You’ve made the decision to surrender your life to Jesus. Wow! Are you in for the journey of a lifetime! No, really. As you grow in your relationship with Jesus, you will learn that becoming mature in your Christian faith is a lifelong adventure, full of new discoveries you will make about God and yourself; and full of things He will show you as you grow. It’s truly amazing!

You may be wondering, "Where do I begin?”

One of the best places to start is by reading God’s Word, the Bible. The points below should be used as a guide for understanding the purpose and characteristics of the Bible. I encourage you to not only read the points, but also ask any questions you may have. You can reach out to me anytime at [email protected].

Ready? Let’s go!

The Bible:
The foundation and guide for the Christian life is the Word of God, the Bible.

In it is the key to salvation for every part of our life—for our spirits, our souls and even our bodies. After all, God is about giving us a full life and He is interested in every part of yours!

It’s also extremely important to establish your faith and what you believe on what the Bible says. It is the inspired Word of God and carries this promise for those who believe it:

"Therefore whosoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house: and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock." Matthew 7:24-25

So test everything against the Bible. Whenever you have questions, look for the answers in the Word; they’re there. Always go back to the Word. If you don't understand something, reach out to a Christian leader who can help you interpret what’s being said.

Why the Bible?
In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 it says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

The word "inspiration" means "breathed out by God". Rephrased, this verse says, “all scripture was breathed out by God and is inspired and profitable for teaching, conviction, correction, instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Would you feel comfortable repelling from the top of a cliff with a tattered, thin rope? Of course not (you may not want to do it not matter what! But you get the point). You'd want to know that you had the right equipment to safely and properly repel, right?

That’s what this verse is saying, and why the Bible is so important…so that you can be equipped for every good work. The Word of God is the primary thing that will equip you for doing what is truly good work for those around you and in building your own faith.

The Bible is Alive!
The Bible is the only book that can be read over and over, and still bring new insights and understanding each time you read it. There are no limits to what we can learn if we apply ourselves to the study of God’s Word! Jesus said:

"It is the spirit that quickens; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." John 6:63

There are two ways to learn spiritual things. First, we can learn mentally. We take things “in,” think about them and come to certain conclusions. Learning at this level alone will always lead us into error when it comes to spiritual things, because spiritual things are discerned at a spiritual level!

Second, we learn by direct revelation of the Spirit of Go, the Holy Spirit. He comes to quicken in us the things we know and to teach us things that we don’t! This happens by a “quickening” of the things we read in the Word or by Spirit-inspired teaching. The things we think we are hearing by direct revelation and the things we are taught must line up with the whole word of God.

Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

When the word of God is applied to our lives, it is capable of cutting out unwanted areas and replacing it with the life of God. This type of transformation can only be done by the work of the Holy Spirit.

Reasons For Studying The Bible:
The Bible will keep you from sin. Psalm 119:9-11
It is a lamp unto our feet, lighting the way we should go. Psalm 119:105
The Bible is a guide to, and equipper on, the way of life. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
The word cleanses us. John 15:3, Ephesians 5:26
The Bible causes people to live fruitful and prosperous lives. Psalm 1:1-3
To rightly divide the word and not be ashamed. 2 Timothy 2:15
The word is the Sword of the Spirit. Ephesians 6:13-17
Because faith comes by the word. Romans 10:17
Because we are destroyed for a lack of knowledge of the word. Hosea 4:6
By it we receive hope. Romans 15:4
It contains everything we need to live a godly life. 2 Peter 1:3-4

The Bible seems so intimidating. Where should I begin?
If you’re unsure about where to begin, you need to understand that the Bible was written by many people who were directly inspired by God over a long period of time. It is broken up into different types of writing. Let’s talk about that before you decide where to begin reading…

When reading the Bible, it is important to understand what category of writing you are reading. For example, the Bible is made up of 66 ‘books’ — these are the names of the sections in the Bible. But they aren’t all the same type of writing. Here’s how the Bible is broken up, from start to finish:

Old Testament - there are 39 books in the Old Testament. They are the first 39 in the Bible.

There are 4 basic categories of the books found in the Old Testament:

The Law - the first 5 books (Genesis to Deuteronomy)
History - the next 12 books (Joshua to Esther)
Poetry - the next 5 books (Joe to Song of Solomon)
Prophecy - the following 17 books (Isaiah to Malachi)

New Testament - there are 27 books in the New Testament. They are the remaining books.

The New Testament is basically broken up like this:

The Gospels - 4 books (Matthew to John)
History - 1 book (the book of Acts)
Letters - 21 books (Romans to Jude)
Apocalyptic - 1 book (the book of Revelation)

As you can see, there are a lot of different categories of writing in the Bible. So, as you read, it is important to know what type of book you are reading. This will help you when studying what is being said, understanding how to apply it to your life, and getting to know God better.

And that is the main goal of reading the Bible: to know God better.

We hope this guide is helpful to you and are excited for your new life in Christ!