As a believer, it is not uncommon to have thoughts such as “Why am I losing faith in God?” or “Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?”. Many times, we may feel distant from God and thus may try unconventional approaches to grow closer to God whether it is through spending some time out in nature, retreats, meditation, etc.
However, if we look at John 1:1, we see that the Word itself is God, that God Himself is found in the Word. Therefore, the best way to grow closer to God is through His Word, knowing and understanding it. Now, there are 66 books and over 30,000 verses within the Holy Bible.
This can be intimidating for most of us; how could I possibly understand and retain all of this content?
Because of this, many of us may resort to a particular book or a few books that are efficient in helping us to grow closer to God. Because different believers have different areas in their lives of faith that they want to work on, I will actually list out some books that can be helpful in getting closer to God, each with a slightly different approach. I hope that you can find one that speaks to you:
The Four Gospels
These are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These four books are described as “synoptic gospels” because they actually record the same period of time when Jesus carried out his ministry for about three years at the time of the First Coming. These books essentially contain Jesus’ teachings regarding the Kingdom of Heaven and how one can become a believer who can enter this Kingdom of Heaven, the many miracles that Jesus performed, and the much persecution and struggle that Jesus faced at the hands of the Jews and the Pharisees and teachers of the law. The gospels can not only give hope and guidance to us believers but also allow us to understand the sacrifice of God and Jesus for our sins to be atoned.
This book records the lives of the apostles, the martyrs who gave their lives for the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ. Acts describes in detail the many steps that the martyrs took, traveling from one place to another without ceasing, in order to spread the good news of Jesus in hopes of helping others believe in God and this same message. This book also allows us to understand the mindset, attitude, and life of a true believer who devotes their life to righteousness and how even through hardship, we hold on to the Word of God and our faith for strength and guidance.
These books include Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, Peter, John, and Jude. The epistles are, essentially, letters from the apostles to the early Christian churches at that time.
These books record words of warning and guidance on ethics, and ultimately show the love of the apostles toward the rest of the early believers at that time. Although there were many quarrels happening within the churches, the apostles wrote these letters with the heart of God and Jesus, to teach brothers and sisters how to live in a way that is pleasing to God. Moreover, it is important to note that apostle Paul was somebody who was originally a Sadducee, a fervent persecutor of Christ and his followers. Even seeing how, by the power of God and Jesus, he changed from being a persecutor to a believer through his letters to the churches is truly something that can strengthen the faith of any believer.
Why Not Just One Book?
Yes, I did not just present one book, but this is because I believe that different books can help believers who may be experiencing different struggles and may even have different areas that they want to strengthen in their lives of faith. A lot of the scripture found in the books above provide the much-needed guidance and instruction in times when we are unsure of whether we are doing the right thing in God’s eyes, or comforting verses that may be the perfect pick-me-up during those difficult, trialing times. If there were particular books that stood out to you, making a reading plan and having a journal or notebook to write your thoughts, reflections, and new discoveries can ensure that you are intentional when reading God’s Word.
This being said, there are so many other books within the Bible that were not covered by the few books that I mentioned. What about them? God must have included them in the Holy Bible for a reason, right? We can think of the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, as God’s entire story throughout the past 6,000 years. We can think of the importance of the entire Bible in this way: to become closer to someone, one typically needs to spend more time with that someone and get to know the deeper things about that person.
What truly makes a person who they are is usually made up of their past experiences, their struggles, their background, their family, their dreams and aspirations, their purpose and goal, etc. Within the Bible, God Has recorded many, if not all, of these topics about Him. The Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, depicts the detailed story of God with His people throughout the eras. Within the Bible, a believer can find God’s heartbreak, His joy, hope, and will. In a sense, it is like God’s diary, through which a believer can discover the deeper things about Him.
Understanding the Entirety of the Bible
The Bible, although some of us may have read fit from beginning to end, it may still seem like just another book. It may seem like reading the Bible only leads us to understand historical events and instructions for us to live as good believers. Needless to say, it is difficult to truly come to understand God deeply through His Word, unless someone who is knowledgeable explains it to us. In Acts 8:26-40, we see that an Ethiopian eunuch who was rich still humbled and lowered himself to realize that one with knowledge of the Scriptures had to explain Scripture to him in order for him to fully understand its meaning. It is beneficial to not only read the Bible but to deeply study it, but this can be intimidating as we may not know where we could even start from.
Although there are many Bible studies available, I wanted to introduce a particular one that has helped me grow in understand and faith in God’s Word and God Himself.
Bible Study For All is an organization that provides believers with resources such as 1-1 Bible study, small groups, and even large classes where they can study the Bible with many other fellow believers. Anyone can sign up for such opportunities and even read interesting articles and uplifting verses that can encourage us as we go on in our day to day life of faith.