Teaching Christ from the Old and New Testaments

By Ed Stetzer

We take this approach in The Gospel Project. The Gospel Project starts with theology, drives to mission, while taking a hermeneutically-responsible approach to the question, “How does this part of the scripture point to God’s grand plan?”

Since Jesus is the center of God’s plan, we often (when appropriate) take people back to what God is doing in Christ. You do not read into what the Holy Spirit inspired the author to write (that’s called eisegesis — reading into the text). Instead, we believe in reading the text from the perspective of Jesus on the road to Emmaus. Jesus showed the Bible is not a series of isolated stories or passages, but a narrative that leads to him. That’s why we ask, “How does this passage fit into God’s plan?”

Trevin Wax explained that we should ask, “What is distinctively Christian about the way I am addressing the topic/passage?” He explained:

Here’s the question that will lead you back to the gospel. The distinctively Christian thing about Christianity is Jesus and His grace. It’s the good news about how He died on the cross for our sins and rose from the grave on the third day …

If we preach the story of Moses, for example, without ever pointing forward to our Passover Lamb (Jesus Christ), then we are preaching the Old Testament much like a rabbi, not like a Christian herald of the gospel. On the road to Emmaus, Jesus told His disciples that the Old Testament pointed to Him.

So, you teach Proverbs as what they are — pithy truthful sayings for common sense living. However, we live even those through the power of Christ, who is our Wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30). Or, David and Goliath is not about David’s lucky shot, but instead is about how God used the little things to show his power — and we can rely on God in the midst of difficulty and trust, ultimately now, in Christ. I like how Broadus puts it: All the scriptures are “seen in the light of Christ Jesus.” They are not all referring to Jesus, but all must be read in the light of what God has done in Christ.

So, someone occasionally will say, “You are talking too much about Jesus.” I’m with Hobbs, Broadus, Sweet, and Viola on that.

Let’s make much of Jesus.

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer is President of LifeWay Research, one of the best and most-quoted Christian research organizations in the world. He has planted churches in multiple states; trained pastors across the US and on six continents; and taught at 14 seminaries. Author or co-author of 12 books, Stetzer is a leading voice among evangelicals. He is a contributing editor or columnist for several publications, including Christianity Today, Outreach Magazine, The Christian Post, and Facts and Trends.