Selecting a Bible curriculum to use in your homeschool can be challenging. Finding an appropriate homeschool Bible curriculum for high schoolers presents additional issues. Striking the balance of solid scholarship, accessible language, and conveying the big ideas without getting lost in a sea of heady theology isn’t easy. I agreed to take a look at the new book The Jesus of the Gospels: An Introduction to see if it might be something for homeschool families to use.
I received this book for free in order to review it. I am being compensated for my time to write this review. All opinions and content are my own except where I am clearly quoting the publisher or author.
The Jesus of the Gospels
The Jesus of the Gospel: An Introduction by Andreas J. Kostenberger is a new book from Kregel Academic. (If you aren’t familiar with Kregel Academic, you can check them out via their new Kregel Academic Blog.) The back cover describes the book as “a reader-friendly guide to the life and teachings of the Jesus of the Gospels.” I think this is a very accurate description.
I appreciate what Kostenberger says in the Preface about why he wrote this book:
My aim with this volume is not to break new ground but to provide you with a practical tool for reading the Gospels in keeping with their intended purpose – that is, as relaying good news – and to get to know Jesus better, or even for the first time.
The book is readable. Even though it is full of solid content, it doesn’t read like a textbook or book of theology. It’s very easy to sit down with it and keep reading without even realizing how much you’ve read. The style is engaging and accessible for high schoolers and young adults.
Learning About Jesus Through the Four Gospels
The book is divided into five chapters after the Introduction. I appreciate how Kostenberger gives a clear picture of what each Gospel author was setting out to accomplish when writing.
- Chapter 1 – Situating This Book in the History of Jesus Research
- Chapter 2 – The Good News according to Matthew: Jesus the Jewish Messiah, Descendant of Abraham and David
- Chapter 3 – The Good News according to Mark: Jesus the Authoritative, Miracle-Working Son of God
- Chapter 4 – The Good News according to Luke: Jesus the Compassionate Healer and Savior for All People
- Chapter 5 – The Good News according to John: Jesus the God-Man and Revealer of God the Father
The various sections are clearly outlined in an easy-to-understand format. The design of the book is pleasant and doesn’t overwhelm the reader with endless sidebars and extraneous information like so many books seem to do now.
The 462-page book offers a solid overview of Jesus in the Gospels. It also has many footnotes and additional references so that anyone who wishes to take some rabbit trails or dig deeper on any of the topics would be able to do so.
It is important to point out that this is not a Bible study book or a textbook in the traditional sense. There are no blanks to fill in or questions to answer at the end of each chapter. Rather it is a thoughtful and readable look at Jesus in the Gospels to be used in conjunction with the Bible. It is actually a true living book, to borrow a phrase from Charlotte Mason. It’s clear the author enjoys writing and loves sharing the Gospels and Jesus with the reader.
I also wanted to mention since we’re discussing this as a textbook, that the book is neither a paperback nor a hardcover book. It is something called a gritty laminate cover. It is neither gritty or a laminate, but it is a sturdy book cover. And I love the richness of the artwork they selected for the cover.
In the back is a Thirty-Day Gospels Reading Plan as well as an Epilogue in which Kostenberger shares more of his own experience in meeting Jesus. It’s a lovely reminder that the Holy Spirit is at work when we share the Gospel with others and that many come to Christ as adults. For those of us who grew up in the church and don’t remember life without Jesus being the central part of it, this is also an important reminder as we seek to share the love of Christ with those around us. Not only did Kostenberger’s book content encourage me, but hearing the personal story of a New Testament scholar and homeschooling dad who came to Christ as an adult did as well.
I encourage you to check out The Jesus of the Gospel: An Introduction for your high schooler, college-aged student, or even for yourself.