Wednesday, July 14, 2010

So...what exactly IS a "gospel"?

When I was 20, I became intensely interested in Jesus. I began to read the bible, and immediately I ran into Jesus saying "Repent and believe the gospel! The kingdom of God is at hand."  Just then it struck me...if the "gospel" did not exist before Jesus, then why was there even a word "gospel"? And how could any of the people standing by understand what Jesus meant by "gospel"? Obviously it is important...but is it some sort of secret code word?
So this is the question of the day: What is a "gospel", and most important, what is "The Gospel"? Okay, unChurch-heads! Have at it!!


Charnixon said...

The Gospel is: "That Jesus Christ the Messiah has come. He is the fulfillment of the Old Testament." Repent from your old way of thinking, they no longer needed to keep looking for the Messiah. He was standing right in front of them. The Gospel is in essence Jesus Christ!

soebeck said...

εὐαγγελίζω: to communicate good news concerning something (in the NT a particular reference to the gospel message about Jesus)—‘to tell the good news, to announce the gospel.’ ἀρξάμενος ἀπὸ τῆς γραφῆς ταύτης εὐηγγελίσατο αὐτῷ τὸν Ἰησοῦν ‘starting from this very passage of Scripture, he told him the good news about Jesus
Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996, c1989). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament : Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (1:411-412). New York: United Bible societies.

Repent and believe the good news! The kingdom of God is here, and it's me!

RMW said...

...and if Soebeck's answer wasn't enough:

εὐαγγελίζω (s. next entry) fut. εὐαγγελιῶ 2 Km 18:19; 1 aor. εὐηγγέλισα. The act., found in our lit. only Rv 10:7; 14:6; Ac 16:17 v.l., belongs to later Gk. (Polyaenus 5, 7; Cass. Dio 61, 13, 4; PGiss 27, 6 [II A.D.]; PAmh 2, 16; 1 Km 31:9; 2 Km 18:19f; cp. Phryn. 268 Lob.), and does not differ in mng. (s. B-D-F §309, 1) from the much more common mid. in earlier Gk. εὐαγγελίζομαι (Aristoph., Demosth. et al.; Philo, Joseph.; predom. in LXX; likewise PsSol 11:1; ParJer; Just.; pass. JosAs 19:2) impf. εὐηγγελιζόμην; fut. εὐαγγελιοῦμαι 2 Km 18:20; Is 60:6; 1 aor. εὐηγγελισάμην (on the augment s. B-D-F §69, 4; Rob. 367). The foll. tenses are used in a passive sense: pres.; 1 aor. εὐηγγελίσθην; pf. εὐηγγέλισμαι.
① gener. bring good news, announce good news τί τινι (Jos., Bell. 3, 503, Ant. 7, 250) Lk 1:19 (ταῦτα εὐ. of the announcement by an angel of the impending birth of a much-desired child Jos., Ant. 5, 282; cp. 277 εὐ. αὐτῇ παιδὸς γονήν; Just., D. 56, 5 εὐ. τῇ Σάρρᾳ ὅτι τέκνον ἕξει); 2:10; 1 Th 3:6. τὶ ἐπί τινα Rv 14:6. τινά to someone (pass. w. pers. subj. JosAs 19:2 ἐγὼ εὐηγγελίσθην περὶ σοῦ ἐξ οὐρανοῦ; for the usage s. 2 below) 10:7.
② mostly specif. proclaim the divine message of salvation, proclaim the gospel (cp. Is 60:6; Ps 67:12; PsSol 11, 1; ParJer 5:19 εὐαγγελίσασθαι αὐτοῖς καὶ καταχρῆσαι αὐτοὺς τὸν λόγον al. S. also PGM 5, 142 εὐάγγελος τ. θεοῦ=a glad messenger of God) proclaim, preach.
ⓐ mid.
α. w. mention of the thing proclaimed, as well as of the pers. who receives the message τί τινι Lk 4:43; Ac 8:35 (τὸν Ἰησοῦν); Gal 1:8b; Eph 2:17; 3:8; B 8:3; 14:9. τὸ εὐαγγέλιον εὐ. τινι 1 Cor 15:1; 2 Cor 11:7. τί τινα someth. to someone (on the constr. s. below) Ac 13:32. εὐ. τὸν υἱὸν τ. θεοῦ ἐν τ. ἔθνεσιν proclaim the Son of God among the nations Gal 1:16
β. w. mention of the object of the proclamation τὶ (Lucian, Tyrannic. 9 τὴν ἐλευθερίαν; Synes., Prov. 1. 7 p. 96a [the heavenly σημεῖα] τὴν βασιλείαν Αἰγυπτίοις εὐηγγελίζετο [mid.]=brought the Egyptians news of the fortunate reign; Ps 39:10; 95:2) Lk 8:1; Ac 8:4; 10:36; 15:35; 17:18; Ro 10:15 (Is 52:7); Gal 1:23. Also w. pers. obj. in acc. to denote the object of the proclamation τινά someone τ. Χριστὸν Ἰ. Ac 5:42; τ. κύριον Ἰ. 11:20; cp. 17:18. εὐ. περὶ τῆς βασιλείας 8:12 (Jos., Ant. 15, 209 περὶ τούτων εὐηγγελίζετο). W. acc. and inf. foll. (Plut., Mar. 22 [22, 4]; Jos., Ant. 6, 56) Ac 14:15; 1 Cl 42:3.
γ. w. mention of the one who receives the message τινί (Aristoph., Eq. 643 al.; Jer 20:15; ParJer 3:15; Philo, De Jos. 250; Jos., Ant. 5, 24) Lk 4:18 (Is 61:1); Ro 1:15; 1 Cor 15:2; Gal 1:8a; 4:13; 1 Pt 1:12 P72. εἰς τ. ὑπερέκεινα ὑμῶν εὐ. proclaim the gospel in lands beyond you 2 Cor 10:16 (cp. 1 Pt 1:25). τινά (Alciphron 2, 9, 2 v.l.; Heliod. 2, 10, 1 ed. IBekker [acc. to mss.]; Jos., Ant. 18, 228; Eus., HE 3, 4) Lk 1:28 v.l.; 3:18; Ac 8:25, 40; 14:21; 16:10; Gal 1:9; 1 Pt 1:12; Pol 6:3; PtK 3 p. 15, 19.
δ. abs. proclaim (ParJer 9:20 ἀποστόλους ἵνα εὐαγγελίζονται ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν) Lk 9:6; 20:1; Ac 14:7; Ro 15:20; 1 Cor 1:17; 9:16, 18.
ⓑ pass.
α. w. a thing as subj. be proclaimed Lk 16:16; Gal 1:11 (τὸ εὐαγγέλιον); 1 Pt 1:25. Impers. νεκροῖς εὐηγγελίσθη 1 Pt 4:6 (cp. Just., D. 72, 4).
β. w. a pers. as subj. of one receiving a message of deliverance have good news announced to one (2 Km 18:31; Jo 3:5) of the gospel Mt 11:5; Lk 7:22; Hb 4:2, 6. Of apostles receiving the gospel in behalf of others ἀπό τινος fr. someone 1 Cl 42:1.—B. 1478. DELG s.v. ἄγγελος. M-M. EDNT. TW. Spicq.

Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed.) (402). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Craig said...

The guys above, with the Lexicon quotes, are pointing in basically the same direction I would. I could add that the word Jesus actually spoke was certainly an Aramaic one, of which we have no direct quote (perhaps an Aramaic scholar could tell you what it was, and all its shades of meaning; but I am not that guy). The Greek word of the (written) gospels is, one would have to assume, as good a rendering of the Aramaic into Greek as can be; and 'gospel' is, of course, an English rendering of the Greek word.

Unfortunately, in the centuries since the first English translation of the Bible, 'gospel' has become a 'religious word'; almost a 'technical term' with religious connotations. And I don't think Jesus was giving a lesson in systematic theology there.

Anyway, I expect that Jesus' listeners could understand the concept of 'good news', even if they couldn't quite grasp exactly which 'good news' He was referring to.

The Good News is at hand! (ie, 'you're lookin' at Him!') Jesus' presence among us (His 'God-with-us-ness') changes everything. . .

Joe B said...

Unfortunately...'gospel' has become a 'religious word'; almost a 'technical term'...I don't think Jesus was giving a lesson in systematic theology there.

Joe B said...

Okay then, so it means "good news".

So then, what IS the gospel Jesus was referring to as he went from town to town?

(I actually think it is a little more specific than that, more like "The Good Proclamation". "News" (angellion)has a very different meaning in the information age than it did in the bronze age.)

Scott said...

I think Joe has something more he's looking for, and I'm just waiting with eager anticipation for him to tell us what it is...

jimV said...

The Gospel is: " the Kingdom of God is at hand."
We can have access to all that is in heaven, now, through faith. "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven." When Jesus preached the Kingdom, it usually, if not always, included healing."and Jesus went about doing good and healing those oppressed by the devil" Same for His church.
Mark 16:14-20, Acts, and 1Cor 2:4

Anonymous said...

Does it have to do with the fullfillment of God's promises that all nations will be blessed. That God's long term plan to accomplish our adoption (Eph 1:4-5) is now fulfilled.