If someone asked you to define the gospel, what would you say? Is it the Bible? The New Testament? The “four Gospels?” A specific passage? And what is the “good news” of the gospel? An answer to these questions and more.
In discussions of Christianity, you’ll hear terms like “reading the gospel,” “the four Gospels,” or “the good news of the gospel.” All of these relate to the same thing, yet have different meanings.
First, let’s define the word “gospel” itself. The New Testament is written in Greek, and the word for gospel is euangeliou or euaggelion. It means a “good message,” according to Strong’s.
Thus, in the gospel of the New Testament, we are told the “good message” or “good news” about Jesus Christ.
The first four books of the New Testament are called the “Gospels” or “Four Gospels” as their prime focus is telling the story of the life of Jesus Christ, his birth, his life, his death, and resurrection.
The first verse of the first chapter of Mark starts like this:
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
– Mark 1:1
There is yet another definition of the gospel, a statement that encapsulates Christian belief. This definition states that the son of God, Jesus Christ, was born in human form, lived a sinless life as a human man, was condemned to die on the cross, and in doing so, paid for the sins of all humanity. He died, was buried, and rose again on the third day, proving the existence of eternal life for those free from sin, and that the same gift is available to all who repent of sin and put their faith in Jesus Christ.
The apostle Paul gives the pertinent details of the Christian gospel in the first eleven verses of chapter 15 of first Corinthians. In the first four verses, he summarizes very concisely what the Christian gospel is about.
“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,”
– 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
Paul goes on to discuss the resurrection of Christ and those who bore witness to seeing Jesus alive again.
“and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:5-7
Christ’s resurrection is a promise and proof to us all that the faithful, washed clean of sin through their repentance, faith, and God’s grace, will be found worthy of receiving eternal life. Christ’s resurrection shows if we don’t believe in vain, eternal life is available, and that is the good news of the gospel.