Considering the ongoing conversation in the blogosphere about what is the gospel, i would like to add a few observations that i have come across when trying to address the question. In this post i would like to assert that the gospel is multi-faceted. I will be using scriptures which people don’t normally assume as basis for the gospel.
The word gospel comes from the Greek word εὐαγγέλιον (euangelion) which literally means good news. This word is also the root word for the English word Evangel. So a person who preaches the gospel is an evangelist. To get people to believe the gospel is evangelize. Euangelion is also used in the LXX, which is the Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures. It is the Hebrew word מבשׂר (Bawsar) that has been consistently translated as euagelion. I will use both the Hebrew and Greek words to get to a fuller understanding of the word gospel.
The word gospel can mean many different kinds of good news. In Jer 20:15, it is the good news of the birth of a child. Even though the ESV does not use the words “good news” or gospel, the Hebrew word is still bawsar and the Greek is euangelion. The good news could be the death of a national enemy or victory of a people as in 1 Sam 31:9, 2 Sam 1:20, 2 Sam 4:10, 2 Sam 18:19 and 2 Kings 7:9. In the Psalms it used to mean the announcing or preaching of God’s deliverance as in Psalms 40:9, 68:11, 96:2. In the prophets gospel is announcing of the news of God’s righteous reign has been established and that oppression has come to an end (Isa 40:9, 52:7, 60:6, 61:1, Na 1:15). This usage of the word gospel in the first testament forms the background for its usage in New Testament. Of course the way the word is used in the Psalms and Prophets helps define the Jewish expectation of the gospel in the NT.
In the New Testament, according to Paul in Gal 1:6-7, there is only one gospel. All others are fakes. Paul here calls it the “gospel of Christ”. When was this gospel first preached or announced? According to Gal 3:8, it was first announced to Abraham in Gen 12:3. In the broadest sense, the goal of the gospel is that all nations or peoples will be able to bless themselves through Abraham’s seed, Christ (Gal 3:16).
Not only does the first book of the Bible have the gospel, so does the last book. In Revelation 14:6-7, we have the last mention of the gospel. Here the gospel is considered eternal. The gospel from this verse can be summarized as “fear God and give Him glory”.
The two themes of the gospel, “all nations or blessing themselves” and “fearing God and giving him glory” give us a boundary within which to work towards a fuller meaning of the gospel.