What is the first thing a new Christian should do to learn more about the faith? In this video, Dr. John MacArthur provides his practical advice to new Christians on how to grow in the faith.
The first step that a new Christian should take to learn more about what he or she believes is pretty simple: read the Bible. That is the starting point. I even suggest that before certain books, I would rather have someone become familiar with Scripture. You know, the Scripture has its own glory. We say God has glory. Christ has glory. The Holy Spirit has glory. But the Scripture has its own glory and its own inherent power and glory that rises out of it. And so, the first thing a Christian needs to do is feed on the bread of the Word of God. Man doesn’t live by bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:4).
And here is what I suggest: that you begin reading the Old Testament and read sections of the Old Testament on a daily basis and just read your way through it. But when you get to the New Testament, every day, pick a section. Let’s say you start with 1 John; read 1 John every day for thirty days. Just read it every single day for thirty days. By the end of thirty days, you are going to know what is in 1 John and you are going to know how chapter 1 connects with 3. You’re going to know the flow of it. It is going to be familiar. You probably visually will see where a verse is on the page of your Bible because you’ve been doing that. And then, when you’ve done that for thirty days, go to the gospel of John. Take seven chapters. Read them for thirty days, seven more for thirty days, seven more for thirty days, and in four months, you have really poured the gospel of John and 1 John through your mind. And you begin to realize that the Scripture explains itself; it is its own greatest commentator. If you did that for two and a half years, you could do the whole New Testament.
That’s what I did at the beginning of my serious approach to the Word of God; I became so familiar with the text of Scripture. If you listen to me preach today, you’ll know that I explain one verse with another one; typically I’m explaining this verse by that verse, because that is how I took it in. By reading repetitiously the Scripture, I began to see how it is its own best interpreter. That is where a believer needs to start. And along the way, you can be reading other good, I would suggest, good doctrine, books on doctrine, and books on the biographies of people whom God has blessed through history. But the primary thing is to read the Scripture. Read it repetitiously so you retain it.