As your experience of the Bible grows you will begin to hunger for greater and greater understanding. It’s no different to climbing a mountain. Even from the foothills the view is great, but you long to know what it’s like half way up, or perhaps even from the top. If you were climbing a real mountain you would enlist the help of professional climbers, people with experience who have been there and done it.
So it is important to read the commentaries and the “witness statements” of other Christians so that your understanding of the Word of God continues to grow and becomes an even greater inspiration in your life. If you want to get to that point of enlightenment where nothing scares you, each day seems like the greatest blessing, and there is permanent joy in your heart, then begin to look at the way others have got there.
My favorite is the “Life of Christ” by Fulton J Sheen, or Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost For His Highest.” The first of these is written as a chronological biography of Jesus’ life with a great many quotations taken directly from the gospels, and gives an insight into just why this “man” was simply the greatest person ever to walk the planet. The second is a daily read, a page of inspiration for each day of your life.
There are different commentaries for different levels. If you are a beginner, concentrate on basic “Help” books written by people who have recently experienced transformation in their lives, there are literally thousands on the market. Then gradually work your way into the deeper studies. It depends on how thirsty you are for this type of information. If you want a comprehensive view of what Christianity means, ready Grudem’s “Systematic Theology”, but this is heavyweight reading and only for the truly dedicated. Even so, it is extremely an satisfying read even if only taken a chapter at a time.
It is important not to dive in over your head. Don’t try and come to grips with complex theological issues, when all you really need is some anecdotal evidence of faith. Find your own level of interest. It’s not going to be of any use to you unless you can relate to what you are reading.
Also, read your Bible alongside the commentaries and follow up quotations by reading the context they were written in.
Another good tip is to pray over what you are reading and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. Remember, you’re not alone in your quest. There are thousands of angels watching your every step, egging you on. The prize is nothing less than eternal salvation, so read with interest and dedication. Perhaps it won’t be long before you start writing your own testimony as an inspiration to others.