From “How to become a Christian”: Chapter 15 – Step two in detail – believe
The apostle Paul is realistic enough to talk about the problem of how a person can come to believe or have faith if they do not believe already. In short, the answer he gives is that faith comes by hearing. That means by hearing the Word of God read out in public. Obviously, if you can read, faith also comes by reading the Word of God for yourself. Thus, if you have any difficulty in believing the essential ingredients of what needs to be believed, then set about seriously studying God’s Word for yourself. Then faith will come to you.
Why not begin by reading the gospel of Mark? It is the shortest and simplest gospel. Then read the gospel of Luke. It is the only gospel which claims to be in chronological order. Then read the book of Acts, which is the continuation of Luke’s gospel. It goes on from the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus through the first thirty or so years of the early church to show how the church developed. Then go back and read John’s gospel and then Matthew’s gospel. Each of these have very different styles, and were written for different audiences.
Then look at Paul’s letter to the Romans, which is very deep and concentrated teaching. Then just carry on right through the New Testament. Then go back to the Old Testament and read Genesis and Exodus so that you can understand better how the world was formed by God as our Creator. You will see how sin came in to the world when “the fall” happened. That brought God’s judgment upon us all, because we all share the same fallen nature as Adam and Eve.
The remainder of the Old Testament then shows how God slowly set about creating and developing the nation of Israel. He did so in order that His son could come as our Saviour and Lord, through being born as a baby in the land of Israel.
If you do not already have the faith to honestly say that you understand and believe all these things and genuinely trust in the Lord Jesus Christ to save you, then do not pretend to have it. Instead, diligently set about getting that faith by asking God for it persistently. Pray to Him and ask Him sincerely to open your mind so as to be able to understand the Bible. That is a prayer that God will delight to answer.
Then, set about methodically reading the Bible with the right heart attitude and you will find that genuine saving faith will come to you. You will gain understanding, knowledge and faith when you approach God’s Word in that sincere and teachable way.
However, you won’t get it if your heart is proud, casual or indifferent. God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, but not of those who are flippant, lazy, brazen, or don’t truly want to know.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)
So, be diligent and persistent. Set out to read and understand the whole Bible and to keep studying until genuine faith comes to you.