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Question: In any Scriptural context, is there a meaning of the "Gospel" that can be exegetically inferred?

Or, is there any historical authority that explains why it is defined so vaguely?


For example:

Matthew 11:5 - the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

What was the "gospel" being preached to the poor, that was of such good news?

The emphasis is on the expression "Good News", meaning that it would be "news" that people would consider so "good", that it would inspire them, and cause them to hope. What was it, specifically, that Jesus said that could cause a Jew or Atheist to hope?


Some Clarifications:

  1. It is understood that "εὐαγγέλιον" Semantically means, "Good Message, Good News, etc. But the issue here, is what the actual "Message/Sermon" was that caused people to believe the news was "good" and "inspirational".

  2. The answer would be some form of, "Jesus, Paul, and John said the gospel is 'x', here"; or "the text explicitly states that the Gospel is 'y', here, there, and over here"; or maybe even "Ignatius said the Gospel is 'z', because of his interpretation of Scripture over there", etc. etc.

  3. "Going to Heaven" or "Not going to Hell", seem so abstract that this wouldn't be considered "good news" - especially to unbelievers, even Jews.

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  • 1
    This is a good question but as posed is in my opinion too broad. It seems to assume that there is only one gospel mentioned throughout the NT, which is not the case or at least should not be assumed.
    – Ruminator
    Aug 11, 2019 at 23:56
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    Maybe, but maybe it would be better on Christianity.se? Or is this question restricted to the account of the dialog with John's messengers?
    – Ruminator
    Aug 12, 2019 at 0:29
  • I have no idea why my own edit - of the title - was rejected presuming that it was different from my original intention (???). So, I just copied and pasted the text from the question into the Title. Now, perhaps, we can move on. (???) Sep 13, 2019 at 10:06
  • @curiousdannii - If this is only "off-topic" because of the word choice, even though my edits preserve the same intention, then I can just repost it as another question. But, that seems kind of pointless since all of the answers are already here - which correctly interpret the question. There is zero ambiguity about the intention of the question. Why the drama refusing to accept a reasonable edit? Sep 16, 2019 at 8:01
  • A new question would be better. None of these answers have anything to do with Matthew 11. Or ask a doctrine question at Christianity.
    – curiousdannii
    Sep 16, 2019 at 23:35

7 Answers 7

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+25

The gospel is:

the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Romans 1:16 - KJV).

The gospel is the fact that God chose to forgive our ungodly behavior (for we ALL are sinners by birth) and to have us reconciled with Him when in fact we should have deserved death, and the means by which He chose that forgiveness and reconciliation is to put the punishment of sin on Himself, in the form of man and that this is a free gift to us and the only thing we have to do is believe that. In Jesus we are free from the punishment of sin, but also free from the power of sin. Paul calls the gospel the power of God; it's by Gods actions that we can enjoy this relationship of being His children, not by our own actions.

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    Romans 1:16 is giving the effect of the gospel to its beneficiaries, not the content itself of the gospel. Aug 18, 2019 at 23:00
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The “good news” (gospel) is the fulfillment of the promise of Yahweh (God) to mankind that there would be a kinsman redeemer Yeshua (Jesus); and that this Savior would redeem us from sin, so that we could be with Yahweh (God) forever.

Scriptural Proof Point References

At the earthly birth of Yeshua (Jesus), the shepherds in the field were given a literal definition of the “good news” by angels announcing that the Savior of the world had been born.

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

(Luke 2:10-11) [ESV]

John the Baptist declared that he was not the Christ (Messiah), but proclaimed (the good news) that the real Christ (Messiah) would be identifiable by baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire.

15 As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, 16 John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire. 18 So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people.

(Luke 3:15-18) [ESV]

John the Baptist then bore witness of the “good news” of the Christ (Messiah) being anointed with the Holy Spirit. John additionally bore witness that the Christ (Messiah) would be the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

John 1:29-34 [ESV]

Yeshua (Jesus) Himself announced (the good news) and declared that the Spirit of the Lord had anointed him to “proclaim liberty to captives” which was a direct reference to himself being the “kinsman redeemer” promised by Yahweh(God), fulfilling it the day he read it aloud in his home town synagogue of Nazareth:

16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,   18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

(Luke 4:16-21) [ESV]

Phillip explained the good news to the Ethiopian Eunuch with the passage from Isaiah the prophet about the sacrifice that Yeshua (Jesus) made on behalf of mankind in order to redeem mankind from sin and death so that the Christ (Messiah) would be able to offer eternal life.

29 And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” 30 So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this:  

“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth. 33 In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.”  

34 And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus [Yeshua]

(Acts 8:29-35) [ESV]

According to Yeshua (Jesus) himself, the good news was proclaimed by John the Baptist and continued on into the future:

16 “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.[fn] 17 But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void (Luke 16:16-17) [ESV] fn[ Or ... everyone is forcefully urged into it.]

Peter wrote about the good news being the word of the Lord as he paraphrased from Isaiah 40:6-8

22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for

[Isaiah 40:6-8]  “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25  but the word of the Lord remains forever.”  

And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

(1 Peter 1:22-25) [ESV]

Deeper Biblical Meanings

According to King Solomon, who was the wisest man to ever live: (1 Kings 3:12)

After everything has been heard, this is the conclusion of the matter. Fear Yahweh, and keep His Commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. Yahweh will bring every work into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether it is good, or whether it is evil.

(Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

The WORD of Yahweh is the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 34:28, Deuteronomy 4:13)

The Covenant of Yahweh is the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 34:28, Deuteronomy 4:13)

The WORD of Yahweh is the Covenant. (Exodus 34:28, Deuteronomy 4:13)

The WORD of Yahweh gives LIFE. (Psalm 119:107)

Yeshua is the WORD which has existed from the beginning. (John 1:1-2)

Yeshua gives LIFE to the world. (John 6:33, John 10:10)

Yeshua is the WORD which gives LIFE. (John 1:1-2, John 6:33, John 10:10)

Yeshua is the STONE which the builders rejected. (Psalm 118:22, Matthew 21:42, Acts 4:11, 1 Peter 2:7)

Yeshua is the LIVING STONE. (1 Peter 2:4)

The WORD of Yahweh is LIVING and active. (Hebrews 4:12)

Yeshua (the WORD of Yahweh) is LIVING and active. (Acts 1:3, Acts 14:15, Romans 14:9, Hebrews 10:31, 1 Peter 3:18, Revelation 1:18)

The WORD of Yahweh is the SWORD of the Spirit. (Ephesians 6:17)

The SWORD proceeds out of the mouth of Yeshua. (Revelation 19:15)

The WORD that proceeds out of the mouth of Yahweh is the Ten Commandments. (Deuteronomy 4:12-13)

The WORD that was from the beginning is the Ten Commandments. (1 John 2:3-7)

The WORD that was from the beginning is Yeshua! (John 1:1-2)

Manna tasted like honey. (Exodus:16:31)

Manna was the bread out of heaven. (John 6:32)

Yeshua is the TRUE BREAD out of heaven. (John 6:32)

Yeshua is the BREAD of LIFE. (John 6:48)

Yeshua is the LIVING BREAD. (John 6:51)

Yeshua (the LIVING BREAD) is the sweeter than honey WORD of Yahweh. (John 1:1-2)

Anyone who eats of the WORD, the LIVING BREAD, will LIVE FOREVER. (John 6:51)

Yeshua is the WORD of Yahweh. (John 1:1-2)

The WORD of Yahweh is the Ten Commandments (the Ten WORDS). (Exodus 34:28)

Yeshua is the WORD of Yahweh, the Ten Commandments, the Law of Yahweh.

Yeshua is the WORD that became FLESH and LIVED among us. (John 1:14)

The WORD, the Ten Commandments, the LAW, became FLESH and LIVED among us.

Yeshua did not come to abolish the Law. (Matthew 5:17)

Yeshua is the fulfillment of the Law. (Matthew 5:17)

Yeshua is the embodiment of the Law.

Yeshua is the Law in the flesh!

Conclusion

The simple message being preached to the poor of Matthew 11:5 is simply this:

Anyone Who Partakes Of …YESHUA (Jesus)

  • the TRUE BREAD
  • the LIVING BREAD
  • the BREAD OF LIFE
  • the WORD
  • the COVENANT
  • the TEN COMMANDMENTS

WILL LIVE FOREVER!

This is the bread which came down from heaven; not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread WILL LIVE FOREVER.

(John 6:58)

Addendum

Paul delivers a mini-sermon of the essential gospel to the Corinthians in chapter 15, recounting and reminding them of the basic elements of the core message. It is a message of hope in a redeemer; and hope for an eternal life that will come, even though we may not fully comprehend what it will be like. Paul assures the Corinthians with his summation that it will be good and that it will be worth it. (1 Corinthians 15:50-58)

50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

  “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55  “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”  

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

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  • Hi. I +1'ed because of the references. So, thank you. But, you keep mentioning life, (which is great). But, who wants to live forever? I mean, how is living forever "good news"? Most of us can't associate with that idea - because it is so abstract. I mean, it seems nice - since we would be healthy and all ... But, I can't imagine that people, (even unbelievers), even hope in this kind of thing. Thanks again. Aug 18, 2019 at 20:32
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    The caterpillar cannot know the joy of flight until life after the cocoon, The fetus cannot know the joy of life until after the womb. We cannot fully comprehend the joy of life that is after death, Until we are resurrected to a life of joy by heaven’s breath. Aug 24, 2019 at 19:52
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I'll share some of my own research when I was also looking for answers. I was reading Mark so I'll start there:

Mark 1:1–3, 14-15 (LEB): 1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 2 Just as it is written in the prophet Isaiah, “Behold, I am sending my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, 3 the voice of one shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths!’ ” [...] 14 And after John had been taken into custody, Jesus went into Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe in the gospel!”

Mark's use of "gospel" [εὐαγγέλιον euangelion] seems to indicate that the original "good news" was that God is imminent (Mark 1:14-15). Mark 1:1-3 includes a quote from Isa 40, where we can find a similar message, this time with εὐαγγελίζω euangelizo:

Isaiah 40:9–10 (LES): 9 Go up on a high mountain, O bringer of good news [εὐαγγελίζω] to Zion; lift up your voice with strength, O bringer of good tidings [εὐαγγελίζω] to Jerusalem! Lift it up, do not fear! Say to the cities of Judah, “Look; your God! 10 Look; the Lord!” The Lord comes with might, and his arm with power. Look! His wage is with him, and his work before him.

It seems Isaiah's gospel also emphasizes God's imminence, this time with an intention to save instead of to judge the living ("Look; your God! Look; the Lord! The Lord comes with might [...]").

THE POINT The good news was first preached as a simple message: "God is here (to save us)". Eventually, as we read the gospels, we learn how this develops into the more familiar message (e.g. "the Son of God is incarnated as Jesus Christ, who will save all humanity by his death and resurrection").

P.S. Immediately following Isa 40:3-5 (quoted in Mark 1:1-3) we read the "bad news", so to speak:

Isaiah 40:6–8 (LES): 6 The voice of one saying, “Cry out,” and I said, “What shall I cry out?” All flesh is grass, and all the glory of humanity is like a flower of grass; 7 the grass is withered, and the flower falls off, 8 but the word of our God remains forever.

"All flesh is grass, [...] the grass is withered, and the flower falls off" isn't necessarily "good news" for humanity, which is why it may help the reader appreciate the following verses (vv. 9-11) as truly good news.

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  • +1, Thanks! I appreciate the textual basis provided for the "imminence". Apr 1, 2019 at 5:35
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Question:

According to Scripture: What is the Gospel that was preached?


Answer - The "Gospel" is that Mercy Triumphs over Judgment:

The Gospel is illustrated perfectly by two parables: The Unforgiving Servant - Matthew 18:23-35, and The Unrighteous Steward - Luke 16:1-9.

The "Good News" is that if anyone trusts that Jesus' unconditional advocacy from the cross is sufficient for forgiveness, (unconditional love), then they will have abundant life, (be saved from condemnation).

This means to trust that Jesus obeyed God by unconditionally advocating for ALL people regardless of what they have done - even for those torturing him to death - even death on a cross.

Luke 23:34 - Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” ...

However, this also means that the one who pleads under that law of mercy according to Jesus' advocacy, (the law of life), must also forfeit their right to accuse, (baptism), and those who believe must also repent from pronouncing condemnations according to any law that withholds life or imparts death. In only this way can they be "just" and have a clear conscience before God, (1 Peter 3:21).


Contexts:

The "Gospel" is usually always mentioned in contexts of repentance, forgiveness, and salvation (i.e., life, not death).

Whatever the answer is, it must be consistent with:

  1. The Gospel is "Good News", (Going to Heaven or a New Earth is a bit abstract for most to consider it to be "Good News".)

  2. The Gospel is "Offensive" - to the "lawful":

    Romans 9:33 - “Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,

  3. The Gospel is "Simple" to explain to the poor and those apart from the law:

    Romans 15:21 - “They who had no news of Him shall see, And they who have not heard shall understand.”

    1 Corinthians 11:3 - But I fear, lest somehow, ... your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 .. if you receive ... a different gospel ...

  4. The "Good News" is about the Favor of God, (which requires trusting):

    Acts 20:24 - ... to testify to the gospel of the grace [favor] of God.

  5. The "Gospel" is contrary, the antithesis), to whatever anyone and whatever everyone was doing.

    Mark 1:15 - Repent, and believe in the gospel.

  6. The "Good News" is the law of a Nation/Kingdom:

    Matthew 24:14 - This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached

  7. The "Gospels", somehow, in their entirety reflect the "Gospel":

    Mark 1:1 - The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.


Argument

James 2:13 - For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

The Gospel should be represented consistently by all of the New Testament writers, John the Baptist and Jesus.

Those who hope in commandments and ordinances are offended:

Ephesians 2:14 - For [Jesus] is our peace, who has ... 15 ... abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances ... thus making peace ...

John the Baptist was Preaching the Gospel:

Luke 3:18 - So with many other exhortations he preached the gospel to the people.

What did John the Baptist preach?

Mark 1:4 - John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Acts 5:31 - He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

Easy access to forgiveness resulting in deliverance, freedom, life and salvation could be considered "Good News".

But if access to this forgiveness is through repentance - then this is not at all good news - if it is expected that everyone has to repent from anything and everything "sinful", (which is impossible to know).

Repenting from imperfect faith is not a requirement:

Jesus brought life, regardless of a lack of faith.

Mark 9:24 - Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”

Salvation requires God's Favor, which requires faith about something:

Ephesians 2:8 - For by grace you have been saved through faith ...

It is "Good News" to have the "Favor of God", (Acts 20:24), but not necessarily if that Favor is contingent on "Faith/Trust". What specifically can we trust - without doubt? Are we expected to trust every promise and judgment of God, without doubt, for "salvation"? If so, this is not "Good News".

So, what specifically are we supposed to Trust about Jesus?

Philippians 2:8 - And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

It certainly wasn't Jewish tradition, or even all of Moses, that Jesus was obedient to, so what had Jesus obeyed that God recognized?

Luke 23:34 - Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.

Matthew 5:7 - “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Matthew 7:2 - For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.

Matthew 18:33 - Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’

God's mercy supersedes any condemnations under law:

Romans 9:15 - For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

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  • -1 for poor hermeneutics. This post includes an egregious series of misrepresentations of a God who does not himself change through time and also of the Scriptures as no allowances are made for variations in context or literary meaning. You also outright chop verses in half where the half you chop off would contradict your statement about it.
    – Caleb
    Aug 19, 2019 at 5:20
  • @Caleb - I have no idea what you are saying speaks about God Changing. I only elided parts of verses to save space. Could you give a concrete example of what you are talking about? The context objection also makes no sense, as the entirety of Scripture, (every narrative), affirms that Mercy triumphs over judgment. Aug 20, 2019 at 20:58
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In the New Testament: What was the “Gospel” that was preached?

Gospel in Greek is “euaggelion”, which means “good news/message". The similar Greek word “euaggelizo”, means: “to announce/give good news/message" [Strong’s Concordance]. The good news, that was presented in the four Gospel books, was that God had come down in a man, called Jesus; and that this man was the long awaited Messiah.

"But the angel said to them (the shepherds), “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord" (NIV; Luke 2:10,11).

There were no newspapers, books, radio, TV, etc. in those times, so people who wanted to hear God speak had to attend one of Jesus’ "meetings", where they could be taught about right living leading to eternal life.

"Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them" (NIV; Mat 5:1,2).

The Apostle John summed up the Gospel:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. (NIV; John 3:16)

John the Baptist identified the full Gospel at an early stage as 'Jesus, God's sacrificial lamb of redemption':

"Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (ESV; John 1:29).

Paul spoke about “My Gospel”, which in Greek is “mou euaggelion”, meaning “my good message” (Rom 2:16; 16:25; 2 Tim 2:8). This message was slightly different than the message of Jesus and his disciples, because it focussed on the meaning of the crucifixion of Christ, which the original Gospel barely did, since Jesus had not yet been crucified. The meaning that Paul saw in the crucifixion of Christ was that he had been crucified with him:

"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me" (NIV; Gal 2:19,20).

Consequently, Paul understood the crucifixion of Jesus to mean that we should offer our:

“bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God”, since “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires,” because “this is (our) true and proper worship” (NIV; Rom 12:1; Gal 5:24).

This way of thinking Paul called: "The message of the Cross".

"The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (NIV; 1 Cor 1:18)

He called this new way of life - “The Way”.

“I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect” (NIV; Acts 24:14).

Here Paul probably drew on Jesus’ earlier declaration of himself being “The Way”:

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (NIV; John 14:6)

In conclusion, the Gospel that was preached in the New Testament before Jesus was crucified was: ‘salvation through belief that Jesus is the Savior, the Son of God, the Messiah'; but after Jesus' death on the cross, and resurection from the dead, it evolved into the more complete: ‘salvation through belief in Jesus and crucifixion of our flesh’.

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world (NIV; Gal 6:14).

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    Please stop editing your posts so frequently. We've told you a number of times before. 38 edits in 2 days, 15 of them in the last couple hours in egregious and disruptive. Editing is good, but you need to batch your work. If you want to keep improving it don't post it until you've read through it looking at the preview pane, that's why there is a preview. If you is something else to fix, finish editing it before you post the changes. One you post it, stop reading through it for a while. A day or whatever it takes.
    – Caleb
    Aug 15, 2019 at 14:10
  • @Caleb - Frankly, I understand the point of so many edits - if site adminstrators won't make the edit boxes any bigger for editing. Side by side editor / result would be the best idea. Aug 15, 2019 at 21:37
  • One can only edit for 5 minutes before it ticks over to show that an edit has been made. Ought to be a lot longer than that. Aug 15, 2019 at 22:51
  • @elikakohen I would love side by side preview, feel free to make a feature request on the master meta site. But that does not excuse making so many trivial edits in a row. Save/edit/save loops are more work than scrolling to the preview, not less. And no, the 5 minute window to not record separate edits is not too short. If you are doing lots of things in that window you should be waiting to save until you are done reviewing.
    – Caleb
    Aug 17, 2019 at 7:04
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    The kinds of little edits you are making would not be happening if you were not re-reading the post after you saved it. You should be doing your re-reading using the preview and only saving when you are ready to turn the page and do something else. Don't post while you're still mulling it over whether on in your head or on paper. One you do post, leave it alone for a while.
    – Caleb
    Aug 17, 2019 at 10:13
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Since Mark's Gospel used the term 'gospel' in verse 1:1 (the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God), we have tended to use the word in the quite specific sense of the story of the mission, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. At Matthew 11:5, this clearly could not have been what was being taught, although they could have taught that Jesus had begun to perform miracles.

Some decades earlier, Paul had, in his epistles, frequently used the word 'gospel' in what was probably its original Christian sense. He most frequently calls this the gospel of Christ, but also the gospel of God, and also the gospel of peace. Looking at Paul's usage, he clearly does not mean the actual story of Jesus, in the sense of Mark's Gospel or Matthew's Gospel. When he offered to preach the gospel to the Christian community in Rome, the Romans would have known at least as much about the life of Jesus as Paul did, so this is not what he was offerring to preach:

Romans 1:15: So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

Instead, Paul's gospel was a message of hope and faith, which in turn required living according to the standards that Paul preached. 1 Corinthians 9:14 describes the gospel as moral guidelines, or rules to live by, confirmed by Romans 10:16:

1 Corinthians 9:14: Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

Romans 10:16: But they have not all obeyed the gospel...

1 Thessalonians 1:5 tells us that Paul's message was not just in words, but in how we feel:

For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

Since the author of Matthew had access to a copy of Mark, it is possible that he simply used the term 'gospel' because Mark had already done so. It is more likely that he was using the word in the sense that Paul had done decades earlier, and which had probably become common usage in the latter part of the first century.

To describe further what Paul preached would do Matthew a disservice, as even if the author used the term 'gospel' in the same sense as had Paul, the two authors probably had quite different ideas in mind when they wrote of a gospel. In three out of the five instances when Matthew uses the term 'gospel', it is "the gospel of the kingdom;" in the other two instances, the statement is that the gospel is preached. The 'kingdom' is generally understood to refer to the parousia, but could also refer to heaven in the here and now. When Matthew speaks of "the poor have the gospel preached to them," Jesus could not have been talking of his second coming, but he could have been preaching that all who believed him would go to heaven. But this was far from a unique teaching in first-century Judaism.

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  • @e.s.kohen I have updated my answer, attempting to limit this to what the author of Matthew intended, rather than Paul or later Christian writers. There are of course limits to what we can read out of a rather short book, but I think that if we agree the meaning of gospel evolved over time, I should answer from Matthew. I hope this new info helps. May 27, 2015 at 23:12
  • Thank you again. I understand that it is a failure on my part to express this question. It was not my intent to limit you to Matthew--my hope is that by harmonizing /all/ texts in the Bible, a clear picture can emerge. "What does the Bible say that the Gospel message is?" May 27, 2015 at 23:25
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The entirety of the scriptures is a historical record of God's dealings with men in the past ages. Everyone in scripture is living at a time in history when God was dealing with men in various ways and the NT tells of people living during a "sea change" in the way God speaks to and deals with mankind:

[Heb 1:1-2 NASB] (1) God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, (2) in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world [IE: "ages"].

So according to "To the Hebrews" the saints of the NT are experiencing the finale/last days of the "old" and the arrival of the "new" way of dealing with men:

[Heb 9:26 NKJV] (26) He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

This "sea change" is what is being described in the NT. It was brought about by the Messiah who instituted a new covenant with the houses of Israel (the northern kingdom, who at the time had been destroyed as a nation and the people scattered into the wind) and of Judah (the southern kingdom, who at the time was still in covenant with God but had so violated its terms that it too was to be destroyed, their temple and city destroyed and their people scattered and devastated in the Roman-Jewish war of circa 70ad.

But there would simultaneously be a remnant that would be spiritually resurrected to fulfill all the promises to the patriarchs concerning Israel being made a praise in the land (Ezek 37), latter part of Isaiah, etc.

So "the millennium" was this glorified Israel operating in Jerusalem and the northern kingdom in glory, power, signs, honor, etc. and the "great tribulation" was the disaster of the war.

When Jesus returned and established these raptured saints as a nation of kings and priests ruling from the heavens in the foursquare new Jerusalem the "gospel of the kingdom" was fulfilled and is not relevant to anyone anymore except as a historical reality (still impacting the present, and the future).

Then the old covenant "disappeared" when it was burned to the ground:

[Heb 8:13 NET] (13) When he speaks of a new covenant, he makes the first obsolete. Now what is growing obsolete and aging is about to disappear.

Paul brought, by Revelation of hidden divine "mysteries" a new gospel, called variously "my gospel" and "the gospel of the grace/favor of God" which was NOT based on the old covenant, earthly temple, blood lines, etc. His gospel is declared explicitly in Paul's own words:

[1Co 15:1-8 NKJV] (1) Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, (2) by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. (3) For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, (4) and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, (5) and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. (6) 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. (7) After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. (8) Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.


The Roman Catholic Church, some hundreds of years later created a new gospel which is now accepted almost universal by those who refer to themselves as "Catholic" or "Protestant" and that is that one must believe in the dogma of the "Trinity" as defined in a document of forty plus assertions, all extra-biblical in their origin (largely gnostic). The gospel according to the organization that many consider to have been given authority to override the apostles, begins like this:

The Athanasian Creed 1. Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith; 2. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. 3. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; 4. Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance. 5. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit. 6. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal...

Personally, I plan on sticking with Paul's gospel but I thought since we are discussing theology we should include the gospel that actually dictates who is considered "saved" or not in "Christian circles".

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  • I am having a problem trying to identify what you are arguing is the "good thing" that people can hope for? I mean, if I went up to an Atheist, or Jew, what could I tell them that Jesus said was "Good News"? Something that would inspire them. Aug 18, 2019 at 20:35

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