What is the Gospel?

By Steven Chan

1. According to Vine’s expository dictionary of New Testament words, the word “gospel” is translated from the original Greek word, “εὐαγγέλιον :(Noun Neuter — euangelion — yoo-ang-ghel’-ee-on ), … the word stood for “the good news” itself. The Eng. word “gospel,” i.e. “good message,” is the equivalent of euangelion (Eng., “evangel”). In the NT it denotes the “good tidings” of the Kingdom of God and of salvation through Christ…”

2. What is the gospel, the good news? 

a. “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”

The good news for every one is that anyone who believes (that Jesus Christ is the Son of God – John 8:24; 20:30-31; Acts 8:37) and is “buried with Christ” (i.e. baptized) dying to sin and having our sins washed away/forgiven by God, and to be raised up to walk in newness of life, will be saved – the “living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (Rom 6:1-7; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Col 2:12; 1 Pet 1:3-4)

b. The gospel was defined by Paul as pertaining to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ – all of which were in accordance with the Scriptures – in other words as prophesied by the prophets in the Old Testament. His death, burial and resurrection were in fulfillment of old testament prophecies evidencing that Jesus was truly the Son of God. He was victorious over death (1 Cor 15:1-7; 17, 57-58).

According to Luke’s account: “Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:46-47)

c. The gospel includes all that is implied by or consequential to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Consider what the early Christians did when they preached the gospel: –

i. They preached the word: “Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.” (Acts 8:4)

ii. They preached Christ: “Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.” (Acts 8:5)

iii. They preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and those who believed were baptized: “But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized” (Acts 8:12)

iv. They preached the “Word of God” – for that was how the apostles described their preaching: “Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God” (Acts 8:14)

v. The Bible described their preaching as preaching the “gospel”: “So when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.”

3. Paul preached the “kingdom of God”: “And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God” (Acts 20:25). He taught the “whole counsel of God”: “For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.” (Acts 20:27).Paul “kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house” (Acts 20:20).

4. The early Christians “preached the Word” as Paul also exhorted Timothy to do the same: “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Tim 4:2-5)

a. “Preaching the Word” is “preaching the truth” because “God’s word is truth” (John 17:17). The gospel speaks of the truth concerning the hope of heaven: “the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel” (Col 1:5)

b. The gospel is the “word of truth” pertaining to our salvation: “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Eph 1:13-14)

c. When one preaches the truth of the gospel, one must be careful that one does not veer away, “no longer enduring sound doctrine” having “turned aside to fables”. 

Let’s preach the Word of God so that the good news of God’s love and His offer of salvation may be known and accepted by all men – that those who obey the gospel may have the hope reserved in heaven (John 14:1-6). The preaching of the gospel necessarily includes all that God has revealed to us through His prophets, Jesus Christ and the apostles as they pertain to all that God has given to us for life and godliness (Heb 1:1,2; 2:1-4; 1 Cor 2:10; 2 Pet 1:3-4). The good news is that God has worked out a plan of salvation by which all may be saved through Jesus Christ. All who are saved are added into His Kingdom, the church (Acts 2:47; John 3:3,5; 1 Cor 12:13; Col 1:12; Heb 12:22-23) and Jesus will deliver His kingdom to His Father when He comes again (1 Cor 15:24). The good news is that one can be born again through baptism to enter into the kingdom of God.