New Believer - Where To Begin

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Posts 99
Matthew | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 30 2017 1:31 PM

Jan Krohn:

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.

As Leviticus, Numbers, and the rest of the Hebrew Bible are the inspired, eternal word of the Lord, the only Bible that existed for Jesus and the disciples, and what Paul is referring to when he says that "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work," it would have never had occurred to me to think anyone would get stuck in it or overdose on it. I agree with the Psalmist's view of the Law:


      The law of the Lord is perfect,
      reviving the soul;
      the testimony of the Lord is sure,
      making wise the simple;
      8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
      rejoicing the heart;
      the commandment of the Lord is pure,
      enlightening the eyes;
      9 the fear of the Lord is clean,
      enduring forever;
      the rules of the Lord are true,
      and righteous altogether.
      10 More to be desired are they than gold,
      even much fine gold;
      sweeter also than honey
      and drippings of the honeycomb. Psalm 19-7-10 ESV

Leviticus is one of my favorite books of the Bible, not at all boring, and what Jesus is quoting when he answers what the two greatest commandments are. I don't have the time or the desire to go back and forth in this thread, that was not my intention at all, I was simply giving my honest advice to the question. I'll just say again that much confusion and bad interpretation and theology comes from not knowing the first two-thirds of the story. Almost the entirety of the New Testament assumes that one is thoroughly conversant with the Hebrew Bible.

Posts 1022
Keith Pang | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 30 2017 1:43 PM

Matthew:

Leviticus is one of my favorite books of the Bible, not at all boring, and what Jesus is quoting when he answers what the two greatest commandments are. I don't have the time or the desire to go back and forth in this thread, that was not my intention at all, I was simply giving my honest advice to the question. I'll just say again that much confusion and bad interpretation and theology comes from not knowing the first two-thirds of the story. Almost the entirety of the New Testament assumes that one is thoroughly conversant with the Hebrew Bible.

Actually Jesus’ response comes from Deuteronomy as well, not just Leviticus

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

Posts 99
Matthew | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 30 2017 1:46 PM

Keith Pang:

Matthew:

Leviticus is one of my favorite books of the Bible, not at all boring, and what Jesus is quoting when he answers what the two greatest commandments are. I don't have the time or the desire to go back and forth in this thread, that was not my intention at all, I was simply giving my honest advice to the question. I'll just say again that much confusion and bad interpretation and theology comes from not knowing the first two-thirds of the story. Almost the entirety of the New Testament assumes that one is thoroughly conversant with the Hebrew Bible.

Actually Jesus’ response comes from Deuteronomy as welll, not just Leviticus

Yes, of course it does, the Shema is in Deuteronomy 6:4ff. Good catch Keith!

Posts 1022
Keith Pang | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 30 2017 1:51 PM

Matthew:

Yes, of course it does, the Shema is in Deuteronomy 6:4ff. Good catch Keith!

Of course brother! 

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

Posts 17909
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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 30 2017 2:49 PM

Keith Pang:

Matthew:

Leviticus is one of my favorite books of the Bible, not at all boring, and what Jesus is quoting when he answers what the two greatest commandments are. I don't have the time or the desire to go back and forth in this thread, that was not my intention at all, I was simply giving my honest advice to the question. I'll just say again that much confusion and bad interpretation and theology comes from not knowing the first two-thirds of the story. Almost the entirety of the New Testament assumes that one is thoroughly conversant with the Hebrew Bible.

Actually Jesus’ response comes from Deuteronomy as well, not just Leviticus

Thankful for Bible Search that finds verses with Love and (God or neighbor):

Love (God,neighbor)

Shema is Deuteronomy 6:4-5

Searching for Shema included results in 

The Person and Work of Jesus Christ in Each Book of the Old Testament Seen in Its New Testament Fulfillment: An Emmaus Walk

The Shema: Spirituality and Law in Judaism includes

The fundamental requirement by the Halakha is for the Shema to be recited twice daily, once in the morning and once after dark. Tradition adds two more times for daily reading of the Shema: once before retiring, at bedside, and once in the preliminary devotions before the morning prayer (Shaḥarit).

 Lamm, N. (1998). The Shema: Spirituality and Law in Judaism (p. 5). Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish Publication Society.

The New is in the Old concealed. The Old is in the New revealed. Thankful for God's Love being alive in Old and New. Personally appreciate Psalms and Proverbs being part of daily devotions. For Psalms, like five per day: day of the month + 30 (e.g. 30, 60, 90, 120, 150). On the 29th day of the month, if month has 31 days, then do Psalms 119 on 31st day. Proverbs has 31 chapters.

Matthew:
Almost the entirety of the New Testament assumes that one is thoroughly conversant with the Hebrew Bible.

An example is the "last day of the feast" in John 7:37

Thankful can use Milestone Search of English Library without Bibles (Lang:English -Type:Bible) to find some conversant insights:

(day,feast) WITHIN {Milestone <Jn7.37>}

Keep Smiling Smile

Posts 2289
Jan Krohn | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 30 2017 3:02 PM

Without Christ's teaching, he would not know what to do with the Law.

For very good reason Paul didn't write, "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, and for salvation".

If the goal of his Bible study is salvation, then this can't be accomplished by reading Genesis through to Deuteronomy.

Again, a reading plan such as "OT for Dummies" would be helpful, just picking the passages relevant for understanding the NT message. I'd be surprised if such reading plan doesn't already exist.

As for the endless list of rules and regulations in the Law - not relevant in a believer's life (except for those explicitly repeated or implicitly alluded to in the NT).

Past IT Consultant. Past Mission Worker. Entrepreneur. Future Seminary Student.
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Posts 99
Matthew | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 30 2017 3:10 PM

Jan Krohn:

Without Christ's teaching, he would not know what to do with the Law.

For very good reason Paul didn't write, "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, and for salvation".

If the goal of his Bible study is salvation, then this can't be accomplished by reading Genesis through to Deuteronomy.

Again, a reading plan such as "OT for Dummies" would be helpful, just picking the passages relevant for understanding the NT message. I'd be surprised if such reading plan doesn't already exist.

As for the endless list of rules and regulations in the Law - not relevant in a believer's life (except for those explicitly repeated or implicitly alluded to in the NT).

I guess we'll agree to disagree brother. I encourage both you and he to read Psalm 119 in it's entirety and then for you to consider how your view of God's eternal Torah lines up with the Bible's account of it. Peace brother.

Posts 2041
GaoLu | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 1 2017 2:24 AM

The answer might include being aware about the culture in which a new convert lives.  For example, in a culture such as Cambodia which is predominantly Buddhist their may be no word for "sin" or such a concept, or the meaning may be unlike Western notions. Our Western notion likely follows a thread back to Sinai.  Not all cultures have that thread woven into their culture. There may not be one best way for every situation.

Here are resources that might help:

https://www.logos.com/product/52860/mobile-ed-mi102-current-issues-in-missions

https://www.logos.com/product/130853/mobile-ed-mi301-community-analysis-exegeting-culture-for-missions

Posts 975
JohnB | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 1 2017 3:59 AM

Gao Lu:
Not all cultures have that thread woven into their culture. There may not be one best way for every situation.

Absolutely correct. 

Also to think that the same culture exists with different sub groups  within in the same country (USA and UK included) AND within the same ethnic group is also a big mistake. 

Posts 754
David A Egolf | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 1 2017 12:24 PM

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!

Ask you friend whether they learn better by reading or by audio. Even if they do well with reading, they could augment their reading with audio.

If they do well with audio, then see if there is a regular time in their day when they could regularly listen to scripture; i.e., during a work commute.

Others on this forum could chime in with ideas on how to find inexpensive Biblical audio content.  The obvious would be to have him download the Logos 7 free package.  The Lexham English Bible audio can be downloaded to mobile devices selectively in order to avoid swamping the device storage.  This would allow listening when not connected to the internet and/or reduce bandwidth usage for phones.  The ESV audio, my choice, is only available online.  The ESV is only an additional $10. (You could gift it by talking directly to Logos staff online!)

An earlier post suggested a D.A. Carson series which would take your friend through the Bible on an introductory tour.  I cannot recommend a more suitable guide!

When they get their Logos 7 set up, then you can help him get a reading plan set up.  I believe reading plans can now be shared(?)  If so, then you could read along with him and encourage him.

If you don't mind Reformed theology, then I would recommend the free R.C. Sproul Crucial Questions series.  Each topic is dealt with in a short book. It is available on Logos and as pdf's.  Monergism.com is also a wealth of audio, video, and written material from a Reformed viewpoint.

Whatever you do, don't throw this stuff over the wall at him.  Instead, come alongside and take the opportunity to disciple.

Posts 1011
EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 1 2017 1:27 PM

Matthew:

As Leviticus, Numbers, and the rest of the Hebrew Bible are the inspired, eternal word of the Lord, the only Bible that existed for Jesus and the disciples, and what Paul is referring to when he says that "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work," it would have never had occurred to me to think anyone would get stuck in it or overdose on it. ...

...

Leviticus is one of my favorite books of the Bible, not at all boring, and what Jesus is quoting when he answers what the two greatest commandments are. I don't have the time or the desire to go back and forth in this thread, that was not my intention at all, I was simply giving my honest advice to the question. I'll just say again that much confusion and bad interpretation and theology comes from not knowing the first two-thirds of the story. Almost the entirety of the New Testament assumes that one is thoroughly conversant with the Hebrew Bible.

The question isn't whether these books are valuable, but what the most effective way is to introduce someone to God's word if they have little or no background with Scripture. The sermons in Acts show that the apostles approached each audience a bit differently, meeting people where they were.  Paul introduced the Athenians to the gospel a bit differently than Peter preached it to the Jews in Jerusalem on Pentecost, because they had no background in the Hebrew scriptures.  We're talking about doing exactly the same thing - meeting a non-Christian where they are, and feeding them with spiritual milk before asking them to eat meat.

Posts 79
Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 2 2017 8:58 AM

Although certainly the Bible is the best resource, it can also be an intimidating one and like some have mentioned...a novice can get lost in some of the winding paths (Leviticus for instance).  Personally, if I had an agnostic or a seeker or even a new believer, I would start them off in "The Story "https://vyrso.com/product/22017/niv-the-story-ebook  (I would buy them a paper version).  It summarizes a small portion of the storyline and the rest of the 98% is direct Biblical quotes put into chronological sequence.  This is a great introduction to the Bible...in an extremely accessible format for those with no prior exposure.  After that I would go with the Gospel of Matthew (great focus on Jesus' teaching) or the Gospel of John.  (Actually this isn't just hypothetical advice...I have used the Story with various people with little church background with good effect.)

Posts 5564
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Rich DeRuiter | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 2 2017 12:18 PM

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!

Where to start depends somewhat on the personality of the inquirer. I would start with one of the gospels. As was mentioned Mark is action oriented and short - great for folks who like to "cut to the chase." (though it lacks a good account of the resurrection). By contrast John is oriented toward a deeper and more spiritual understanding of Jesus. Luke is the careful historian, which also leads naturally into his sequel: the book of Acts. Matthew connects best with those who have something of a Jewish background. For a very logically or philosophically minded person, Romans might be a good first choice, or maybe a second book to read after one of the gospels.

Probably the best thing would be to have him read something and then discuss it with him. 

Obviously (I hope!), nothing will work at all without the Holy Spirit, so pray!

 Help links: WIKI;  Logos 6 FAQ. (Phil. 2:14, NIV)

Posts 1
Johnnie Kirk | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 2 2017 2:57 PM

A good readable Bible.

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