Evangelical Christians sometimes talk about what the Bible is more than what the Bible does. In other words, our focus is on the inspired nature of the biblical text, not so much on what the inspired biblical text is intended to do. Don’t misunderstand—never for a moment should we waver on the truth of God’s inspired Word. If the Bible is merely a record of God’s interactions with people in the past and not the inspired, inerrant Word of God to us today, then we have no ultimate authority to submit to. We are left with our own whims and preferences instead of the unchanging, authoritative Word of God.
But let’s be clear. It’s not enough to participate in Bible study as if the purpose of our study is merely to know and love these inspired words. No. The purpose for which God gave us His Word is that we might be fully equipped to do His will. In a very real sense, we have not truly understood God’s Word unless we have begun to obey it. Head knowledge of the truth is not enough. Heart knowledge of the Truth-giver is not enough. At some point, the head and the heart must move the hands into service and the feet into mission.
Therefore, a gospel-centered teacher will seek to show how the truths of the Bible equip God’s church to live on mission. Doctrine does not exist for its own sake. We study the truths of God’s Word, so that our hearts may be engaged with our Maker, and our hands and feet be moved to action.
Teaching cannot properly be considered “gospel-centered” unless it has a missionary shape to it. Unless the truths of God’s Word are leading us to mission, we are just studying the gospel as a closed group of like-minded Christians, not an all-embracing group of fervent ambassadors for King Jesus. Miss the mission, and you’ve missed the point of gospel-centrality.
Adapted from Gospel-Centered Teaching (B&H Publishing Group, 2013)