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Blog / 30 Days to Growing in Your Christian Faith: An Interview with Max Anders

30 Days to Growing in Your Christian Faith: An Interview with Max Anders

Max AndersOnce you become a Christian, how should you methodically grow in your faith so that it strengthens and matures? Is it enough to simply say, “Read the Bible, pray, and go to church”? What are the basics of the Christian life and how should they be practiced day-in and day-out to build a solid foundation for a lifetime of spiritual growing in your relationship with God?

Bible Gateway interviewed Max Anders (@MaxAnders) about his book, 30 Days to Growing in Your Faith: Enrich Your Life in 15 Minutes a Day (Thomas Nelson, 2021).

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Why did you write 30 Days to Growing in Your Faith?

Dr. Max Anders: My advice for anyone who is sincere in their desire to grow spiritually is: Don’t try to live the Christian life without knowing what’s in this book!

It doesn’t work. I know. I tried.

I became a Christian in college where I was a drummer in a rock band. I had ample time and opportunity to develop attitudes, values, and behavior that didn’t translate well into the Christian life. I immediately transferred from the university I was attending to a Christian college and threw myself into the deep end of trying to live the Christian life.

But I didn’t have a game plan. I didn’t even know how to get started. It was trial and error, one step forward, two steps back. I eventually became so frustrated and defeated I quit trying. I remember sitting on a park bench on campus one evening thoroughly defeated, wondering why the Christian life didn’t work. The Lord helped me through that crisis, and I kept hammering the Christian life out of solid rock. By the Lord’s grace, I understand many things now that I didn’t then.

Today, 50 years later, if I could go back to young Max on the park bench for just ten minutes, I’d hand him this book.

Then, I’d say, “This information isn’t the most you need to know, it’s the least. It’s not the end of your learning, it’s the beginning. But don’t try to live the Christian life without knowing what’s in this book. After you learn what’s in this book, there will still be things you’ll need to know, be, and do, but this will give you the foundation you need for a lifetime of future learning.”

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, How to Understand the Bible in 1 Month: An Interview with Max Anders]

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Why have you organized the book using the categories Know, Be, Do?

Dr. Max Anders: I’ll never forget sitting in a Christian Education class in seminary, taught by master-teacher Howard Hendricks, hearing him say, “Ezra 7:10 says, ‘Ezra set his heart to study the law of the LORD, and to practice, it, and to teach his statutes and ordinances in all Israel.’ He studied to gain biblical knowledge. He practiced it to develop a biblical lifestyle, and he taught it as his biblical ministry. It’s the ‘Know-Be-Do’ principle.”

Those sentences changed my life. With just a moment’s reflection, we can see that a Christian can know facts about the Bible without having Christlike character or serving the Lord authentically. It takes all three. It helped me see what I needed to do to become a complete Christian.

Of course, just knowing the information in the book won’t make a person a complete Christian. However, while knowledge isn’t everything, everything rests on knowledge. You can’t believe something until you know it, and you won’t live it until you believe it. So, knowledge is where you must start. This book is a treasure trove of essential knowledge for the Christian life that can lay a foundation for a lifetime of further learning. I wouldn’t advise anyone to try to live the Christian life without knowing what’s in this book.

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Why is it important to remember as Christians that we live in this visible, temporal world according to invisible, eternal realities?

Dr. Max Anders: We live in a physical world, but there are spiritual realities that affect us that if we do not see…if we do not take into account, life can become very hard.

Scripture teaches that there are two worlds: one we can see and one we cannot see. A great trick of the Christian life is to live in the physical world according to the overriding spiritual realities. This is what it means to have an eternal perspective. We must see past the physical present into the spiritual future, and live in this world according to the truth of the next.

These two worlds—the visible, temporal world and the invisible, eternal world—are in conflict. In the visible world:

  • Truth is what I say it is
  • Emotions are reliable
  • Happiness is the highest good.

In the invisible world:

  • Truth is what God says it is
  • Emotions are not reliable
  • Holiness is the highest good.

These two sets of beliefs cannot both be true. Therefore, we must choose between them. The truth of the unseen, spiritual, eternal world must be accepted by the Christian as the ultimate reality. Life doesn’t work any other way.

That’s what Colossians 3:1-2 is talking about: “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”

Unless we abandon ourselves to an eternal perspective, we’re likely to be disappointed, discouraged, and even defeated by God’s unwillingness to bless our temporal plans.

How is mental renewal central to spiritual growth?

Dr. Max Anders: The goal of the Christian life is to be transformed into the character image of Christ (Romans 8:29). But simply wanting to be like Christ isn’t enough. Even working hard at being like Christ isn’t enough. We must strive for Christlikeness the way Scripture teaches us to.

The answer is hidden in plain sight in Romans 12:2, which says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

That passage tells us we can be living demonstrations of the fact that God’s will is good and acceptable and perfect, but only if we’re transformed. And we’ll only be transformed as our mind is renewed.

Therefore, as we move deeper and deeper into the brave new world of the 21st century, mental renewal is an increasingly important key to the Christian life.

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How does this book fit with your previous book, 30 Days to Understanding the Bible?

Dr. Max Anders: Earlier in my ministry, I taught Christian Education courses in several different theological seminaries. In classes, I would say, “We all agree that we should know the Bible. But what do we know, if we ‘know’ the Bible?”

The students would throw out suggestions of what we would know as I wrote them on the whiteboard at the speed of light. In asking hundreds of students over the years, the suggestions always fell into three overarching categories:

  1. You would know the facts of the Bible: people, places, events, chronology, etc.
  2. You would know what the Bible teaches: what the Bible says about God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, angels, spiritual warfare, future things, and other vital subjects.
  3. You would know how to live the Christian life: how to discern the will of God, how to walk in the Spirit, how to pray, etc.

With just a moment’s reflection, we see that you can know one of these categories of information without knowing the others. So, if you’re going to “know” the Bible, you must know all three categories.

When I first wrote 30 Days to Understanding the Bible, I attempted to include all three categories of information in it. However, I ended up with an initial manuscript of a thousand pages. I thought to myself, “that won’t do.”

So, I whittled and whittled, but eventually had to eliminate the third category altogether to get it down to an acceptable length. So, Understanding the Bible only deals with the facts of the Bible and what the Bible teaches.

This book now completes the triad, giving a tight summary of many of the things we need to know in order to be able to live the Christian life.

These two books together form a powerful foundation of essential knowledge for the Christian. One should not read one book without also reading the other. I’ve heard many testimonies that they’re helpful for mature believers and new believers alike.

What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway?

Dr. Max Anders: I love Bible Gateway. I use it all the time! It’s a powerful and easy-to-use search tool, enabling me to find just the right Scripture passage(s) when needed. And, comparing translations (two or three at a time) is as easy as the click of a mouse.


30 Days to Growing in Your Faith is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.


Bio: Dr. Max Anders is the author of over 25 books, including the bestselling 30 Days to Understanding the Bible, and is the creator and general editor of the 32-volume Holman Bible Commentary series. He has taught on the college and seminary level and is a veteran pastor. Max provides resources and discipleship strategies at www.maxanders.com to help people grow spiritually.

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Filed under Books, Discipleship, Interviews, Introduction to the Bible