Basic Building Blocks for Beginning Growth
These are beginning steps and they are helpful steps in the process of growing in Christ.
Get a Bible. If you don’t own a Bible, come by the church office and we would be happy to provide you one, free of charge. Feel free to take one of the Bibles you find in the back of the pews in the Sanctuary. No growth will take place without your personal interaction with God through His very word.
For translations, we recommend those that translate the original languages of Scripture more literally. We typically use the New American Standard Bible. The English Standard Bible, and the New King James versions are very faithful translations to use in both Bible reading and Study.
Read the Bible. Determine a time and place to read and pray each day. What time of day and where would be the best time for you to spend fifteen minutes to an hour reading the Bible and praying? Is that early morning, late night before you sleep? A quiet spot at home, a specific coffee shop, at work in a break room, or in your car during a lunch hour? Find the best time and place where you can read the Bible and spend a few moments praying through what you have been reading.
Find a time to read the Bible and pray with your family, if you are married. Choose a time when all of you can be together regularly. Read a psalm and talk about how it applies. Read through the passage to be preached on Sunday and think about what it means and how it should be impacting your family.
Use a Reading Plan. Reading through the Bible will give you a big picture view of Scripture as a whole. The more often you read through it, the more you will see how it all fits together. Consider one of these plans that will guide you in reading through the entire Bible.
Find a friend to meet with regularly for conversation about what you are reading and studying. Pray with them about how you are both applying what you are taking in from Scripture. It may be your spouse and/or a good brother or sister in your church who is willing to meet together regularly to encourage one another.
Don’t beat yourself up if you happen to miss a day. God saves us and grows us by his grace - which means we never deserve it and we cannot earn it by our efforts. Our efforts are tools of his grace. When you miss a day, choose to pick it up the next day. When a particular day did not feel as special as previous, don’t let it worry you. Growth happens over time. Passages you have read or studied during the dry seasons may actually bear fruit in the future when you do not expect it.
Study the Bible. Reading and studying are two different elements of Bible intake. Bible study is slowly and methodically considering the details of a passage or book in the Bible, while reading is travelling at a quicker and more broad pace through the Scripture. Both are helpful.
For study, determine a specific book or passage to study. We would suggest studying the passage that will be preached each week at church. Consider joining the Sermon Study Equipping Class where you will utilize inductive Bible study questions that will guide you through a careful and thoughtful consideration of the passage that will be taught during our morning gathering. Be sure to review each week’s “Preparing for the Sermon” and “Preparing for Sunday” articles found on our website that will assist you in being spiritually prepared to make the most of the Lord’s Day worship.
Perhaps in your daily reading you could keep a running list of questions from passages. Consider studying these. Or when it is offered, consider taking the “How to Study the Bible” Equipping Class that will guide you through a method of study you could use on your own to study any book of the Bible from start to finish.
Find a specific time and place for study. Maybe you could consider an hour a day or an hour on Saturday, or thirty minutes before you go to bed each weekday evening. Whatever works best for you, choose a period of time and a place where you can concentrate study.
When you study, keep some of these questions in mind:
- Who wrote this book and to whom did he write it? What do I learn about each of them?
- What word(s) or phrase(s) are repeated or seem to be really significant in this book or passage? Where else are they used in the surrounding section or in the book?
- Which words need to be defined more clearly or leaves me with specific questions?
- What did the author want the audience to do with what he has said? How would that theme relate to you, your church, your culture, non-Christians, or all Christians?
- What should be your response to what you have learned?
Consider memorizing verses of Scripture. These could be taken from your reading or study. Perhaps you would feel open to memorizing whole sections of Scripture in order to remember them in context. Work on a verse until you have it down perfect before moving to the next and then review them regularly. Here is a helpful plan to assist you in memorizing Scripture.
Pray. Choose a verse or two to use in prayer. Whether from your reading or study on a given day, choose one or two verses you could use to pray for yourself and others. Consider how you could pray in concentric circles of relationship around you: your day, your spouse, children, church members, church leaders, friends, co-workers, neighbors, extended family, acquaintances, government officials, leaders of Christian organizations, and any other issues or people who come to mind.
Consider the Lost. Who in your life does not know the Lord? Begin praying each day for them. Look for and capitalize on an opportunity to talk with them about what you are learning, how you are growing. Look for ways to talk with them about their own thoughts about God and how to relate to him. Consider asking them to read the Bible with you; maybe through the Gospel of Mark, learning what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
Be sure to join a Growth Group, where you will build relationships with others around God’s word and our common relationship we share together in our local church.