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What Is the Gospel in the Bible?

We may often take the term gospel and think about it in generalities. We may also water down the Gospel to avoid being labeled as “crazy Christians.”

But do you take a moment in your busy life to contemplate the question, “What is the Good News of the Gospel?

In this blog post, you will explore the essential meaning of the question, “What Is the Gospel in the Bible?” Don’t assume you know the answer. Instead, dig into your Bible to learn more about:

What Is the Gospel in the Bible?

The Gospel in the Bible is God’s divine rescue plan—a gift of good news. The good news is that Jesus Christ came to save people from their sins. This gift, the Gospel, is available to everyone who puts their faith in Christ to remove their sins and change their lives.  

As discussed in our post “What is the Gospel,” “the original Greek noun, euangelion, means good news. The Greek verb evangelize translates into English as “to bring or announce the good news.” Euangelion occurs 76 times in the Greek New Testament, and euangelizo shows up 54 times in the Greek New Testament.

How does euangelion and euangelizo help you understand the gospel message?

Both of these words were used in the New Testament and became the words that defined the term gospel. 

These two words became distinctively Christian because they emphasized the message of salvation that Jesus is God’s son who came to earth, died on the cross, rose on the third day, and provided a way to the Father for every person on earth.

The message of salvation is the good news or Gospel that brings all of us into a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Discover more about God’s ultimate rescue plan for humanity here >>

What Does the Term “The Gospel” Mean?

R.C. Sproul explains the definition of the Gospel in his article, “What does ‘Gospel’ mean?” Sproul says the Gospel is “the possession of Jesus, but even more, Jesus is the heart of the gospel’s content.” In other words, Jesus is the heart of good news.

As you learned above, euangelion means Gospel in the Greek New Testament. Specifically, the eu- prefix means something good or pleasant. Examples of English words starting with eu include

  • Euphoria
  • Eulogy
  • Euphemism
  • Euphony.

As the above words show, the prefix eu means joy, contentment, and happiness. The Gospel must include Jesus as our only way to know true joy, peace, and love through his salvation.

The euangelion means “good message” or “good news.” In the Old Testament, the Gospel is an announcement of good news.

For example, soldiers in battle would send a messenger to take the news back home, informing the people of the battle’s outcome. 

The city’s watchmen knew how to read the messenger’s feet as they approached the watch tower. If the messenger came running back without enthusiasm and didn’t kick up any dust, it meant bad news.

Meanwhile, if the messenger came running eagerly with the dust flying behind him, the watchman would know that the battle’s outcome was good. The messenger brought the Gospel to the watchman.

Isaiah proclaims the messenger’s feet that bring good news when he writes in Isaiah 52:7 (NIV), “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring the good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.'”

The Gospel in the Law and Covenant

When you read the Old Testament, starting with Genesis, you see how sin entered our world. Adam and Eve ate the fruit by listening to the serpent, and God banished the first couple from Eden.

Deuteronomy 5:1 shows the Israelites receiving the Old Testament Law during Moses’ time. The Old Testament Law is like a measuring stick of God’s commandments and our inability to keep them.

Every human who has walked the earth cannot keep the Old Testament Law except for Jesus. We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23), and our sinfulness keeps us from knowing God.

In the Old Testament, animal sacrifices were a temporary way for God to overlook sin for the moment. Hebrews 10:4 states that it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin. Since we sin regularly, there must be a regular atonement to satisfy God’s anger at our sinfulness.

Jesus took on all of humankind’s sins on the cross. His death and resurrection answered the call for atonement once and for all. There is no other justification other than Jesus Christ and the gospel message.

The Gospel in Prophecy

The Gospel in prophecy means the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. Many passages point to the Messiah’s coming, starting in Genesis and continuing throughout the Old Testament. Here are some prophecies that you can share with an unbeliever:

This list is only a sample of the Old Testament passages that prophesy about the future Messiah. You can find more verses and commentary by Dawn Wilson at Crosswalk, 6 Things to Know about the Messianic Prophecies of Jesus.

The Gospel in Jesus’ Teaching

The gospel message is used uniquely in the New Testament, in the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. All four books are about Jesus’s life here on earth, including his death and resurrection. In this context, Gospel means literature.

In the first four books of the New Testament, the term gospel was used to refer to the Kingdom of God. You can see this in John the Baptist’s message in Matt. 5:1-2 (NIV):

“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.'”

As Sproul points out, many of Jesus’s parables include, “the kingdom of God is like …” 

Sproul explains that Jesus’s dramatic entry into our world as the Messiah meant that the kingdom of God had arrived. The gospel message during Jesus’s time on earth was the good news of the kingdom of God coming down to us.

The Gospel in Paul’s Letters

You see in the Pauline letters that the gospel message became the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. R.C. Sproul notes that the gospel message focused on Jesus and what he accomplished in the 33 years of his life on earth, including his death, resurrection, and ascension to Heaven. 

When someone asks you, “What is the good news of the gospel?” You can answer confidently that the gospel message is all about Jesus—the who, what, why, and how he came to earth to live like a human—to his death and resurrection.  

You should also explain that Jesus ascended back to Heaven to sit on the Father’s right side, and the Holy Spirit guides us when we accept the message of salvation.

Connecting the Dots

When you share the Gospel with an unbeliever and answer their question, “What is the good news of the gospel?” You can go even deeper to discuss the other benefits of the gospel message, such as how Jesus’s objective work here on earth is for the believer today.

For example, you can start a discussion on who Jesus was and what he did during his 33 years. 

Then, you can discuss the gospel message’s benefits to the believer. Paul, especially in Galatians, answers these two questions by explaining who Jesus is and what he did on the cross for our salvation.

Then, Paul explains in his epistles with “justification by faith alone,” which means we don’t work for our salvation. Instead, we’re justified by faith in Jesus Christ’s work on the cross and his resurrection.

For Further Study Of The Gospel

You can learn more about coaching your small group to go deeper into the gospel message by visiting our resources. Find the tools that empower you to help your group grow and confidently address the question, ‘What is the Gospel in the Bible?’ with friends and family who may not yet believe.

Order the book, #Gospel: Life, Hope, and Truth for Generation Now, by Daniel Rice. Download the study guide on our website, which helps you go deeper into the objectives taught in #Gospel: Life, Hope, and Truth for Generation Now. You can also download a 14-day video devotional series found on # Gospel’s website, and view our video offerings on Youtube as well.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Gospel

What does the Gospel mean in the Bible?

The original Greek noun, euangelion, means good news. The Greek verb evangelize translates into English as “to bring or announce the good news”. The Gospel is used as an announcement of good news in the Old Testament and is used to describe the Kingdom of God in the first four books of the New Testament.

Learn more about what the Gospel means in the Bible

What Part of the Bible Is The Gospel?

The four books of the Bible, referred to as the “gospels,” are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Dive Deeper and Learn More With Our Study Guide

What Is The Main Message Of The Gospel?

The gospel message is all about Jesus—the who, what, why, and how he came to earth to live like a human—to his death and resurrection.

Learn More About The Importance Of The Gospel

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