Gospel Schools

– Making Every Church A Bible School –

The Holy Spirit revealed through Paul that Christians “are not under law, but under grace” (Rm 6:14). This truth is our inspiration to seek and maintain a grace-oriented relationship with God and response to His commandments. Grace that was revealed through the gospel is the initial motivation that causes one to obey the gospel in baptism. It is this truth that motivates continual transformation in our hearts throughout our lives. This is the foundational truth that must define us as disciples of the Lord Jesus in order that we are prepared for eternity. It is for this reason that we are calling for a restoration to the motivating power of the gospel of God’s grace.

In order to restore the motivational power of the gospel in the lives of individuals, it is necessary that the Bible is established as our only medium through which we understand the gospel. However, because the Bible reports on the historical events that reveal the gospel does not mean that it is the gospel. On the contrary, the Bible is the Holy Spirit inspired historical record of the events that reveal the gospel of God’s grace which He has extended to us through His incarnate Son. The Bible is our textbook to know and understand the gospel.

Lest we make the Bible a legal system of law by which we would seek to merit our own salvation through perfect obedience of its laws, we seek to restore a better understanding of the historical events in the Bible that reveal the grace of God on the cross. In restoring the gospel of grace, people are moved to be obedient to the will of God in response to His grace. Once understood, the historical events of the gospel journey of the Son of God inspire a response to the grace of God. In this way, therefore, the disciples of Christ live under the motivating power of the grace of God.

Gospel restoration assumes that we seek to revive in the minds of able teachers the historical events that reveal the gospel journey of the Son of God into and out of this world. These historical events are the following: (1) incarnation, (2) crucifixion, (3) resurrection, (4) ascension, (5) coronation, (6) consummation. In the textbook, the Encyclopedic Study Guide Handbook, these gospel events are the foundation upon which Gospel Restoration Bible Schools (GRBS) are established. If possible in your area, these subjects can be further studied by downloading the following resource books from our website, www.africainternational.org:

1.  Book 73, The Gospel of God’s Heart 
2.  Book 79, Gospel Restoration
3.  Book 85, The Incarnational Journey of God
4.  Book 89, Your Gospel Journey with the Son of God

The biblical mandate behind the concept of the GRBSs is explained in three contexts: Matthew 28:20; Romans 1:13-16; 2 Timothy 2:2.

• Matthew 28:20: Jesus instructed His apostles that after they had preached the gospel, and thus motivated people to respond to the gospel by being baptized, they should do the following with the new disciples: “. . . teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” There is certainly more involved in the “all things” of Jesus’ statement than simply rehearsing the historical events through which the good news of the Son of God was revealed to mankind. At the same time, we must understand that one does not need to know “all things” concerning the depth of the knowledge of God in reference to the gospel before he or she obeys the gospel. It is for this reason, therefore, that after obedience to the gospel in baptism, one must have a sincere desire to sit and study of the work of God through His Son (See Rm 11:33-36; 2 Tm 2:15; 2 Pt 3:18). This is the reason why every assembly of disciples should be a “gospel Bible school.”

• Romans 1:13-16: Paul’s planned trip to meet with the Roman disciples would be an effort of what we refer to as a GRBS. Some of the disciples in Rome were turning their life as disciples into a legal system of religion. Even in their initial response to the gospel some were assuming that one was meritoriously saved through works of law to save himself. This is a special danger for all those who have been delivered out of the bondage of legal law-keeping religion. These disciples have a tendency to bring their concept of self-righteous religiosity into the realm of the gospel of God’s grace (See Rm 10:1-3). The result is that they sometimes look back to their obedience to the gospel of God’s grace as a meritorious system of law-keeping whereby they congratulate themselves on performing correctly the law of God. For this reason they encouraged others to obey the law of God without focusing on the power of the grace of God to inspire obedience and life transformation. We must not forget that the power of God unto salvation is in the gospel of His grace, not law.

• Far away in the city of Rome, therefore, some were bringing their concept of meritorious religiosity into the fellowship of the disciples. As was the case with some in Galatia who did the same, and thus started preaching “another gospel” (Gl 1:6-9), Paul believed that it was necessary that he go personally to the Roman Christians in order to discuss this matter before it turned the church into just another legal religion of self-righteous members (See Rm 10:1-3). He wanted to personally remind the Roman disciples that their obedience to the gospel was not a meritorious accomplishment of salvation on their part, but was the result of their being motivated by the power of God’s grace that first inspired obedience to the gospel, and then led to the transformation of their lives (See Rm 12:1,2). He wrote the entire document of Romans as a Holy Spirit-inspired textbook on this matter.

• As a result of turning the gospel of grace into a meritorious relationship with God through one’s performance of law (See Gl 1:6-9), Paul realized that a “GRBS” was in order for the disciples in Rome. Therefore, he sought to go to them in order to bear fruit in their hearts by instructing them further in the gospel of God’s grace (Rm 1:13). This is the key to understanding the difference between meritorious obedience to the gospel and a responsive obedience that is caused by the grace of God (See 2 Co 4:15).

Meritorious assumes that when one accomplishes certain steps of law to receive salvation, he or she is saved. But far more fulfilling is that a responsive thanksgiving for what God has done through the gospel, generates an inward transformation in the heart of the individual. This transformation starts before obedience to the gospel, because understanding all that God did for the sinner must motivate the sinner to do all that God would require for one to do in order to respond correctly to His incarnate Son. This result is a lifetime transformation. However, if one starts to question, or forget the journey of the incarnate Son of God, his or her response to the gospel begins to subside. It is at this time when one’s faith is in danger of becoming vain (See 1 Co 15:1,2).

In order that the disciples in Roman deter themselves from either a legal obedience to law to save themselves, or forget their initial motivation by the gospel, Paul sought to go to them in order to sit down with then and review again the gospel to which they had formerly responded. This is the central purpose for the establishment of GRBSs. This is an effort when disciples sit down and review again the foundation upon which our is built.

• 2 Timothy 2:2: In the function of a GRBS, it is the objective of the teacher to be a teacher of teachers. This was the mandate of the Holy Spirit to Timothy through the apostle Paul: “The things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, the same commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” This was a worldwide ministry that Jesus began with His imperative to the apostles in Matthew 28:20, and subsequently was to be continued throughout history until He comes again. The apostles were to teach those whom they baptized what Jesus had taught them. But added to what Jesus personally taught the apostles, the apostles were also under a mandate to teach all things concerning what the Holy Spirit would teach them after Jesus ascended (See Jn 14:26; 16:13).

When one establishes a GRBS, he or she is offering to baptized disciples the opportunity to be taught a catalog of truth that is revealed in the Bible. The final objective in establishing a GRBS, however, is not simply to teach teachers matters of truth. It is their objective to inspire those they teach to also start more GRBSs in order to perpetuate the mandate of 2 Timothy 2:2.

The textbook for the GRBS is the Encyclopedic Study Guide Handbook. This particular textbook was designed over many years as a resource for those who are actively preaching and teaching the word of God, specifically the gospel of our Lord Jesus. Through the sessions of classroom teaching that are taken from this textbook, only fundamental subjects are studied. Once the classroom sessions are completed, the textbook becomes a resource for teachers who can go forth and teach others also. In order to aid able teachers as they go forth to teach, there are several years of teaching material included in the textbook.

The following subjects of the textbook are suggested to be taught during the once-a-week classroom sessions over a period of twelve weeks:

  1. The Standard of the Bible (pp. 10-12)
  2. Jesus is the Son of God (pp. 12-15)
  3. Change from the Old to the New Covenant (pp. 30-32)
  4. First Principles in Bible Study (pp. 47-54)
  5. State of the Soul (pp. 54-56)
  6. Survey of God’s Gospel Plan (pp. 56-59)
  7. Gospel versus Religion (pp. 60-63)
  8. The Body of Christ (pp. 63-65)
  9. Revelation of the Truth of the Gospel (pp. 65-72)
  10. Gospel-Motivated Worship (pp. 72-78)
  11. Sharing the Truth of the Gospel (pp. 105-110)
  12. How to Understand and Teach the Bible (pp. 110-117)


Angelo Siciliano was an Italian-American who weighed in at ninety-seven pound (44 kilogram) at the young age of sixteen. This scrawny weakling was constantly bullied around by classmates and ignored by friend and foe alike. As any physically weak and frail teenager, life at times was not that pleasant. In fact, some days were just miserable. However, one day he saw the statues of Apollo and Hercules in a museum. These images of two muscular Greek gods formed an image on his mind that would not go away. Those statues had a physical presentation that he envied. If he had such a stature, he would be bullied no more. What set this frail statured young man off on his life’s journey to change who he was an event that happened on a day when someone on the beach kicked sand in his face in the presence of his girlfriend. He had had enough, and thus determined to make a change, at least, in his physical well-being.

Angelo was too poor to join the local YMCA, so he simply watched other body-builders, and did the same. Throughout his persistent daily exercise routine that he established for himself, he eventually developed his own exercises. At least in his daily exercise routine, Angelo was able to control of his own destiny through exercise, regardless of the often tormenting world in which he lived. After a few years of persistent struggle with his exercise program, his dreams were realized. He became as those two statures he had seen in a museum many years before. In 1922, upon the suggestion of a friend. The result was that we now read about Angelo today in history books with his new name, Charles Atlas.

Pessimism and unhappiness are twins that sleep in the same bed. Numerous surveys have been conducted concerning the mental state of those who are successful in the business world. Every survey concludes that optimistic, cheerful business people, who always look on the bright side of things, are more successful in the business world than pessimistic people.

Successful people are optimistic about the future. On the other hand, an attitude of pessimism produces unhappiness, and unhappiness produces dis – ease, or better, disease. Pessimism is a “disease” of the mind that hinders our best performance in life, as well as our outlook on life and the future.

Dr. Maxwell Maltz once wrote of a personal encounter he had with a businessman who told him, “I have just lost $200,000 on the stock market. I am ruined and disgraced.” Maltz then replied to the disapporinted man: “It is a fact that you lost $200,000. It is your opinion that you are ruined and disgraced.”

Optimistic people never add their opinion to the circumstances in which they live. Unfortunate present experiences do not deter their thinking that things will always get better. They are simply optimistic about the future. Optimism defines their character and attitude toward life. The great inventor Thomas Edison once lost a multimillion dollar laboratory in a fire. Someone asked him immediately after the fire as he stood in the ashes of his former laboratory, “What will you do now?” Mr. Edison simply replied, “We will start rebuilding tomorrow morning.”

When things look bad, focus on good things to come, even in the present there are many things on which to focus. Truly happy people are incurably optimistic about the future. They always look on the bright side of things. And by looking on the bright side of things, they discover that there are many good things that are happening in their lives.

There was once a preacher who was surviving in a dark and cold dungeon for preaching the gospel. He was facing death. He then wrote a letter to some friends who were deeply concerned for his physical safety and mental well-being. He responded to their concerns with the statement, “Rejoice in the Lord always. And again I say, rejoice!” (Ph 4:4).


Familiar passages must always be reexamined. And one of those passages that must always be reexamine is the commonly quoted statement of Paul in Romans 1:16:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel [good news], for it is the power [dunamis] of God unto [eis] salvation to every one who believes ….”

The context that explains this verse begins in verse 13, where Paul informed the Roman Christians that he had planned to come to them. He explains, however, that for some reason, we are not told, that he was hindered. To fully appreciate the significance of verse 16, therefore, it must be clearly understood that in the context Paul was writing his comments to Christians, not unbelievers. He was planning to go to Rome to meet with Christians who had previously heard and obeyed the gospel, possibly on a visit of some Jews to a Pentecost/Passover feast in Jerusalem (See At 2:9,10).

The fact that these were Christians to whom Paul planned to visit clarifies what he wanted to do when he arrived. He wanted to start a gospel Bible class. He explained his objective. He said that he wanted to visit them in order “that I might have some FRUIT among you also, even as I have among the other Gentiles” (Rm 1:13). His use of the word “fruit” would be better understood if he were going to unbelievers and preaching the gospel (See Ph 4:17). But in this context, the “fruit” refers to that which he wanted to produce in the hearts Christians, not unbelievers. This is a very interesting use of the word “fruit.” So verse 16 explains what he meant in reference to the “power” of the gospel that is able to continually produce fruit in the hearts of Christians.

Paul’s use of the word “fruit” in Romans 1:13 is similar to how he used the word in the context of Philippians 1:9-11. He desired that the Philippians “abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment . . . being filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ” (Ph 1:9,11). Paul likewise desired the same in the lives of the Christians in Rome. He wanted to bear the fruit of righteousness in them that began when they first responded to the gospel. Therefore, they would continue in the production of fruit by their continued study of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

So herein lies the key to why Paul wanted to go to Rome. He wrote in verse 15, “So as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you [Christians] also who are at Rome.” This is a very interesting statement in view of the fact that the good news (gospel) of the incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension and coronation of Jesus Christ is a message that is normally preached to unbelievers, not to those who already believe and have obeyed the gospel by immersion into Christ for the remission of their sins.

Some analysis is thus in order. What confuses some is that most translators use the English word “preach” to translate a word that is not the common word that is used for “preach” in the New Testament. The common word for “preach” is kerusso. This is the Greek word that is used to make a public announcement or proclamation about news that affects the community. When proclaiming the gospel to unbelievers, therefore, the word kerusso is the most appropriate word. Preaching is an announcement of good news to unbelievers.

But the word that Paul used in verse 15 is not kerusso, but the Greek word euaggelizo. This word is used to convey the concept of carrying on discussions concerning good news. This is the word that is used when emphasis is on teaching Christians matters concerning the good news of the Son of God coming into this world, His atoning sacrifice, and His present reign at the right hand of God the Father (See At 5:42; 8:4,12,35; 10:36; 11:20).

Contexts in which euaggelizo is used emphasize that the teacher is explaining the gospel to an audience or individual, particularly an audience of Christians. This brings us to the context of Paul’s statement in Romans 1:16. He wanted to go to the disciples in Rome in order to instruct them further in matters concerning the gospel. In the context, he already pointed out the reason for his trip. He wanted to produce the fruit of righteousness among the disciples in Rome. But there is also another understanding that we must take away from Romans 1:16.

Paul wrote that the gospel “is the power [dunamis] of God unto [eis] salvation.” The Greek word for “power” is dunamis, the word from which the English word “dynamite” is derived. We could metaphorically take the function of dynamite back into the statement that Paul made in reference to what a growing knowledge of the gospel does in one’s heart. As dynamite moves great stones, so the gospel of the incarnate Son of God moves hearts. In other words, the good news of the incarnation, atoning death, resurrection, ascension, and present reign of the Lord Jesus, is God’s motivational dynamite to move one into the realm of salvation, and subsequently, into the continued transformation of one’s life.

The gospel is not the salvation, it is the dynamite that motivates hearts to do that which is necessary in order to bring one into the realm of salvation. For this reason, Paul used the linear action of the participle of the word belief (believing). That is, if one begins and continues to believe, then the gospel continues to be the motivating power that leads to a life of continuous behavioral transformation (Rm 12:2).

If one does not continue to believe in the historical events of the gospel, then he will lose his salvation (See 1 Co 15:1,2). If we continue to believe the gospel, therefore, we will continue to allow Christ to be formed in our lives. This was Paul’s fatherly concern for the first generation disciples to whom he had preached the gospel in Galatia. “My Little children for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you” (Gl 4:19). Christ is not completely formed in one immediately at the time he or she obeys the gospel in baptism. “Forming,” or “transformation,” is a lifetime project for those who continue to believe and behave the gospel of Jesus. This point is what makes the statement, “Just believe on, or accept Jesus as your personal Savior,” so shallow in reference to the lifetime struggle to grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus (See 2 Pt 3:18).

The gospel was an historical event that revealed the grace of God wherein only there is salvation. In an obedient response to this divine journey of the incarnate Son of God, the “beginning believer” is baptized into Christ (Rm 6:3-6; Gl 3:26-29). And if we are continually motivated by the death, burial and resurrection of the incarnate and reigning Lord Jesus Christ, then we will walk in the abundant life in this life (Jn 10:10), but also into eternal life when the Lord Jesus returns for His own.

It is the gospel that motivates those who are willing to believe, and thus be brought into the realm of God’s grace through their obedience that is manifested in baptism. Baptism, therefore, is not an action in reference to simply obeying law, but a response to the gospel. If it were simply a response to law, then we might feel that we have merited our salvation through our legal obedience to law. But if baptism is a personal response to the gospel, then what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:15 comes alive: “For all things [in reference to the revelation of the gospel] are for your sakes, so that the grace that is reaching many people may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.”

In Romans 1:16 Paul linked gospel and salvation with one Greek word, the word eis. Simply believing in the gospel is not enough to bring one into the realm of salvation. The gospel is only the motivational power to stir one unto obedience of the gospel, and subsequently come into the realm of salvation. It is at the point of baptism that one’s sins are washed away by the gospel offering of the blood of Jesus (At 22:16). It is thus at the point of baptism that one is raised with Christ into a salvational relationship with God (Rm 6:3-6).

The historical event of the sacrificial offering of the incarnate Son of God will stir belief. But this belief must be a participle of action, not a once-off statement of belief in self-declaring one’s salvation. The active belief about which Paul wrote in Romans 1:16 was an action that must continue throughout one’s life. The same thought was stated by Jesus, but in different words: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mk 16:16). The believer will come into the realm of salvation only when his faith is stirred into action. He will come into this realm through obedience to the gospel wherein one’s sins are initially forgiven. It is also at this time that one’s cleansing of sin begins and continues throughout one’s life if one’s belief does not wane (At 2:38; 1 Jn 1:7). For this reason Paul wanted to go to the Christians in Rome and remind them again of the gospel to which they had responded.

The good news of the Son of God coming into this world, going to the cross, and His present reign, is the power that moves hearts from the time one first believes, until his last dying breath. This is the power that moves one into (eis) the realm of God’s grace, wherein he or she is saved. And thus, “For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves [through meritorious law-keeping], it is the gift of God” (Ep 3:8). When the gift of God’s Son becomes awesome in our hearts, it is then that we are moved with thanksgiving throughout our lives. Paul’s going to Rome in order to conduct a gospel Bible class, therefore, should generate a perfect attendance on the part of the Roman Christians.


On the eve of His encounter with the cross, and in the presence of disciples who anxiously shuffled in His midst in an upper room, Jesus took a towel, stooped to the floor, and washed twenty-four dirty feet, 240 grimy toes. He knew that when the disciples eventually understood His actions after His resurrection, they would understand what He meant in a quiet voice, “If you know these things [of what I just did], happy are you if you do them” (Jn 13:17).

“These things” refers to His humble service to others, even washing dirty feet, and finally dirty souls. It can only be through servitude that we discover the secret to true happiness. To feel good you must do good.

Why is it that on our way to the hospital to visit a friend we argue with God? We reason that we have other important things that we could be doing. However, once there, and after a prayer and simple chatter, on our way from the hospital we feel a sense of happiness? We grumble in service, but we rejoice when the service is accomplished. Rejoicing after an act of service should enlighten us to the way we are wonderfully made by God. Service brings happiness, a sense of “well done.” Only when we put our hands to work will we be able to raise our hands in rejoicing. This is the way God created us. You do good and you will feel good.

Solomon was right: “He who has mercy on the poor, happy is he” (Pv 14:21). Christians can rejoice in the Lord always because they are always in service to others. Galatians 6:10 was not written that we do legal actions in order to accomplish a supposed meritorious salvation. “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” This statement was written in order to reflect the nature of true Christianity. It was written to exemplify in the lives of Christians what Jesus said, “If you know these things, happy are you if you do them” (Jn 13:17). Christians are happy, not because they are commanded to be so, but because of what they do. The serendipity of service is always happiness.

Dr. Maxwell Maltz wrote in his best selling book, Psychocybernetics, that people must focus on others in order to be happy within themselves. “One of the most pleasant thoughts to any human being,” Maltz wrote, “is the thought that he is needed, that he is important enough and competent enough to help and add to the happiness of some other human being.” This truth is reflected in Paul’s words of the Holy Spirit, “I have showed you all things, that by laboring as this you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (At 20:35). It is more blessed to give simply because one receives the inner satisfaction of happiness when giving things rather than receiving things. We understand from this principle of Jesus that receiving or acquiring things is less blessed than giving things to others. If you would be truly happy, therefore, you must be a giver. The more you give, the happier you are. It is as simple as that.