The Bible is our history, the history of the world we live in, it is our life, the air that we breathe, it details our King, Priest and Saviour, our ancestry, our heavenly family and our future, it is our guide to living, a parenting guide and marriage counsel, it is our hope in the darkness of despair and depression, an example of living and dealing with others, how to do business effectively, how to create friendships, what we should strive for and what we should avoid. One may read Scripture for 50 years and pick the Bible one day and be completely taken aback by what one reads. The reason for this is twofold, firstly, the sheer amount and depth of the information Scripture contains and secondly, because our ability to understand the Word of God is given to us by God Himself. He will allow us to comprehend what He wants us to comprehend and therefore God will reveal new knowledge to us when it is the right time for us to know it! I also feel when we are dealing with our relationship with God and our knowledge of God, there is both head knowledge and heart knowledge. We can feel an understanding of who God is and what His purpose is emotionally as well as understand academically His story and His plan. It can be daunting when we feel as though we are so clueless about God but rest in this, you are never clueless when you come to Jesus, you are a Child of God and as such God has supplied you with all knowledge you require at this stage and day by day, month by month, year on year it will be added to, what is important is your relationship with God.
Having understood that, a good place to start is with something that stands out to you, something that interests you, for me, as you have read it was Paul the Apostle, for you it may be Ruth, King David, Abraham, Peter, it may be civilian life in the time of Jesus, it may be spirituality in the time of Jesus, or church life, it may be the book of Romans, or Acts, or Genesis, it may be the person of Jesus, the miracles of Jesus, it may be the authors of the Scriptures, such as Luke, why did he write? Who was he? It may be Christian religions today and how they differ? Different types of prayer? The list is endless. Whatever it is that interests you there is likely to be books about it and/or information on the internet to help you learn more. I must add a caveat here … it is important to consider where information comes from online (as well as in book format) because everyone writes for a different purpose and not all information is likely to be accurate.)
There is a great selection of Bible Study Guides online. Below I have included just a small selection of what is on offer. There are many more in each collection as well as different study collections I did not have space to include!
Eden.co.uk has a great selection including but not limited to:-
Life builder Bible Studies:
- Twelve Disciples
- Listening to God
- All around £4.90
Cover to Cover Bible Study:
- Armour of God
- 1 Peter
- All around £3.90
For Everyone Bible Study Guides:
- All around £4.90
Loads more also available at Amazon, Wordery, Abe Books etc. Just type Bible Study Guides in the search engine. You will also find free Bible study questions online.
Why not also try reading Scripture thoughtfully. It is easy for us sometimes just to scan through Scripture quickly in desperation to complete the Bible, but it is important sometimes to slow down and read slowly and mindfully. I have included a short example below of a passage and the type of questions you could ask yourself:-
- “Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him.”
Interestingly, this passage includes questions which you may use!
V27 “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and sea obey Him?”
Have a think about what Jesus’ ability to calm the seas speaks of the person of Christ?
What do you notice about the way Jesus stills the storm?
V26 “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?”
What do you notice about the way the disciples approach Jesus?
How does the way he reacts to the disciples speak of His nature?
Jesus calls them those of “little faith”, do you ever find your faith and trust in God is diminished and if so, what is happening when this is the case?
- “When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
How would you have responded to Jesus’ response and requirements? Would this information have affected your decision to follow Jesus? Why do you think Jesus responded to the disciples in this way?
Despite Jesus’ comments in v18-22, the disciples were keen to follow Jesus onto the boat, when do you find it easy to trust Jesus in this way?
Which of God’s promises/Scripture verses could you rest upon during your periods of difficulty?
A further question that always comes into my mind is, how was Jesus able to sleep amidst the storm? Bear in mind these were small fishing boats so it would have been filling up with water and Jesus would have likely been soaking wet!
I hope this has given you some ideas of what you can do next in terms of learning more about our wonderful Father. I have added below a prayer that you can use before beginning your study, of course, if you are comfortable, you can use one of your own!-
God, my heavenly Father, I long to learn more about you, I yearn to know you more intimately, your nature, your deeds, and your plans. Be with me and help me today as I strive to know more of you. Guide me to the chapters and verses that best equip me to your service today. I ask all these things in the most holy name of your Son, Jesus. Amen
Love and Blessings