What is the gospel?


gospel
Copyright: enterline / 123RF Stock Photo

Like many organizations, the church has its own jargon. The danger with jargon is that we can use words for which we have a fuzzy understanding. One of the words in common usage in the church is the word gospel.

At its core, the word gospel means “good news.” The English word gospel comes from the Old English and is a compound of god (good) and spel (story or message). It is a direct translation of the Greek word euanggelion which is also a compound of eu (good) and anggelion (message or announcement). This is the word from which we get our English words “evangelism” and evangelical.

But what is the gospel? How should we define it in a Christian context?

As I thought about this, I thought that I should use my Bible software to do a search of the word gospel in the New Testament to see how the gospel is described. Here is a list of things that I learned about the gospel from looking over the list along with a reference to where I found it. The list is not exhaustive; some of these appear in multiple places and I only list the reference to the first mention.

  • It is the gospel of the kingdom [of God] – Matthew 4:23
  • It is preached to the poor – Matthew 11:5
  • It should be preached in the whole world – Matthew 24:14
  • It is the gospel of Jesus Christ – Mark 1:1
  • It is the gospel of God – Mark 1:14
  • It is the gospel of the grace of God – Acts 20:24
  • It was promised beforehand – Romans 1:2
  • It is concerning [God’s] son – Romans 1:3
  • It is the power of God for salvation – Romans 1:16
  • Paul calls it “my gospel” – Romans 16:25
  • Paul felt compelled to preach the gospel – 1 Corinthians 9:16
  • It is free – 1 Corinthians 9:18
  • It is the gospel of the glory of Christ – 2 Corinthians 4:4
  • It can be counterfeited – 2 Corinthians 11:4
  • It can be distorted – Galatians 1:7
  • It is not according to man – Galatians 1:11
  • It contains truth – Galatians 2:14
  • It was preached to Abraham – Galatians 3:8
  • It is the gospel of your salvation – Ephesians 1:13
  • We become partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel – Ephesians 3:6
  • It is the gospel of peace – Ephesians 6:15
  • It was a mystery (something previously hidden) – Ephesian 6:19
  • It should be defended – Philippians 1:16
  • It will change our behavior – Philippians 1:27
  • It is a message of hope – Colossians 1:5
  • It comes in power and in the Holy Spirit – 1 Thessalonians 1:5
  • The gospel is opposed – 1 Thessalonians 2:2
  • It is entrusted to men – 1 Thessalonians 2:4
  • It is the gospel of our Lord Jesus – 2 Thessalonians 1:8
  • God calls us through the gospel – 2 Thessalonians 2:14
  • It is the gospel of the blessed God – 1 Timothy 1:11
  • It is something worth suffering for – 2 Timothy 1:8
  • The gospel brings life and immortality to light – 2 Timothy 1:10
  • It is about Jesus Christ, risen from the dead and a descendant of David – 2 Timothy 2:8
  • It caused Paul to be imprisoned – Philemon 13
  • It is preached by the Holy Spirit – 1 Peter 1:12
  • It is something that the angels want to understand – 1 Peter 1:12
  • It demands obedience – 1 Peter 4:17
  • It is eternal – Revelation 14:6

Perhaps there is no better way to end one year and begin another than by reflecting on the may facets of the gospel of Jesus Christ. What a gift we have been given!