Welcome to the Family of God!
Becoming a Christian is the most important decision you will ever make and one that you will never regret. The angels in heaven, along with the Christians on earth, rejoice at your decision.
These next 52 days will be the most challenging ones of your life in Christ. God's gain is Satan's loss and Satan will be trying to drag you down anyway he can. Welcome to spiritual warfare. The best weapon you have against the devil is your Bible. You need to start reading it like it's going out of style. (It's not, by the way.) During the next two months you need to develop the daily habits of prayer and Bible study. These will keep you strong in your walk with your Heavenly Father.
Satan knows this as well and he despises all that you are going to learn from this study. He is going to work through your job, schoolwork, family, sports, media… anything and everything in his power to keep you from learning healthy spiritual habits. Determine in your heart right now that he is going to fail. Do not underestimate Satan and his forces of evil. He is not a fairytale. He is real. Demons are real and they will try to harm you spiritually, but do not be afraid. God will supply you with all you need to stand firm in your faith.
You and your Christian discipling partner will be learning from the New Testament for the next 52 days. Why 52 days? There are a couple of very good reasons why 52 days is appropriate. In the Old Testament book of Nehemiah the walls of Jerusalem had been destroyed and were lying in ruins. Nehemiah rallied the Israelites and in 52 days the walls were rebuilt. You are going to build a wall, a stronghold against Satan, your enemy, in the same amount of time.
There is another reason why this study lasts for 52 days. During this course you will read all of the New Testament at an average pace of five chapters a day. If you add up the chapters in the New Testament and divide them by five it comes to exactly 52. (Isn't that cool?) You will read about five chapters a day, though your assignments will vary between three and ten chapters because they are not all the same length.
It takes 18½ hours to read the New Testament for the average reader. Since we are spreading this out over 7½ weeks your reading assignments will take about twenty-one minutes a day. The rest of the daily assignments will require varied amounts of time depending on how much you want to put into it. You should allow no less than thirty minutes a day for your Bible study and prayer time. An hour is closer to where you ought to be.
Now, Satan will try to convince you that you do not have time to study your Bible. Ignore him. This investment of time every morning will help you get more out of the rest of your day. Make God first in your life and you will see your quiet time with God as a catalyst, rather than an interruption, in your schedule.
Establish a consistent time each day for your study. Morning is the best time. Even if you are a night owl, morning may still be the best time for you. The problem with doing your Bible study at night is that nights are frequently busy with other activities. We tend to find our head against the pillow before it dawns on us we have not had our quiet time yet. If you plan for a morning time with God and get interrupted, you still have the rest of the day to work it in. Some are able to make nighttime Bible study work but let me encourage you to first try the mornings, at least for the next 52 days.
On the first page of this study guide, fill in your name and phone number in the blanks provided. Under that, fill in the name and phone number of your Christian discipling partner. If you do not have a Christian partner yet, get one. An older Christian needs to be working through this study with you. There are assignments that you do together.
Now it is time to begin your first day. Determine right from the start that you are going to put your heart into each lesson. Do not miss any days, and do not try to work ahead. You should do one assignment every day until all of them are finished. Make an appointment with God each day and keep it.
The Lord has granted you a fresh start. This morning you are a brand-new person. Have you allowed that to sink in yet? Get your new life started right by having an awesome prayer and Bible study time today. While your baptism is still fresh on your mind you should write about your experience. In your notes write today's date in the top right-hand corner. You will start each day's assignment with the date to make sure you are not missing any days.
Now write down what your baptism meant to you. If you were baptized once before, explain why you felt like you needed to be baptized again. Use several scriptures to support your position and take your time. This will be valuable to you in years to come. If you have any doubts ten or twenty years from now, about whether you knew what you were doing, you can read this account and know for certain that you obeyed the gospel the way the Bible teaches.
Why did Jesus get baptized? He did not need to have His sins washed away. He said it was "to fulfill all righteousness" (Matthew 3:15). What does that mean?
Write down your thoughts in your notes and discuss it with your discipling partner before the end of the day. That way he or she will know you have started your first assignment.
Your first reading is Matthew 1-4. If you do not recognize all the names in the genealogy of Jesus don't worry about it. Later on, when you study through the Old Testament these names will take on more significance. For now, just read through them.