The Gospel is the foundation of
Christian theology, setting it apart from other all other religions, particularly other Judeo-Christian-Muslim traditions, by the manner in which it relays the hope of salvation. The word gospel originates from the meaning of the
New Testament Greek word
evangelion meaning "good news". This meaning was transmitted literally into Old English as godspell, eventually becoming
gospel. The Gospel is epitomized by Jesus Christ in the following proclamation: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news." (Mark 1:15)
Uses of "gospel"
The word gospel is used in various ways. Primarily it refers the good news as defined above, that it is the proclamation of God in
Jesus Christ that the
kingdom of God has come near and that it is a call for the proper response of
repentance.^^ It is a proclamation that God has initiated the restoration of relationship with his creation.^^ This proclamation embodies a host of implications
found, as the
New Testament explains, within the reality of the nearness of God's kingdom. Some of the most prominent of these implications are further explored within the following subsections of this article.
Gospel also refers to a written narrative of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Such narratives are typically entitled "Gospel of [author's name]". There are
four Gospels in the New Testament, which are the Gospels of:
John. The first three of these are also called the
Synoptic Gospels. Countless non-canonical gospels, e.g.
Gospel of Thomas, have been written from as early as the first century to the present day.
The Gospel begins with Jesus Christ
The nearness of the kingdom begins with advent of Jesus Christ: (Mark 1:1) After a prophetic preamble through which Mark connects Jesus with the Old Testament prophecies of Isaiah regarding the coming of Lord, the story immediately
begins with the ministry of Jesus Christ, with his first words being the quote given above: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the
good news." Jesus proclaims himself as the embodiment of the kingdom of God having come near to humanity.
The Gospel is Jesus bringing salvation to the world
Salvation within the gospel text is initially portrayed through Jesus' many acts of healing, which begin within that same first chapter of the Gospel of Mark. Healing is integral to the to the kingdom of God having come near.^^
A New Reality Preached
Beatitudes Jesus begins to unpack the meaning of his proclamation of good news by explaining reality from God's perspective: that it will not be the present power-brokers (e.g.
Rome, the Pharisees), but rather it will be the powerless who inherit the future, who will be the royalty of the kingdom of God (Matthew 5:3-11). This understanding provides a message of hope, and even a call to rejoice, amidst suffering, that the suffering
of those who follow Jesus is not what defines their story but rather the hope set before them by Jesus' promise that God will rectify all that has gone wrong with creation and save those who rest in that hope (Matthew 5:12).^
The Cross & The Resurrection
The ultimate display of this hope is found in the
Cross of Jesus Christ and the Resurrection (Romans 5:1-10, 8:1-5, 15:1-8). As the Apostle Paul explains, Jesus denies his advantage as almighty God and becomes
a humble servant of humanity, even to the point of permitting them to murder him on a cross (Philippians 2:5-8). And yet, as Paul continues, "Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name" (v9). The powers
and principalities of the world did not have the final word over him but he was raised by God (Acts 2,3,4). This hope enabled him to continue towards Jerusalem, towards the Cross (Luke 18:31-33).^^
Forgiveness of Sins
Repentance, forgiveness of sins and salvation; Luke 1:77, 24:47, Acts 13:38, Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14 ... The Apostle
Paul, in reminding the church at
Corinth of the meaning of the Gospel, he stresses salvation from Christ as the forgiveness of sins: "Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, ... that
Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures". (1 Corinthians 15:1,3-4)
The Gospel affords new life
Responding to the Gospel affords new life (Romans 7)
The definition of the new life
Living defined by hope in the future promised by the Gospel
The Gospel is the reconciliation of all Creation
Eschatology in the Gospel Texts
The Gospel concludes with the Resurrection
The promise of the resurrection of the saints
Jesus as Pioneer
Jesus was the first to be resurrected as a sign to the truth of the promise of the resurrection of the saints
- ? Mark 1:15, Matthew 4:17, Matthew 10:17, Luke 10:9
- ? Ephesians 2:13-21, Colossians 1:19-23
- ? Reference forthcoming
- ? Reference forthcoming
- ? Reference forthcoming
- The Biblical Gospel (PDF), by D. A. Carson in
For Such a Time as This: Perspectives on Evangelicalism, Past, Present and Future, pages 75–85. Edited by Steve Brady and Harold Rowdon. London: Evangelical Alliance, 1996.