“I’m a Muslim and I want to understand Christianity.”

Q. Hello sir. I wish you are doing well. I have a question. I’m a Muslim and I want to understand Christianity and how the Bible works. How can I read the Bible? How do Christians believe in God? Can you suggest some books that can help me, please? Thank you sir in advance.

Thank you so much for your question and for your sincere interest. Let me begin with a simple suggestion.

Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, a professor at the University of Cambridge, once taught a course entitled, “On Reading the Bible.” He began by saying, “My first advice ‘on reading the Bible’ is to do it.” I’ll write a follow-up post shortly to suggest some more resources for you, but I wanted to respond to your question right away and begin with basically the same advice.

I’d suggest that you just start reading about Jesus in a book in the Bible known as the Gospel of John.

Christianity is essentially a matter of following Jesus—coming to know Him as Savior, Lord, and Friend, and becoming part of a community that seeks to live by His teaching and example. There are four books in the Bible, known as “gospels” (which means “good news”), that tell the story of Jesus’ life and explore its meaning. There are four of them because Jesus’ life is so rich in meaning that we need to view it from multiple perspectives simply to begin to understand it.

The gospels are found, in the traditional order of the biblical books, at the beginning of the New Testament. This is the second part of the Bible and it makes up the last quarter of it. The books in it tell about Jesus and his earliest followers.

The first three-quarters of the Bible is known as the Old Testament. (Testament means “covenant,” an agreement between God and people.) This part of the Bible tells how God worked to save humanity through figures such as Abraham and Moses. But Christians believe that God’s saving purposes reached their culmination in Jesus.

The Gospel of John is a remarkable book that explains the meaning of Jesus’ life against the background of the events and figures of the Old Testament. But it does this in a way that’s accessible to people of every time and culture. So it’s a great way to be introduced to Jesus while at the same time appreciating the context of his life on this earth.

If you do have a Bible, or can get one, find where the New Testament begins. The Gospel of John will be the fourth book in the New Testament, in the traditional order of the biblical books.

If you can’t easily get a copy of the Gospel of John where you are, you can read it online starting here. At this link, you’ll see several brown icons just above the text of the book, at the upper right. The one on the far right is for audio—if you click on it, you’ll be able to listen to the book being read out loud. The icon in the center, which looks like a wheel with spokes, gives you page display options. For the best reading experience, I’d recommend unchecking the boxes that say “footnotes,” “verse numbers,” and “headings.” Those are resources you can find out how to use later.

I trust you will have a great experience finding out more about Jesus through this story of his life. As I said earlier, I’ll write a follow-up to this post shortly to recommend some more things for you. Thanks again for your interest.

Author: Christopher R Smith

The Rev. Dr. Christopher R. Smith is an an ordained minister, a writer, and a biblical scholar. He was active in parish and student ministry for twenty-five years. He was a consulting editor to the International Bible Society (now Biblica) for The Books of the Bible, an edition of the New International Version (NIV) that presents the biblical books according to their natural literary outlines, without chapters and verses. His Understanding the Books of the Bible study guide series is keyed to this format. He was also a consultant to Tyndale House for the Immerse Bible, an edition of the New Living Translation (NLT) that similarly presents the Scriptures in their natural literary forms, without chapters and verses or section headings. He has a B.A. from Harvard in English and American Literature and Language, a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Gordon-Conwell, and a Ph.D. in the History of Christian Life and Thought, with a minor concentration in Bible, from Boston College, in the joint program with Andover Newton Theological School.

2 thoughts on ““I’m a Muslim and I want to understand Christianity.””

  1. Christianity is very simple to understand but “organized” religion has made it complicated.

    Start with the gospels. Matthew, John, Luke, Mark.

    They are different accounts of the same thing written by the men who witnessed it.

    There lies the heart of Christianity.

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