New Believer - Where To Begin

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This post has 33 Replies | 3 Followers

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Michael Kinch | Forum Activity | Posted: Wed, Nov 29 2017 4:56 AM

I am working with someone who as an agnostic but is not examining the claims of Christianity through some apologetic books that I have shared. Now wants to begin reading the Bible. Do you have any suggestions for resources to recommend or study plans?  Thanks!

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Mike Binks | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 29 2017 6:47 AM

Michael Kinch:

I am working with someone who as an agnostic but is not examining the claims of Christianity through some apologetic books that I have shared. Now wants to begin reading the Bible. Do you have any suggestions for resources to recommend or study plans?  Thanks!

Choose a 'thought for thought' translation so that the bigger picture can be observed eg New Living Translation or even the Good News Bible.

A good mix of readings can be found in there McCheyne reading plan. Which gets you through the Old Testament once a year and the New Testament and Psalm Twice a year. It takes about 20 minutes for four chapters or so.

Another good idea would be to read Tom Wrights 'New Testament for Everyone' along with the illustrations for each pericope.

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EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 29 2017 6:51 AM

The Gospel of Mark is often a good place to start.  It's short, it's action oriented and it covers the heart of the gospel message.  If you think they're up for something a bit longer, Luke/Acts takes the story through the early history of the church.  Even that's not a huge time commitment.

Posts 260
Jonathan Bradley | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 29 2017 7:01 AM

There is a great devotional like evangelistic tool for going through the Gospel of Mark with someone, but I cannot remember the name of it. It's one that you prepare for but don't use the book with the person. I have a copy at home and I'll link to it later today.

Posts 27
Julian West | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 29 2017 11:00 AM

He wants to read the Bible.  That is the goal.  Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

The concern is that he'll read it properly (that's a concern for all of us, believers included); this is where you come in with sound biblical hermeneutics to answer his questions and exposit what the Bible teaches and the implications of it.

No one can claim "Jesus is Lord" except by the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit inspired the Bible; the Holy Spirit convicts sinners.  We don't know the "Good news" if we don't know the bad news first.

Having said all that, I would begin at the beginning: Proverbs 1:7, the Gospel of John, and Genesis and Romans, at least the first 3 chapters.

I would suggest searching for Voddie Baucham's videos (free) for you and for your friend (Expository Apologetics and Why You Can Believe the Bible, to name a couple).

But before all this, pray first and pray continually.  God put you in this person's life--be the ambassador of Christ, the herald of the King of Kings he's called you to be!

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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 29 2017 12:36 PM

Michael Kinch:
Now wants to begin reading the Bible.

Thread => Can you recommend a reading plan for a brand new believer? has similar discussion.

Greek manuscript shows Ephesians written in top margin with blank line for addressee.

Keep Smiling Smile

Posts 776
JRS | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 29 2017 3:34 PM

Don Carson's The God Who Is There in either video or book format simply cannot be beat as an introduction to Christianity and as a fast romp through the Scriptures (14 lectures).  I personally like the video series as I find Carson a most engaging speaker.

Available from Logos:

https://www.logos.com/product/41681/baker-da-carson-collection  

https://www.logos.com/product/30961/the-god-who-is-there-finding-your-place-in-gods-story 

https://www.logos.com/product/41758/da-carson-sermon-archive 

The entire video series is available (for free) from the Gospel Coalition:

http://resources.thegospelcoalition.org/library?utf8=%E2%9C%93&query=The+God+Who+is+There 

How blessed is the one whom Thou dost choose, and bring near to Thee(Psa 65:4a)

Posts 1022
Keith Pang | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 29 2017 3:43 PM

The Gospel of John

Shalom, in Christ, Keith. Check out my music www.soundcloud.com/kpang808

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NB.Mick | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 30 2017 4:39 AM

Keith Pang:

The Gospel of John

I second that.

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Posts 1937
Mark | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 30 2017 5:41 AM

NB.Mick:

Keith Pang:

The Gospel of John

I second that.

I third that.  John 20:30-31

Posts 5248
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 30 2017 6:41 AM

John is my choice too but everyone is different, for example Muslims tend to respond best to the Gospel of Luke. I would suggest Jews would usually respond best to Matthew. I can understand the recommendation of Mark being very fast moving it perhaps is more in tune with a twitter generation, but the theology in John is strong and persuasive in my mind. 

-dan 

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David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 30 2017 7:52 AM

Gospel of John - greatest need of an unbeliever is to believe and John said

John 20:31 (CSB:2017)

31 But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God,, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

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Posts 99
Matthew | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 30 2017 9:11 AM

I would go the opposite route being suggested so far. We don't start a book, story, movie, play, song, etc. two-thirds the way through it, so why do we advise folks to do that with God's story of redemption? Have him start with Genesis 1:1 where the story starts, "In the beginning..." Jesus is a Jew, his disciples and followers were Jews, their Scriptures were the Hebrew Bible, and they worshipped at the Temple and at synagogues. The arguments they made for the Messiahship of Jesus were straight from the Hebrew Bible and it was expected that the hearer/reader knew the Hebrew Bible (whether it be in Hebrew or translated into Greek or Aramaic). I think it's fair to say that one of the reasons that the Apostolic Writings are so often misunderstood is that many lack the proper foundation of the Hebrew Bible (so-called Old Testament). Let's encourage folks to start "in the beginning" of the book so that they have a clue about what's going when they get to the Gospels. Just my opinion.

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 30 2017 10:05 AM

Matthew:
We don't start a book, story, movie, play, song, etc. two-thirds the way through it, so why do we advise folks to do that with God's story of redemption?

The Bible is not a book, it's a library it is not wrong to start in Genesis but it is equally not wrong to start in a Gospel. If the Bible were a CD it would be a compilation of Songs telling the story of God's people and singing praises to God by numerous artists. I do respect  and understand your opinion but wished to respond to it. 

-dan

Posts 99
Matthew | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 30 2017 10:36 AM

Dan Francis:

Matthew:
We don't start a book, story, movie, play, song, etc. two-thirds the way through it, so why do we advise folks to do that with God's story of redemption?

The Bible is not a book, it's a library it is not wrong to start in Genesis but it is equally not wrong to start in a Gospel. If the Bible were a CD it would be a compilation of Songs telling the story of God's people and singing praises to God by numerous artists. I do respect  and understand your opinion but wished to respond to it. 

-dan

Hi Dan,

All good brother, I'm not saying it's wrong to start in the Gospels, I'm just sating it makes more sense to start in the beginning of the story. Even if I bought a CD with a compilation of songs on it, I'd still start with the first song. 

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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 30 2017 11:06 AM

Matthew:
We don't start a book, story, movie, play, song, etc. two-thirds the way through it, so why do we advise folks to do that with God's story of redemption?

War Room DVD has special feature: War Room in 60 seconds with essential story overview, which provides important points to ponder plus play attention when viewing whole movie.

Thread => Can you recommend a reading plan for a brand new believer? includes:

Justin Gatlin:

My strategy would be a little different. I have been deeply shaped by the method found in Mastering the English Bible. I would have her read through Ephesians once a day (about a twenty minute commitment) for 6 weeks. I would study one chapter with her in depth each week. By the end of it, she will have been exposed to every major doctrine, lots of practical application and "accidentally" committed lots of Scripture to memory, just from exposure. When I have done this, I have printed out the book with wide margins and triple spaced, so they could annotate it. I give little assignments like "highlight every time the phrase 'in Christ' or its equivalent is used," to help guide their natural discovery. 

Another little assignment is highlighting every time "pray" or equivalent is used, which should fuel desire to read/search entire Bible looking for God's Love and redemption along with praying for spiritual understanding/growth (practical application of Ephesians 3:14-21). Thankful for Ephesians having who we believers are in God plus how to live (also worthwhile to revisit Ephesians periodically).

Learning/mastering Biblical Languages with cultural insights can also be practical application of Ephesians 3:14-21

Thankful for Visual Filter Highlighting so can "see" range of Greek verbal expression in many languages. Logos wiki has => Examples of visual filters

Bit off topic: Greek Trivia question is shortest numbered verse ? (two words)

Thankful for this friendly discussion albeit wonder if Christian Discourse would have been better (since primary forum focus is using applications and apps by Faithlife).

Keep Smiling Smile

Posts 1937
Mark | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 30 2017 12:36 PM

Matthew:
I'm just sating it makes more sense to start in the beginning of the story

This is a good point.  Many today lack the Christian world view and context.  So there is merit in this idea.  Depending on the person, this can be useful.  But the greatest lesson I have learned in life is the power of the Word of God.  It is a living book, and the Holy Spirit is able to touch a life when it comes into interaction with the Word of God.  The Gospel of John is still my first choice.  But I agree with the notion that it helps to have a context. 

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Keith Pang | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 30 2017 12:56 PM

Matthew:

I would go the opposite route being suggested so far. We don't start a book, story, movie, play, song, etc. two-thirds the way through it, so why do we advise folks to do that with God's story of redemption? Have him start with Genesis 1:1 where the story starts, "In the beginning..." Jesus is a Jew, his disciples and followers were Jews, their Scriptures were the Hebrew Bible, and they worshipped at the Temple and at synagogues. The arguments they made for the Messiahship of Jesus were straight from the Hebrew Bible and it was expected that the hearer/reader knew the Hebrew Bible (whether it be in Hebrew or translated into Greek or Aramaic). I think it's fair to say that one of the reasons that the Apostolic Writings are so often misunderstood is that many lack the proper foundation of the Hebrew Bible (so-called Old Testament). Let's encourage folks to start "in the beginning" of the book so that they have a clue about what's going when they get to the Gospels. Just my opinion.

Matthew, that is why the gospel of John is a great place to start because it does include the origin and summary of the metanarrative story of the Bible. Ultimately bringing it to how it all points to Jesus Christ. Also, the Gospels do not neglect the Old Testament but rather build on it, so going through the Gospels gives us a chance to reflect on how it all weaves into one grand redemptive story. Anyways there is not a one answer fits all sort of deal in my opinion, but the crucial question for a person is; who is Jesus Christ? The Gospel of John addresses that extensively and deals with the most important aspect of it all, will you believe in Jesus Christ? If not, then they are without any hope of salvation, that is what matters for each and every person. 

Shalom, in Christ, Keith. Check out my music www.soundcloud.com/kpang808

Posts 2288
Jan Krohn | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 30 2017 1:01 PM

Matthew:
Have him start with Genesis 1:1 where the story starts, "In the beginning..."

That's generally a good idea, but needs a lot of guidance, lest he gets stuck in Leviticus or Numbers due to boredom, or receives a massive overdose of OT Law.

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