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I am currently teaching a 6 week class on Christology at my church. I almost always write Bible lessons or curriculum myself. I do not like to use a guide written by another. More about that here. When I teach, I usually have my own private teaching notes, although I may have a handout for the class. But this time I wanted to do something different and make “my notes” available to everyone. “My notes” is in quotes as I adapted/developed them. I wanted them to be usable as a self-study curriculum, that someone could go through independently. Each participant in my class got a 3-ring binder with the 35 page curriculum in it, as well as 2 plastic inserts containing other articles and brochures about Christ. Below I will share “the introduction” to the curriculum:

This curriculum is about Christology, which is the theological term for the study of Christ. Study Christ? Perhaps that sounds cold and sterile to you. Aren’t we supposed to love Christ and have a relationship with him? Yes! But too many Christians have only a superficial understanding of Christ. A deeper knowledge of the person of Christ can help us to better love him, worship him, and live for him! The goal is to connect our heads and hearts.

Christology is generally focused on the person of Christ, that is the “who” of Jesus rather than the “what” of Jesus.

Who exactly was Jesus?  –versus–  What did Jesus do for us?

One theologian states: “The doctrine of Christ may include both a study of his person and his work. However, since his principal work was the Atonement, soteriology is usually separated from Christology.” [1]

Soteriology is the theological term for the study of salvation, which helps us better understand what Christ accomplished for us in his death and resurrection. Our salvation, or what Jesus did for us, is important!

However, if we get it wrong about WHO Jesus is – we LOSE salvation. This point can hardly be overstated! The same theologian further explains: “The doctrine of the person of Christ is crucial to the Christian faith. It is basic to soteriology, for if our Lord was not what he claimed to be, then his Atonement was a deficient, not sufficient, payment for sin.” [2]  – Yikes. That is serious.

In other words…Christianity is Christ. The person and work of Christ are distinct but cannot be separated. Who Jesus is informs our understanding of his work. An attack on his person affects his work. We cannot get it wrong about Jesus. Beloved AW Tozer stated:

“Bible-believing Christians stand together on this [the deity of Christ]. They may have differing opinions about the mode of baptism, church polity, or the return of the Lord. But they agree on the deity of the eternal Son. Jesus Christ is of one substance with the Father – begotten, not created (Nicene Creed). In our defense of this truth we must be very careful and bold – belligerent if need be.”[3]

If some of the concepts mentioned by Tozer are uncertain to you, this curriculum aims to make it clear. For now, deity refers to Christ being divine – God in human form. Christians can have differing views on certain things, but not such core beliefs of the faith.

Every aspect of our Christian life should flow from our Christology. Christology is not only something you think about; it is something you live. (I’m trying to allay fears that this curriculum will be dry and impractical to life!) However, sometimes Christians want to jump right into the practical. And if you bypass beliefs, it can lead to faulty living.

A professor shares: “I have heard many a preacher say, ‘Christians know all they need to know about the truth. It’s living it that is the problem.’ Yet year after year I discover that the students churches are sending to Bible college (their best young people) do not know that much. Certainly living the truth we know is challenging. But it is hard to be challenged by truth we don’t know!” [4]

Indeed, we can’t be challenged by truth we don’t know. I pray that this curriculum will expand your knowledge of the Truth (John 14:6) and help you contend for the faith. Contend? Jude 3 in our New Testament says: “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.”

This can make some Christians uncomfortable. They find defense of the faith too negative, embarrassing, or judgmental. Certain Bible verses such as Philippians 4:8 can be incorrectly applied; positivity must be maintained at all times. While we don’t want to have a critical spirit, that does not mean there is never a time to defend truth. In fact, many verses in the Scripture urge us to know what we believe and stand for it.

In Ephesians 4:13-15, the apostle Paul urges the believers to grow in their knowledge of God and to mature in Christ so that they are not like “infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.”

Unfortunately, there is an abundance of false teaching out there about Christ. Some of it is overt, while some is subtle – the false can have a veneer of truth to it. Some false teaching is indeed “out there” but some is sadly in the church too. As part of this curriculum, we will examine a message from a leader in a Protestant denomination and note heretical teachings about Christ.

There is no neutral ground with Christology. Speaking the truth can unsettle people, but Jesus unsettled people too. If we get it wrong about Jesus Christ, we lose Christianity.

ACCESS the entire curriculum for free HERE.

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[1] Charles Ryrie, Basic Theology (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 273.

[2] Ibid., 273.

[3] A.W. Tozer, Jesus The Life and Ministry of God the Son (Chicago: Moody Press, 2017), 23.

[4] Albert Baylis, On the Way to Jesus (Multnomah, 1986), 11.

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