Reviewing “The Gospel-Centered Life in Exodus for Students”

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Author Kristen Hatton never thought she would be an author, but God began to lay the foundation for her writing long before she realized where He would take her. When her daughter was in middle school, Hatton started a small group Bible study for the girls in her daughter’s class. This experience, combined with her husband’s ministry to college students at Baylor University, gave Hatton unique insight into the minds and hearts of teenagers just as her own children were approaching their teen years. She began to write lessons for the girls she led, and in the years that followed, Hatton would write a teen devotional called Get Your Story Straight: A Teen’s Guide to Learning and Living the Gospel, as well as a gospel-centered social media study for girls entitled FaceTime: Your Identity in a Selfie World. (Find Rooted reviews of these books here and here.)

This month Hatton’s newest study, The Gospel- Centered Life in Exodus for Students: Study Guide With Leader’s Notes, has been released by New Growth Press as a part of their Gospel- Centered Life series. Exodus is a traditional Bible study, focused primarily on one book, but that doesn’t mean Hatton has changed her focus. Her primary objectives – to lift the gaze of teens from self to Jesus, and to help teens find their security and their worth in His love through close study of His Word – are as evident in Exodus as in her other books.

Exodus is a resource useful for small groups, Sunday schools, discipleship groups, or one-on-one study. Families could also use it for family Bible study. Each chapter explores a section of Scripture by first using an icebreaker question to get participants thinking, followed by an essay connecting the Scripture to a real-life application, and finally discussion questions and an exercise that applies the gospel to contemporary thinking. The questions are thought-provoking and the applications extremely practical.

Hatton focuses on Israel’s need for a Redeemer, and the ways in which God’s plan for that Redeemer is all over the details of the book. “We see the Israelites grumble, complain, disobey, worship false gods, and try to be their own Savior. Their sin is easy for us to see. What’s not so apparent to us is how we are just like them. We, too, do all those same things. They needed a Redeemer, and so do we.”

Readers will learn how to discern Jesus in the tenth plague, the wilderness, and the tabernacle. As their Bible literacy grows, so does their understanding of the gospel and God’s love:

We are covered and cleaned by his blood shed for us. This is the very picture we are given when Moses sprinkled the people saying, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you” (Exodus 24:8). They had promised to do all God had commanded and meant it with all their hearts, but perfect obedience was not something they could ever attain. It was Jesus, centuries later, who finally kept that promise. He became the only Israelite to perfectly obey God. And at the Last Supper he lifted his cup and said, “This is my blood of the covenant” (Mark 14:24).

Hatton demonstrates how the Old Testament and the New weave together seamlessly to give us a picture of who Jesus is and what His sacrifice means for us. The Gospel-Centered Life in Exodus serves as a valuable resource for youth leaders and parents to demonstrate to teens the crucial role of Old Testament study in developing a fuller understanding of our Lord and Savior.

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