Recent days have seen a voluminous amount written on the Gospel. Books, articles and conferences abound on the question of, “What the Gospel is?” and “What does the Gospel demand?” While many resources in the past few years have come out that aim to answer those questions not many have come out that seek to help small groups and even fewer to help small group and Sunday school teachers focus their teaching on the Gospel.[i] This is why I’m thankful for Gospel-Centered Teaching Showing Christ in All the Scriptures by Trevin Wax.
Here’s a fly by overview of the book: Chapter one emphasizes the importance of getting “the message right, and God will work through a variety of methods. But miss the message, and the best methods in the world won’t bring about transformation” (7). Here he seeks to help his readers think through misunderstandings about depth by examining depth as going deeper, information, and application. He then rightly states that “The Bible is ultimately about Jesus, which means that bible study ought to lead us to worship Him” (17). Chapter two calls readers back to the Gospel through understanding first, how it is the power of God for salvation (26), sanctification (31), and then seeks to answer the question, “What is the Gospel?” by showing the “gospel’s context (the storyline of the Bible) and finally to the gospel’s purpose (creating the church)” (39). Chapter three seeks to examine the story of the Bible through the lens of creation, fall, redemption and restoration (48), and then moves to explain why we need the Bible’s storyline (51-58). The chapter four seeks to answer the question, “What is distinctively Christian about the way I am addressing this topic or passage?” (75). The point of the question is that there should be something distinctive about our message- namely that we are grounding our application in the indicative (what Christ has done) rather than on the imperative (what we are to do). To put it another way the point of this chapter is to ground the application of our teaching in the finished work of Jesus and then move to show how His work applies to all of life. The final chapter emphasizes how the Gospel teaching should compel the people of God because of the finished work of Christ to mission.
Gospel-Centered Teaching is a very helpful book. One of the things I appreciate about Trevin’s writing is that it is clear, biblical, pastoral and practical. Trevin guides his readers in this book through many of the problem areas that many small group leaders have encountered in a way that challenges what they think without making them feel like he is attacking them. In a lot of ways I felt as I was reading this book that I was sitting down and having a conversation with Trevin about what it means to be Gospel-centered in my teaching. While I haven’t had that privilege this book provides a close up picture of what that conversation would look like.
Gospel-Centered Teaching is a very helpful book that will help small group and Sunday school teachers and anyone involved in preaching or teaching of any kind to ground their life and ministry in the Gospel. Furthermore, I think this is a good book for Christian writers and bloggers to work through as it will help them to ground their writing and blogging in the Gospel. Whether you are a blogger, writer, church officer or lay person, Gospel-Centered Teaching has something for you. This excellent book takes you into the depths of the Gospel in order to ground your life and ministry in the storyline of the Word of God. I highly recommend this resource and pray the Lord will use it powerful to help small group leaders and individuals who read it to grow deep and wide in the Gospel.
Author: Trevin Wax
Publisher: B & H (2013)
I received this for free from B & H book review program for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
[i] It should be noted New Growth Press has an excellent resource on the Gospel and the Christian life and the Gospel and Community with leader and participant guide for small groups that I recommend checking out.
Dave Jenkins is happily married to his wife, Sarah. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, the Host and Producer of Equipping You in Grace Podcast, and is a contributor to and producer of Contending for the Word. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021), The Word Matters: Defending Biblical Authority Against the Spirit of the Age (G3 Press, 2022), and Contentment: The Journey of a Lifetime (Theology for Life, 2024). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.