I said a line in a conversation about baptism with a man when he and I were debating. He argued, “If it were that important he would have mentioned it in every book in the New Testament.” I responded by saying, “You must understand, some books of the New Testament are written to people who want to know God and others are written to people who want to know God more.”
Those words have replayed in my brain repeatedly through the years, and I believe them now more than ever. There are two underlying assumptions in the New Testament, if not the entire Bible. The words written in our scripture are for two groups of people.
1. For those who want to know God. There is this fundamental understanding that what is written on the pages of the New Testament is for people who have a spiritual desire. The words are not recorded to convince you that God exists. They assume that if you pick up the Bible, you have some desire to know the God found in those pages.
2. For those who want to know God more. Many of the letters Paul wrote that are found in our New Testament were written to Churches who already had a relationship with Jesus. Paul wanted them to live with a deeper level of commitment to their Lord and Savior. They are not introductory works of faith, but next steps for the believer.
These two pieces of information are important to understand. If you pick up the Bible and read it, there will be little value if you have no desire to know God or know him more. Sermons, lessons, small groups, and all forms of teaching about the Bible will have little effect if you do not want to know God or know him more.
This collection of books is not the place to find passages that confirm what you already believe. Generally, they will challenge you in your thinking about God, yourself and others. Scripture is not a nice bunch of stories to teach moral lessons. The New Testament is the place where we read about God and his work in the world. We absorb the truth, not for the sake of knowledge, but to transform us into the image of Jesus.
My encouragement to you is two-fold. If you want to know God, then I challenge you to read the New Testament. Start with a Gospel account and then the book of Acts before moving to a letter from Paul. Also, if you are already a believer and you want to know God more, then read the scripture. Pick any book of the New Testament, especially the letters, and learn. Finally, if you have no inclination toward the Holy, just ignore your Bible. It will make no sense to you anyway.