On the road to Emmaus, Jesus tells the two mourning disciples He's walking with that the entire Bible is about Him, not just the words in red. The entirety of Scripture testifies to His work of redemption, which is why Jesus "beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself." (Luke 24:27) In other words, Jesus said it’s all about the gospel. Thus, the entire Bible should be viewed through the lens of the gospel. When the Bible is not viewed through the lens of the gospel we can be Bible-based, but not gospel-centered.
For example, if we take the story of David and Goliath and use it primarily as an example of how to overcome the giants in our lives like David did, then we’ve missed the point of the story. This story relates to the gospel because when David slew Goliath, he saved the entire nation of Israel. What did the nation of Israel do to earn this salvation? Nothing. David did it all. David temporarily saved the nation of Israel based upon nothing they merited, Christ saves us eternally from the true giants in our lives, our main problems – sin and its penalty. David is not our example in this story. He is an example of Christ. We are the nation of Israel. Simple enough for a child to understand and yet how many Sunday school lessons are Bible-based, but not gospel-centered? Aha, now we’re getting somewhere.
If we preach or teach David and Goliath (or any other Bible story) and our lesson can be uttered in a local synagogue without anyone batting an eyebrow, then we have not seen the story through the lens of the gospel.
That’s a short and simple answer to the question.
In the following weeks, I’ll post more examples of what it looks like to view the entire Bible through lens of the gospel and why it’s so vital to our Christian lives to view the Bible this way.