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February 11, 2011

Naming a New Curriculum

A couple of months ago, I wrote about a new gospel-centered, theologically-driven curriculum I am helping develop here at LifeWay. We've put together an Advisory Council to speak into it. We are very thankful for the input (still ongoing) from leaders including D.A. Carson, Matt Chandler, James MacDonald, J.D. Greear, Eric Mason, Juan Sanchez, Collin Hansen, Kimberly Thornbury, Joe Thorn, Danny Akin, and Jay Noh. We met with members of the council in Dallas and Chicago this month and received helpful feedback and great insight into this curriculum.

Yet, we have not yet settled on a name for this curriculum. The working title was originally Telios and we've recently been calling it GospelEPIC. But, we are not 100% sure. So I need your help. Take a look at the description of this curriculum and tell us what you think we should name it. Is GospelEPIC a good choice, or would you suggest something else?


A new curriculum that will provide the basics of a biblical theology in a systematic way over the course of three years through frequent retellings of the overarching storyline of Scripture (in two formats: Creation-Fall-Redemption-Restoration and God-Man-Christ-Response).


1. Deep, but not Dry.

  • We're seeking to be theologically robust and yet very accessible to anyone who studies this material. We want to change the definition of "deep" to mean more than obscure Bible facts or practical tidbits for daily living. Instead, by "deep," we mean "going deeper into the gospel and its implications until it confronts the idols of our hearts."
  • One of the ways we will succeed at providing curriculum that is deep and compelling is by elevating participants' view of the Scriptures, so that they will subsequently engage the Scriptures faithfully on their own. We understand that how we treat Scripture will influence the way participants study Scripture. Therefore, our desire is to model a text-driven approach to biblical exposition and theology.

2. Christ-Centered.

  • We don't want a week to go by without Jesus being present in our lessons. God is the primary actor in the grand narrative of Scripture, and the gospel of Jesus Christ is the climax of this story.
  • Though we seek to be Christ-centered, we will not force gospel categories or incorporate the cross into lessons haphazardly. Instead, we hope to approach the Old Testament in a hermeneutically responsible way that follows the model of Jesus on the road to Emmaus: all the Scriptures testify to Christ. We will approach New Testament ethics and commands by seeing them as implications that flow from the gospel announcement of Christ crucified and raised.

3. Story-focused.

  • Being Christ-centered naturally brings our focus to the overarching Story that the Bible tells in four parts: Creation / Fall / Redemption / Restoration.
  • Many Christians are familiar with certain Bible stories, but they are not always sure how the stories fit together into the Bible as a whole. By focusing on the grand narrative of Scripture, we hope that this curriculum will help us connect the dots and think as Christians formed by the great Story that tells the truth about our world. We also believe this approach will provide a hope-filled outlook on our world because of the future God has promised His people.

4. Mission-driven.

  • Telling the story of the Bible is impossible without leading to mission, as the story of the gospel reveals the heart of our missionary God and His desire to save people of every tribe, tongue, and nation.
  • Weekly gatherings are not the goal of the mission; they are the means by which we connect with one another and learn God's Word so that we are equipped to love God and neighbor while spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. The goal is not to fill our heads with theological truth but to fuel our hearts with passion to join God on His mission to bring people to Himself. Keeping a focus on how the gospel leads us to mission is a crucial aspect of how we apply the Bible to our lives.
  • One way we hope to facilitate a mission-driven emphasis is by encouraging participants of GospelEPIC to collaborate with likeminded churches in carrying out the Great Commission and living according to the gospel's implications. Many times, we consider mission in terms of individual calling. We hope to keep the mission emphasis ecclesiological, so that churches will think of ways they can make a difference locally and globally - proclaiming the truth of the gospel in word and demonstrating the gospel in deed.

So what do you think? We are seeking to provide a resource that is theologically robust, gospel-centered, focused on the Grand Narrative of Scripture, and mission-driven. Does GospelEPIC work? What title suggestions do you have?

Update: In light of the response in this blog, we have dropped GospelEPIC as a title and here are some of the options now.

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Naming a New Curriculum