Lifeway Christian Resources’ new Bible study, The Gospel Project, draws its focus from The Baptist Faith and Message.
In the last sentence of the Scripture section, the BF&M states: “All Scripture is a testimony to Christ who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.”
According to Trevin Wax, managing editor of The Gospel Project, this served as the starting point for the new three-year age-wide curriculum, the first Lifeway has introduced in more than a decade.
“The main emphasis is Jesus Christ, who He is, and what He has done for us,” said Wax. “It’s centered on how all of the Bible tells us this one over-arching story of redemption about what God has done to save us through the work of Jesus Christ.”
This approach has stirred the curiosity of more than 9,000 churches that have signed up for a free download of the curriculum’s first quarter lessons.
In March, Lifeway hosted dozens of bloggers, authors and pastors during a live webcast with well-known pastors Matt Chandler and J.D. Greear.
This event resulted in some online buzz about The Gospel Project as several writers provided live-blogging coverage. During one point of the webcast, the event was one of the most popular topics on Twitter.
Led by Wax and General Editor and Lifeway Research President Ed Stetzer, The Gospel Project is designed to unify an entire church under a single Christ-centered curriculum.
“The goal of The Gospel Project is to provide a theologically driven study that points people to Jesus,” said Wax. “The Gospel Project shows that the gospel is central to our daily lives. Not that it just saves us, but that it also sustains us.”
Over a three-year plan of study, each session immerses participants – adults, students and kids – in the gospel through every story, theological concept and call to missions from Genesis to Revelation. Separate study plans have been written for adults, students and kids to provide the proper focus and depth appropriate for each age group.
For example, The Gospel Project for Kids follows a chronological timeline of Bible events, while The Gospel Project for Students focuses on biblical theology, apologetics, missions and the overall story of Scripture.
Also, in the kids’ version of the curriculum, short videos and accompanying music tell the Bible story each week. Wax said this helps children learn memory verses by heart. Other activities and crafts highlight the details and storyline truth of each lesson, while parent resources help families discuss lessons at home.
For students and adults, the curriculum’s scope and sequence builds upon the basics of a systematic theology, within the framework of a biblical theology, said Wax.
“In other words,” Wax said, “we show how we get our doctrines, our theology, our application and how we get that from the biblical storyline. It’s important for us to know the biblical storyline because that’s what then helps us understand what our mission is as believers.”
Wax said the first question curriculum writers asked when approaching biblical text was, “What does this text teach us about God?”
“The first question can’t be, ‘What’s the moral of the story?’ Because we’ve approached the Bible that way for years, by the time they’re in sixth grade, kids are conditioned to think the Bible is a set of loose morality tales and that it’s really about them. Instead we want every story we tell to answer, ‘What does this tell us about God?'”
Wax said this makes for a vitally important difference in approach.
“We have to make sure we don’t get the cart before the horse in matters of application and study. That’s what we mean by theologically driven – we’re starting with God because He’s the starting point.”
Frank Page, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee president said, “I’m excited about Lifeway’s new in-depth Bible study, The Gospel Project, that will help our people understand how Jesus ties the entire Bible together. Resources that lead adults, students and even kids through theological and missional concepts can only strengthen Southern Baptists’ effectiveness in reaching the world for Christ.”
Bible study resources will be available in multiple formats, such as print and downloadable, as well as e-reader and mobile app formats.
Go by The Gospel Project’s booth in the exhibit hall to learn more. Samples of the new Lifeway Bible study are also available at GospelProject.com.