I started studying the bible for myself some 10 plus years ago. This had helped me grow in the Lord. Being fed through pulpit preaching, reading books by Christian authors, etc was great but I was not growing strong enough. I had weak foundations because my knowledge of God’s word was weak!
About 15 years ago, which is about 15 years after I had accepted the Lord into my life and after I had encounters with the Lord (seeing visions in answer to my prayers, getting correction from God through the bible, etc), I began to question whether I will be in heaven with God if I should die suddenly in a car accident. I tried to tell myself that I must be saved and that I will go to heaven because I had prayed the sinner’s prayer and received the Lord into my life. However, I did not have the assurance in my heart. I was afraid! I was afraid that if I die, I would not be with God in heaven. This was because I had not been consistent and faithful in my walk with the Lord and that I have sin in my life – I had been bad! God cannot be pleased with me, He may even be angry with me and hence He may not allow me into heaven!
God used an acquaintance (at that time), she have since become one of my closest friend, who is a faithful prayer warrior to help me. She was faithfully bring believers she knew to the Lord in prayer.
Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
When she prayed for me she sensed the struggle that I was going through and without understanding the prompting that God put in her heart she asked me if I thought I was saved. You can imagine my surprise at that question! I told her that I must be saved because I prayed the sinner’s prayer to accept the Lord into my life…. and yet I did not have the assurance in my heart. She challenged me to give her an answer as to why I think I am saved when we meet again in 3 days. Not knowing where to turn to, I searched the internet with this phase, “Why am I saved?”, which then led me to search key words like “salvation”, “grace”, etc. These in turn led me to various bible verses that gave me the assurance for my salvation.
John 3:16-18 (NIV)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
Romans 10:13 (NIV)
For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
1 John 5:13 (NIV)
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
This experience opened my eyes to the fact that my faith was weak because I did not know the word of God well. The answer I needed was in the bible! I was saved by grace (unmerited favour), it is a gift from God. Salvation is not something that I had to work at. I did not have to be perfect to go to heaven. All I had to do was to believe that Jesus, the sinless Son of God, died on the cross for my sins.
This friend began to mentor me by doing a simple bible study booklet with me and by encouraging me to spend time with the Lord in prayer.
I now had assurance of my salvation but my knowledge of God’s word was still very shallow. I began to read the bible systematically, book by book. There were many things in the bible which I did not understand. So I went to a local Christian bookstore and bought Adventuring Through the Bible: A Comprehensive Guide to the Entire Bible by Ray C. Stedman and used this book to accompany my bible reading to give me an overview of each book of the bible.
When I finished (not sure how long this took me, maybe 2 years), I was ready to go a little deeper in my bible overview. I went to the local Christian bookstore again and found the New Inductive Study Series by Kay Arthur. I began to use these bible study booklets as part of my morning devotion, some days I miss, some days I get stuck on a day’s study because God was using it to speak to me, sometimes 1 day’s study becomes 2 days because I was running late and could not finish the day’s study. But it was alright as my journey with God is for a lifetime – there was no urgency, no rush, no deadline that I had to meet.
I still have not finished the entire series but these studies had really helped me grow in my knowledge of the word – to see God’s love, mercy and grace in His dealings with His people. From the bible, I could see that God’s plan is not limited to one person but that He uses every person as a different color to weave the entire picture in His tapestry. Sometimes He only provides enough information for that person to play his or her part and they have to believe God that He had a purpose for the “unreasonable demand” or that God will fulfill His promise to them through their children or descendants whom they will never meet. He also used different prophets to speak words of prophecies which sometimes they will never see come to pass; also none of the prophets receive the whole picture, God uses each prophet to prophesied a part of the story. Each one of us have a part to play in God’s story, when we faithfully play our part, the entire story will become a beautiful picture.
About 5 years ago, I joined a local church that that holds bible study classes using Precept Upon Precept materials by Precept Ministries, founded by Jack and Kay Arthur, and have since joined these classes.
Please follow this link (Bible Study) for other resources that I use for bible study.
If you have never prayed the prayer to invited Jesus into your life or if do not know whether you will go to heaven or hell when you die, I like to invite you to pray out loud the prayer in this link (sinner’s prayer). If you believe in the words that you have just prayed you have become a child of God and will be with God in heaven when you leave this earth. If you have prayed the prayer, please let me know in the comment below so that I can connect with you and welcome you into the family of God.