My faith in Christ is really important to me- in fact, it’s the most important thing in my life. I know many readers of this blog are also Christians and so I thought I’d share some of my favorite resources. If you’re not a Christian, this is a great post to look over and click on some of the links to see what Christians actually believe.
The central message of Christianity actually isn’t “be a good person” or “treat others how you would like to be treated”. Those are implications of what is a much larger story called the gospel, or “good news”. The Bible, which is God’s Word to us, tells us that God created us to have a relationship with him, but we damaged that relationship by sinning against him. We rejected his rightful rule over us as our creator and disobeyed his laws, wanting instead to be rulers over our own lives and live however we like. This “cosmic treason” deserves eternal punishment and separation from God, but out of love he provided a way for us to be reconciled to himself. At the right time, he sent Jesus, who was fully God and fully man, to live the perfect life in submission to God that none of us have lived. Jesus was not deserving of death but died on a cross in the place of everyone who trusts in him for salvation – and then rose from the dead to show his victory over sin, death, and Satan. He died in our place if we believe in him- that means he got our punishment and we get his perfect righteousness! In order to have a restored relationship with God, Jesus says we need to “repent and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). This means to turn away from sin (disobeying God) and believe that Christ’s death is sufficient to pay our debt. This frees us to walk in newness of life and experience true joy, peace, and love. Things are not going to be perfect in this world affected by sin, but believers in Christ are looking forward to what is to come when there will be no more suffering or death, when we will see God face to face and dwell with him forever (Rev. 21-22).
That’s a basic overview of the central message of the Bible, which is all (even the Old Testament!) about Jesus. If this intrigues you, or maybe you’re curious how Christianity is different from any other religion or why the Bible is reliable, I’d love to talk more with you about it! Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is also a helpful website that explains the gospel in many different languages and gives the bible reference for each of the truths claimed. Now, on to resources:
First, the most important thing you need is a copy of God’s word. I like the ESV Bible but the NIV is also a good translation. If I’m having trouble with a passage, I will read it in a paraphrase like the NLT, or check a study bible or commentary.
It’s helpful to supplement your scripture reading with good books and thoughtful articles and podcasts by Christian leaders and Bible teachers. I do want to pause here and say none of this is a substitute for sitting under the regular preaching of God’s word. If you’re not part of a local church, I would strongly encourage you to join one! Become a member and be accountable to fellow Christians – don’t just be a casual attender on Sunday mornings. We aren’t meant to live this life alone (Heb. 10:24-25).
Here’s a list of some of my favorite resources:
John Piper/Desiring God– Anything by John Piper is golden. Desiring God is a ministry with many of his sermons, articles, books, and podcasts for free.
Tim Challies– I look forward to reading his daily roundup emails each morning.
The Gospel Coalition– Great website for articles on a variety of topics. Their podcast and conference materials are also good resources.
Jen Wilkin– I love her books as well as her bible studies (1 Peter is my favorite).
Nancy Leigh DeMoss– I listen to her podcast every day! She’s also written several books.
9Marks– Whenever we move, we use their search when looking for a church in our new city.
Dr. Constable’s Commentary– In-depth free commentary on every book of the Bible. It’s a PDF so I can quickly access it on my phone or computer.
Memverse– my favorite tool for Scripture memory.