There is a book titled, Christianity For Dummies, published by Wiley books. The “for dummies series” has sold millions of copies on a variety of topics to self-starters and motivated self-learners. Contrary to the title, if you are wanting to know something about faith for beginners, you are not a dummy. In fact, let me be the first to congratulate you! Wanting to know more is probably one of the most intelligent moves you can make.
What is faith?
According to Oxford Languages, “faith is complete trust or confidence in someone or something”. So you could have faith that a bridge will hold your automobile as you drive across it. Without this trust, you would not traverse the massive structure across water or canyons.
When I was a child, I trusted my dad, but not completely. He tried over and over to get me to jump into a swimming pool into his arms, but I was too afraid of the water to benefit from the security he was offering me.
But in this article, we need to know what faith is when it comes to God. Using the simple definition above, it would mean that we trust God completely. With this trust comes the courage to follow His direction through all kinds of circumstances, even when we don’t totally understand where He will lead us.
Basic teachings of the Christian Faith
Contrary to popular thought, those claiming to be “Christian” are not all the real deal. The term is thrown around loosely, meaning different things to different people. In today’s culture, the word “Christian” can mean any of the following:
- they were raised in a religious home
- they belong to a service organization that helps the poor
- they follow a set of rules
- they go to church
- they are a “good person”
- they are not some other “religion”
The truth is, Christianity is not a religion. It is a way of life. Real Christians are those who choose to follow Jesus Christ and His teachings. The word “Christian” comes from a Greek word meaning “follower of Christ”. If you do not follow Him, you are not a Christian. It is a simple concept that even beginners can grasp.
1. Basic teachings about God
Faith begins with settling who God is. He is our creator and triune in nature, meaning 3 in one. He is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Each has separate roles in creating, sustaining, and redeeming the world. God is eternal- has always been and will always be, unlike humans who were created and have a physical beginning and end. God is all-powerful, present everywhere, perfect in holiness, truth, and love. The triune God is spirit and personal.
(Genesis 1:1, John 1:3, 1:14, 4:24, Mark 12:29, 2 Corinthians 13:14, Deuteronomy 6:4, Matthew 18:18-20)
God the Son
Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God, which is to say, He is Himself very God; He took upon Himself our nature, being conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary; He died upon the cross as a substitutionary sacrifice for the sin of the world. He came back to life again (Christians call this rising from the dead), and later ascended into heaven. He now is our interceding High Priest. His death and resurrection achieved salvation for all who place their trust in Him.
(John 1:1-5, Colossians 1:15, Hebrews 9:24, romans 8:34, 1 Peter 1:3-5)
God the Spirit
The Holy Spirit is present in the world to bring conviction of sin and make man aware of his need for salvation. He lives in every Christian from the moment they place their trust in Jesus and provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right.
(John 14:16-26, 16:7-13, Ephesians 1:13-14, Romans 8:9)
2. Basic teachings about the Bible
The Bible, including both the Old and the New Testaments, is a divine revelation and the primary way that God communicates with mankind. The Scriptures in the original language are without error and serve as the final authority for everything relating to faith and life.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21, Proverbs 30:5, Hebrews 4:12)
3. Basic teachings about mankind
Mankind was created in the image of God but fell into sin, and, in that sense, is lost and separated from God. Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. Man cannot work for his salvation. It is by faith alone, through Christ alone. This again is a very simple concept that even beginners can grasp.
(Genesis 1:26-27, Romans 3:10, 23, John 3:3, Acts 13:38-39,, 4:12, John 3:16, Matthew 25:46, 2 Corinthians 5:1, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10)
How do you get faith as a beginner?
Romans 10:17 states that faith comes through the word of God, which is the Bible. Since the Bible is the primary way that God communicates with us, it makes sense that reading it or hearing it would plant the initial seeds needed to sprout faith for beginners. Furthermore, when we are seeking to know God, the Holy Spirit helps us understand the parts of Scripture that we need to know.
How does faith grow stronger?
Are you new to Christianity? Do you wonder what some of the first steps are to growing strong faith? Here is a beginner’s guide with 7 important activities. It will answer some of the questions about faith for beginners.
1. Daily Bible reading
The Bible is God’s love letter to us and He wants us to read it over and over. Because of the size of the Bible, you may wonder where you should start. A really good place for beginners to read is in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). The authors were some of the closest to Jesus and knew Him well. These four books of the Bible also contain many of the actual words of Jesus. There are Bibles that are called “red letter” editions which have all the words of Jesus printed in red.
You also may be wondering how much you should read each day. When you are just starting out, read until something stirs your thoughts and seems important. Write what it means to you in a notebook. If it creates questions, write that also. This then becomes a record of your reading progress, the growth of your faith, and gives you something to discuss with someone else who loves Jesus.
The Bible is the Christian’s foundation. Reading it is an essential part of faith for beginners.
While Bible reading is God talking to us, prayer is us talking to God. It does not have to be sophisticated. It does not have to follow any form or sequence, although there are many different prayer structures that people like to use.
Prayer is our time to thank God for what we are learning and all He has given to us. It is a time to tell Him our fears and ask for His comfort and direction. It is a time for us to tell Him what we are sorry for and ask for forgiveness.
Prayer is an essential part of faith for beginners.
3. Be part of a good church
You may be wondering how to find a good church and why you need it. Beginners in the faith need a church that loves Jesus. It is so important, that God warns not to “forsake the assembling of yourselves together, as some do.” It is in these regular gatherings that Scripture is studied and explained, important prayer needs are shared, and all are encouraged to live a Godly, faith-filled life. Beginners and well seasoned Christians can not neglect this.
With the social distancing that we now have, if you don’t already belong to a good church, it is a little harder to get established. You will need to be creative. Many churches have websites and online services. Many also have virtual small gatherings where everyone can share what they are learning, ask questions, and voice their needs.
Most church websites have a “statement of faith”, or “what we believe.” Look at that carefully. If they don’t believe that salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone, don’t get involved with them. If that process seems daunting, I would invite you to start out with my church that has services online as well as some virtual small groups.
A good church is an essential part of faith for beginners.
4. Surround yourself with people of like faith
Friends can make or break your faith, especially as a beginner. God intended for Christians to encourage each other. The book of Ecclesiastes talks about two being better than one. When you have someone reminding you of what God says, your strength to stand firm is multiplied. This is why during times of war, captives are often separated. Together they are a threat. Alone, they often lose courage and crumble.
Friends who love Jesus are an essential part of faith for beginners.
5. Read faith-based books
Charles Spurgeon once said, “Visit many books, but live in the Bible”. So once you are committed to reading the Bible, branch out into good, solid faith-based books. You can’t go wrong with authors such as John Piper, Dr. David Jeremiah, Focus on the Family, and Max Lucado, to name a few. They each have many good books that explain Scripture and how it applies to our lives.
6. Listen to faith-based music
There are many great Christian artists that love Jesus and have recorded music that is intended to bolster your faith. What you listen to has great impact on your ability to trust or not trust God.
7. Trust God when life hurts
I wish I could tell you that life would be free of problems once you become a Christian. The truth is, Christianity is not a guarantee that life will be smooth. Don’t let anyone tell you that your problems are because you don’t have enough faith. It is a lie.
The Christian life is not easy. But it is worthwhile. It gives purpose in spite of troubles. It gives you the strength and wisdom to get through those tough times. God promises to be with us in everything and to give us all that we need to survive spiritually, and emotionally. So even if we should lose our physical life, we will have a glorious eternity in the presence of God, free from pain, tears, and stress.
As you practice reading the Bible, praying, being with friends who love Jesus, reading faith-based books, listening to faith-based music, and are part of a good church, your faith will grow stronger. Likewise, your ability to trust God will increase.
A gift for you as a beginner in the faith
Growing in faith becomes growing in grace. The word “grace” has been made into an acronym for easy understanding. (original author unknown)
Here is a Scripture card for you to download as you begin this journey of faith. No email is required.
If you want to talk to someone about faith in Jesus Christ, you can call or text 888-NEED-HIM. You can also go to Chat about Jesus.
You can also download these bookmarks with the 7 activities for growing strong faith.
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