Review: Gospel-Centered Teaching

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Wax, Trevin. Gospel-Centered Teaching: Showing Christ in All the Scripture. Nashville: B&H Publishing, 2013.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Readability: Easy

Though this book is short, it is chock full of helpful material. While it can be read in an afternoon, it will take a lifetime to master its content.

If you are looking for the next thing for your Sunday School or small group, the latest strategy, the newest methodology, sure fire ways to grow, etc. this book doesn’t fit the bill. However is you want to move beyond technique and get to the root of what must take place for lives to be changed, this is the book you need. Here is the thesis of the book from the back cover:

It’s Jesus who changes lives, and the goal of your Bible study is to continually reintroduce people to Him.”

To that I say, “Amen.”

Trevin notes that many who participate in Sunday School and small groups, both teachers and learners, acknowledge that something is often missing. The answer often given as to what is missing is “depth.” For some, this means depth of information. For others it is depth of application. For others it is depth of missionary zeal. To this Trevin answers,

“You see, we sometimes get so busy thinking that people need more information or better application that we forget that our main task is to lead people to exultation. That’s a fancy word for “worship.” We exult – we delight in the Savior we exalt. Exaltation of the Savior leads to exultation of the saints. The Bible is ultimately about Jesus, which means that Bible study ought to lead us to worship Him.”

Trevin fleshes this out for what this means for how we deal with the information, application, and mission elements of our Bible study. If you are familiar with the Gospel Project curriculum, you will find this book unpacks the teaching strategy that lies behind that.

To give you a taste of what you will find here, I offer these important questions that Trevin encourages us to ask about our teaching:

  1. How does this topic/passage fit into the big story of Scripture?
  2. What is distinctively Christian about the way I am addressing the topic/passage? (Would this be true if Jesus hadn’t died and been raised?)
    1. Is there anything about my treatment of this Old Testament text that a faithful Jew could not affirm?
    2. Is there anything about my treatment of this New Testament text that a Mormon could not affirm?
    3. Is there anything in my application that an unbeliever off the street would be uncomfortable with?
  3. How does this truth equip God’s church to live on mission?

I found this book to be a great resource to re-center me on what I ought to seek to accomplish in my preaching and teaching. I commend it to your reading and encourage you to give it to anyone who teaches in your church.

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