9Marks is doing a great job producing materials for young as well as mature Christians, and for those who stand behind the pulpit and those who sit in the pews. The First Step Series is aimed at those young Christians who are looking for guidance to grow and live out their faith in this world. As a part of this series, Training: How Do I Grow as a Christian? is a well-written book by Isaac Adams. It is a Christian’s training guide on how to become a strong and faithful Christian.
This book, Training, is creatively written with a few elements in every chapter making it an easy read. A story continues throughout the chapters which the readers can relate to. As well, there are convicting questions in every chapter that I’m sure would pierce the heart of many readers. These things make this book an interesting read.
In this book, the author talks about Personal Training and Public Training. He deals with Discipleship and the importance of the Bible, prayer, worship, church and evangelism in a Christian’s life.
Adams says that a disciple is a follower and a student who aims to follow Jesus and obey His commands. What does it look like? It looks like loving your God and loving your neighbour, says the writer! He then talks about the importance of Bible reading and prayer in a Christian’s life.
He says that the Bible is basic and vital for a Christian and not an option. He compares a Christian who tries to grow without reading the Bible to a plant that tries to grow without water and light. He talks about how God’s word benefits us in many ways and he gives some suggestions on how to read it. While emphasizing the importance of “context”, he explains how to read the Bible using a simple method: pray, observe, interpret and apply. He stresses the need for meditating on the Bible as a means to get from “Interpretation” to “Application” and he gives some practical, useful suggestions on how to do that.
In the chapter on prayer, he deals with what prayer is, why Christians should pray and how. He shows how prayer glorifies God, strengthens the Christian and helps in serving others. He reminds us that we have a God who cares for us and hears us. We also have Jesus through whom we can go to God and pray. Then he walks us through the “Lord’s prayer” in Matthew 6 showing us how we can practically pray.
One of the most misunderstood topics among many Christians is the topic of worship. Adams points out that it is not only a Sunday occurrence that happens before the sermon, but should be an all-day, everyday activity. The author helps us understand true, biblical worship. He says that worship is all about God since this God is One who is undivided in His being. Therefore, He ought to be worshipped by an undivided person, that is, with all our heart, soul and strength. That was quite helpful.
In another chapter, the author talks about the importance of being a part of a local church. He says, it is where the family of God gathers regularly. Then he explains what really happens when the church is gathered. The church is where God’s word is preached, believers are baptized, communion is practised, and people praise and pray to God. It is a place where Christians regularly attend to serve one another in obedience to God’s word.
Finally, he says that evangelism is the responsibility of every Christian. Adams says evangelism is, “sharing the gospel with unbelievers with the hope that they will repent of their sins and trust in Christ.” He elaborates by describing the gospel in four words: God, Man, Christ, Response. Many people think that sharing their testimony is sharing the gospel, but the author shows the difference between sharing our conversion story and, actually, sharing the gospel. He concludes with a thought that it is Christian’s job to share the gospel, but it is God who changes people.
Overall, the book is simple to read, easy to understand, and thoroughly biblical. The author covers the essentials for every Christian. I would encourage pastors to distribute this book to their church members. I also encourage all Christians to pick up this book and read it to know what they ought to do!