You’re Not the Point of the Gospels


Last week I had the privelege of hearing Jeff Purswell teach for an entire week on the gospels. During one of the sessions he made a very profound, very simple point: We’re not the main point of the gospels.

We often bring a very me-centered view to the gospels. We read in Mark about Jesus calming a powerful storm with an even more powerful word and then we think, “Yes, Jesus is the one who stills the storms in my life as well.” This may be true, but Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John weren’t primarily writing about a Jesus who meets our needs. They were writing about God stepping into time and accomplishing our salvation. In other words:

The gospels portray Jesus in order to elicit our faith and worship, not primarily in order to show us how he can meet our needs.

That puts a different spin on things doesn’t it? So the next time you sit down to read one of the evangelists, don’t let your first question be, “What does this tell me about me?” Try one of the following questions instead (all courtesy of Jeff):

  • What is there in these verses that causes me to stand in awe of Christ?
  • What is there in these verses that causes me to love Christ more?
  • What is there in these verses that demonstrates the all-sufficiency of Christ for a particular area in my life?

As you ponder the verses in front of you, ask God to show you more of Christ, not more of yourself. I think you’ll find Christ a much better subject to study!


  • Wendy says:

    Thank you for an excellent reminder. It is so easy for me to approach the Bible (not just the gospels) with a self-centered view of “What do I think this means to me?” or “How does this help me?” These may not be bad questions to ask, but the better question to start with may be “What does this passage tell me about God?” Perhaps if I go in with a God-focused questioned rather than a me-focused question I will get more of what God wants me to learn and less of my subjective interpretation of what I”m reading. Thanks!

  • D. Taylor Benton says:

    Seeing with new eyes, the Gospel that is God centered! We sell ourselves short so many times when we come to God’s powerful word being what I call a “me-monster”.

    Thank you so much for that reminder, it truly is a refreshing to the deepest points of our souls when we realize how Christocentric the Gospels are and the reality of the earth shattering and history altering work of God in Christ on our behalf giving us unmerited righteousness and abundant grace! Hallelujah!

  • Ron Reffett says:

    Hey there Stephen!

    I agree, I so often go to the word and look through it to see how I can get help for another mess that I have made or I’m looking for an answer in the midst of another “storm”. When in reality I should be looking for the one that calms the storm and is sufficient for every need that I have both the ones that are felt and the ones unbeknownst to me.
    The gospels were never meant to serve our self centeredness, they are to reveal the wonderful good news about who God is!
    It is incredibly difficult to keep that perspective as Jerimiah put it, our hearts our deceptive and desperately sick (Jer 17:9)
    Thanks for the great reminder that it’s not all about me, I truly long to know Him more!


    Ron Reffett

  • Bret Carroll says:

    Thanks for this post.

  • Marshall says:

    I agree with what you’ve said and with much of what the others said in the comments here.

    one of the best ways to change that mindset is to think about how what I learn can help others. It’s all others-centered application.

  • David Porter says:

    Wonderful post!

    I am currently reading Jonathan Edwards’ “Religious Affections”.

    His second true affection concerns the beauty of Christ:

    I appreciated your comments in this vain.

  • Stephen Altrogge says:

    Wendy – “What does this tell me about God?” is a great question to start with. After all, isn’t all of scripture about God?

    D. Taylor – Have you seen Brian Regan’s routine on the ‘me monster’? It’s unfortunate but we often take that into our Bible reading.

    Ron – Sometimes it’s just hard to believe that it’s not all about us, isn’t it?

    Brett – Glad it was helpful.

    Marshall – I agree somewhat, but I often think that the most helpful things for others are when we can share our glimpses of Christ. Is that what you meant.

    David – It’s hard to beat Edwards…

  • BethAnn Laub says:

    great post…really something to think about!

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