A Gospel-Grasping Study for Students (Book Review)

Perritt, John. Mark: How Jesus Changes Everything. New Growth Press, Greensboro, NC. 2019. 128 pages.

The most important person you can introduce young people to is not the most famous musical artist or the most talented sports player. The most important person you can introduce young people to is Jesus Christ. But, in order to know Jesus Christ, you need to know His Word. In His Word, Jesus is introduced and His life is most detailed in the Gospel accounts. When you study those accounts, you begin to grasp the gospel of Jesus Christ. These realities are what drive Mark: How Jesus Changes Everything, a new study by John Perritt in “The Gospel-Centered Life for Students” series.

The Structure of the Study

This study is structured over the length of 12 lessons, each opening with a big idea along with a Bible conversation, article and discussion, exercise, and wrap-up with prayer. The study mentions up front the importance of reminding Christians of the gospel from a book classified as a Gospel. It does a solid job showing the importance of seeing how Jesus changes everything by the life He lived, through the death He died, and in the fact He has risen from dead. In each lesson, John Perritt does a terrific job of pulling out the main idea of the Scripture passage while also showing how it fits within the flow of Mark’s Gospel. The exercises in each lesson are practical and will provide concrete applications for middle and high school students.

More Attention Warranted

Yet, while the main idea in each lesson fits the context, two particular passages warranted more attention. The first passage, Mark 8:34-38, is one of the more referenced texts in Mark by pastors and Bible teachers. This is for good reason as it seems to be placed in a critical spot in the book. More detail could have been given to those verses. Aside from that minor critique, the greatest attention warranted but neglected in this study was Mark 16:9-20 (a passage not in the earliest manuscripts, which Bibles do note). To be fair, the author does mention it in the leader’s guide. The problem is he does not go into much detail and little is said of it out of that. Because students could possibly have questions on a passage about this note in the concluding verses of Mark, more guidance on how to respond would have been fitting.

Introducing Students to Jesus

Mark: How Jesus Changes Everything by John Perritt is a Bible study to equip students to understand the gospel of Jesus Christ through His life, death, and resurrection as accounted for in the Gospel according to Mark. With the Bible conversations and exercises, the study is designed for groups. The last few pages of the study are devoted to a leader’s guide. If you are a youth pastor looking to walk your youth, particularly ages 14-18, through passages of Scripture in order to introduce them to Jesus, then you may want to take a look at this latest addition in “The Gospel-Centered Life for Students”.

I received this book from New Growth Press in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

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