2002-07-30 - Tools for the Growing Christian
Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ.
Today's question: "I just thought that I would write to you and ask you a more 'difficult' question. At least to me. I am not new to being a Christian, or the Christian faith. In fact, I've been attending church and accepted Christ when I was 9 (I'm 20 now).... I've tried several attempts to rejoin my walk, bought a new study Bible, and went to bible studies and Sunday school. But for some reason, there is just no satisfaction. I've had a really hard time staying with anything. I'm even going to church, although I've made it every Sunday. Maybe there's a lot of guilt. It's almost like I want to dig deeper into my Bible. Iti's like God is calling me back, but almost as if I can't read fast enough to keep up with Him. I've searched and searched for a Bible study that is in-depth enough for my satisfaction, while still being able to understand it and putting it into a perspective that would go with today's society. But I can't find one without having to spend a lot of money. I was wondering, I guessL Is this something that is in my head, or do you think that God is really calling me? Are there any really, really good study guides out there for me to get my grubby hands on? Let me know all of them. I'm desperate. I have this feeling inside me and it's bugging me. If you could help, I would appreciate it so much!"
I am answering this question, because I think it nails one of the very reasons why we send out these devotionals. Our hope is to encourage and strengthen the household of faith. Your question is right along the lines of what we are seeking to accomplish. Essentially you are asking, "What is out there that can help me grow in my walk with Christ?" There are several books that every Christian should seek to acquire, and I would like to highlight a couple of them today.
I would suggest that you get a decent Bible commentary. There is none better for practical insight than Matthew Henry. It is solid for depth and insight and yet affordable. As you read God's Word, read Matthew Henry also for application and explanation.
I commend JC Ryle's work on Holiness. Maybe it is just me, but I can never finish the work when I try to read it. At some point, I reach "over-conviction" phase and have to put it down.
If you have a desire to really go hard core into a study of the Gospel of salvation, you should master John Murray's book "Redemption Accomplished and Applied." It is a small work, but it is not small in clarity and insight into the work of Christ in redemption. B.B. Warfield's book, "The Plan of Salvation" is also worth a read along these lines.
No Christian should pass through this life without reading John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress." Next to the Bible, it is the most published book in the history of the world. This leads me to Bunyan's autobiography, "Grace Abounding," where he laments his ill-spent youth. Christian biography can be very insightful, and Bunyan would be a great place to start that study. Two other biographies you might consider would be Tim Shenton's work on Christmas Evans, an imperfect man who God used greatly. Also, there is a work on Richard Baxter, who was an incredible influence in his life on others. The jails in the town where he was pastor were simply empty.
There are other places to pick up books cheaper than your local bookstore. If you are interested, I have listed the stores at this webpage Christian Fellowship Devotionals - Tim's Favorite Links
Soli Deo Gloria,