Last Sunday I preached a message from Acts 15 on “Getting the Gospel Right.” Part of my application involved the exhortation to know the gospel well. Specifically, I said that we should: Take time to meditate on, and even memorize rich, clear gospel passages in Scripture. Take the time to read—not just the latest thing going—but good (sometimes old) books on the gospel.
In this blog post, I want to help you get a jump start on that. Below are some important passages that take us deep into the depths of the gospel. This is by no means an exhaustive list! Merely, some of my favorites.
John 1:1–18. This might be my favorite passage in the entire Bible. Rather than a birth narrative, John’s account of Jesus’ life begins in eternity as he explains what it means that Jesus, the Son of God, took on flesh and came into this world for his people. Allusions abound to the book of Exodus in these verses, which help draw together our Bible as we see Jesus fulfilling his shadowy anticipation in the old covenant. How many can you see?
Romans 3:9—26. In these verses, Paul explains the sheer depravity of man as it is worked out in every part of our being—knowing, walking, speaking, living. Every part of humanity is tainted by the Fall. And yet, God has not left us without hope. Paul explains how God can forgive sin and still be just. He also drops an important theological word—propitiation—which gets to the heart of Christ’s work for his people. Every sentence in vv. 21–26 are jammed packed with theological and pastoral implications. Dwell there for a while.
Hebrews 8—10. It’s hard to pull out one section of Hebrews for study. The flow of his argument is smooth and very interconnected. However, these three chapters repay careful study. Much like John in the passage above, the author of Hebrews shows us how to connect the testaments in Christ. He shows us how much better Jesus is than the various people, patterns, and promises of the Old Testament that pointed to him. In chapters 8, 9, and 10, he specifically works through the logic of the priesthood and sacrificial system. These were great blessings under the old covenant, but pale in comparison to the new covenant in Christ.
Well, what about books? Again, nowhere near an exhaustive list. But all of these books expound on the meaning and application of Christ’s saving work—that is, the gospel.
We begin with Keller’s book, King’s Cross (in paperback as Jesus the King). This is a pastoral commentary on the Gospel of Mark. Excellent insights abound.
Next is The Cross of Christ. This modern classic a theology of salvation; specifically, the work of Jesus on the cross.
A similar, but easier to read work is Bridges’ The Gospel for Real Life. This is like an abridged Stott with more leanings toward application.
Treat’s book, The Crucified King is a work that looks at the intersection of Christ’s cross and kingdom. It’s on the heftier side, but well worth your time.
Finally, the oldest book on the list is, Christ, the Glory of the Gospel by Thomas Goodwin. This is a puritan work so the language is dated. However, it’s hard to beat his extended meditation on Col 1:26–27 for taking you into the depths of the gospel.
Many more passage and resources could have been suggested. I hope you find these helpful in better knowing and loving the gospel as you live for Jesus.