Mark 1:15

"...The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel". ESV. My emphasis.

In Mark 1:15 Jesus was near, or at, the beginning of His ministry. In the next verse, Mark 1:16, He is calling His first disciples. So towards the beginning of His ministry Jesus says "the gospel".

From 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

"Now I would remind you, of the gospel I preached to you...3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,".

For Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 "the gospel" is to do with Christ dying, being buried and raised. But in Mark 1:15 before Christ dies, is buried and raised, Jesus says "believe in the gospel".

What does "the gospel" mean in Mark 1:15?

  • 2
    I suggest that any answer has to incorporate the key text of Galatians 3:8 in which the gospel is preached to Abraham (in the light of the foreseen justifying of the heaven through faith) saying 'In thee shall all nations be blessed'. The blessing of the gospel is related to justification by faith which is more than 'forgiveness' : it is a matter of the righteousness of God.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 6 at 19:05
  • 2
    @Nigel Following your comment re:Abraham. Are you saying that in Mark 1:15 Jesus is challenging His hearers to believe what they have already been told in the O.T.? e.g.If they had believed Isaiah 52 ["he has redeemed Jerusalem"] they would have already believed the good news/gospel?
    – C. Stroud
    Feb 7 at 10:15
  • 4
    I would prefer to focus on Abraham, myself. And the further revelation in Paul's gospel of the righteousness of God being revealed. The gospel is the power of God . . . . . because therein is the righteousness of God revealed. And that points us back to Abraham. I would say. (As @Anne has answered ).
    – Nigel J
    Feb 8 at 1:05

10 Answers 10


He says "good news", and right before this statement, he explains what it is: "The time is complete (it is time) and the kingdom of God is at hand." That is the good news that he is commanding to believe/trust.

Both "good news" and "gospel" are translations of the same underlying Greek word: evangelium (eu- "good", angelium "proclamation, announcement, news").

Gospel is such a funny word for a fairly simple idea.

  • @Daniel Ridings Thanks. Would it be relevant to your answer to expand on "good news"? e.g. Is there more than one "good news" or only one, THE gospel?
    – C. Stroud
    Feb 6 at 18:52
  • "Good news" is just a literal translation of the Greek. The news is good, depending on the context, so yes, there is more than one, though it might all add up to one large message. Jesus could not speak of things that had not yet happened, but the good news he was bringing. Paul had other good news. Though in the larger scheme of things, they might be the same. But then you get in to what is "the kingdom of God." Feb 6 at 21:24
  • I cannot find academic confirmation of this idea, but I have heard in sermons that newly crowned kings of powerful kingdoms would go on war campaigns the following spring, and send back "good news" from the war front of all the conquests. And that this is the intended sense here. Mark 1:1, but not 1:15, uses the Greek loanword evangelion even in the Aramaic New Testament possibly for this reason.
    – wberry
    Feb 7 at 16:53
  • Can you make it clearer why "good news" is relevant to "gospel"? (i.e.: that "gospel" is just "good news" in greek, the language the text was originally written in?) Many contributors will know this, but some readers may not.
    – MGOwen
    Feb 8 at 8:27
  • 1
    @DanielRidings sorry, I didn't mean explain it to me in a comment. I meant explain it in your answer. That crucial piece of info is missing from your answer. You sort of imply it, but it's unclear to anyone who doesn't already know it. Just trying to make your answer clearer and more comprehensible to a wider audience.
    – MGOwen
    Feb 9 at 9:25

I agree that Paul defines the "Gospel", εὐαγγέλιον, very clearly in 1 Cor 15:3-7 as:

  • that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures
  • that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures
  • and that He appeared to Cephas and then to the Twelve. After that, He appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once ...

However, the word εὐαγγέλιον has several shades of meaning as listed by BDAG, namely:

  1. God's good news to humans, similar to Paul's definition above, eg, Mark 1:15, 8:35, 10:29, Rom 1:16, etc
  2. details relating to the life and ministry of Jesus, eg, Mark 1:1

Note that Mark uses this noun in these two senses within 15 verses, namely"

  • V1 - Mark's book about the life of Jesus
  • V14 - preaching of the gospel = good news of God's salvation in Jesus Christ
  • V15 - the good news of God's salvation in Jesus Christ

Note that for Mark, there is a distinction between the two types of preaching:

  • John's preaching of repentance from sins, Mark 1:4-8
  • Jesus preaching of the gospel of good news about God's salvation in Christ, Mark 14, 15.

It is later in Mark's gospel account that his gospel tells of Jesus death for our sins (Mark 14, 15), and resurrection on the third day (Mark 16). Thus, there is no conflict between Mark's gospel and Paul's gospel.


The verse properly interpreted says:

"...The time is fulfilled, and the rule of God is at hand; repent and believe in the good news of the victory of king Jesus"

The concept of gospel/good news (G2098. euaggelion / H1319. basar) is a simple one. Good news (euaggelion in LXX) is usually used in the OT in a connection with a military victory. Like in 2 Samuel 18.

Then Zadok’s son Ahimaaz said, “Let me run to the king with the good news that the LORD has rescued him from his enemies.”

Our king has defeated the enemy and is on his way back to Zion. That particular story is a contrast to the story of Jesus. The death of a rebellious son that hanged on a tree and was pierced brings peace to the whole Israel, and David is re-established as the king of the whole nation. The death of the obedient Son that was hanged on the tree of a cross and was pierced brings peace to the whole Israel of God and God is re-established as the king of not only heavens but also the earth.

It is that picture of the good news Isaiah had in mind when he wrote those famous scriptures:

You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!”
See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. (Isaiah 40:9-11)

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices; together they shout for joy. When the LORD returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes.
Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the LORD has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. The LORD will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God. (Isaiah 52:7-10)

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. (Isaiah 61:1)

The moment of Jesus' crucifixion was His enthronement, and the resurrection His victory over the devil. Paul and other apostles are the watchmen that spread the good news.

  • 1
    A brilliant case for evangelion viewed through a military lens. Thank you
    – wberry
    Feb 7 at 16:57
  • Excellent. I've long noted that the Gospels are not all good news. A lot of it is dedicated to the destruction of the Judeans in 70 AD/CE, reproofs, warnings, etc.
    – Ruminator
    Feb 8 at 21:35
  • What a pity the power of your last sentence seems to have been wasted on the above two commentators. "My Kingdom is no part of this word, otherwise..." as Jesus said. That truth was wasted on most of those who heard it back then.
    – Anne
    Feb 11 at 18:39

I propose that the answer is to be found in the next chapter; "My son, your sins are forgiven" (Mark ch1v5)

Is this not the basic message of the post-Easter church? ""Through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you" (Acts ch13 v38)

It is not mentioned in the 1 Corinthians quotation, but it is the implied end-result of the 1 Corinthians quotation. Christ died for us and was raised from the dead, and therefore our sins are forgiven.

The only difference between the two messages is that Jesus does not cite his own coming death as the key factor. The people who hear Jesus directly are to believe their sins are forgiven "because I say so" (in effect). That is surely the good newsthat the penitent woman has believed (Luke ch7 vv36-50), "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much" (v47). That is, she loved much because she knew already she was forgiven, and her forgiven sins were so many. The declaration "Your sins are forgiven" in the next verse only confirms the grateful conviction that brought her to his feet. That would be the reason why Jesus says in another version (Mark ch14 v9) that the story of this action would be told "wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world".

The "good news" taught by Jesus is the same "good news" as in the rest of the New Testament. That is, forgiveness of sin.

  • 1
    You make a good point that, initially, individuals were to receive the forgiveness of their sins upon Jesus' word that they were forgiven. Just as Abraham believed God. And there was evaluated to Abraham unto righteousness as saith the scripture. Up-voted +1.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 6 at 19:13
  • What is the "post-Easter church"?
    – user33515
    Feb 12 at 16:34
  • Just the church, which came into existence afer the events of that first Easter when Jesus died and rose from the dead. I was anticipating the point being made in the last paragraph., that Jesus did not, apparently, mention his own death when he was offering forgiveness. So the pre-Easter teaching of forgiveness did not incorporate that connection, and the post-Easter teaching could. Feb 12 at 17:11

As others have pointed out, the Greek word used in Mark (and elsewhere) is εὐαγγέλιον (euangelion). The root of the Greek word is related to the verb ἀγγέλλω (angellō), meaning "to tell". Other related words are ἀγγελία (angelia) - message or news - and ἄγγελος (angelos) - messenger, also translated as "angel".

The prefix εὐ (eu) in Greek conveys "good", so that εὐαγγέλιον is rightly translated as "Good News".

The English word "Gospel" comes from a contraction of the Old English words gōd - meaning "good" - with spell - meaning story (see, e.g. Mark 1:15 in the Wessex Gospels). Some might be familiar with the Jewish-American expression "a good spiel". The expression comes from Yiddish' Germanic roots and means and sounds almost the same as the Old English gōdspell - a "good story".


Not to detract from the main point of the question (what the gospel means in this verse), I feel a need to start with the point about "believe" (this gospel). If there is clarity at the outset as to the role of belief, then the individual may gain vital insight into the actual gospel message. Whereas if it is the other way around - knowledge of what the message is, followed by believing it - something crucial could be missed.

Take the epitome of believing faith - Abraham. God told him to do something that could have undermined his belief (faith) in God's promise that through the miracle child of promise, Abraham would become father to many nations. Yet such was Abraham's trust in God's promise, he reckoned God would resurrect the lad back to life if he kept faith with God's command, doing it - Hebrews 11:17-19. Abraham was not told this. In faith, he reckoned that God's command would not negate his promise, so without knowing exactly how God would deal with a sacrificed child of promise, he took the step of obedient faith. He did not know God was testing his faith until he was told to stop, and to use the ram caught in the thicket instead.

Take the way God's people were to be prepared to receive the Messiah in faith; John the Baptist told them to repent, and to be water baptised, in readiness for the promised One. They did not know what the Messiah's gospel message to them would be, for his ministry had not yet started. All they knew was that the messenger had come before Messiah, to prepare his way, and they were to repent and be baptised. Those who took that step of obedient faith were then prepared to receive the Messiah, and they did.

Time and again in the Bible, believing faith has to be exercised, then understanding comes. Clarity begins to shine through the confusing mists when there's a repentant heart and a desire to be obedient, irrespective of not understanding what's really going on.

Now consider how human nature resists this way of God - the way of the gospel. People want to have knowledge of what's entailed, what the details are of the plan, and then they will decide whether they are prepared to go along with it.

This means that the answer to your question is that when the person is prepared (by a humble, obedient desire to please God), then they will take the step of faith first, and understanding of what, exactly, the gospel is, will break through. All they have to know is that Jesus, in his person, IS the good news and he is to be followed, no matter what. All they have to know is that Jesus is the Son of God (in the way Peter did in Matthew 16:13-17) and believe that, then the magnitude of the gospel will break into their lives.

Yes, there is a basic minimum of what is to be believed, as stated in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, and that minimum is based on believing Jesus to be the Son of God who died and was raised back to life, that sinners trusting in what he did will be pardoned and live eternally, in Christ. However, just knowing the facts will never result in salvation. After all, the demons believe there is one God - and shudder. The demons had to obey Christ's commands when he walked on earth, knowing he could send them to eternal punishment with a word, instantly. It's not enough to know who Jesus is if you are not longing to follow him obediently. The heart has to be moved so that the step of faith (trust) in Jesus causes that repentance and following which is proof that the gospel has been believed.

The gospel in Mark 1:15 was Jesus telling those ones prepared by John the Baptist to follow him, for the kingdom of God was at hand, the time having been fulfilled. Once they believed that simple command, they would enter into the kingdom of God and discover Christ to be its king.

  • Up-voted +1. Edifying and perceptive. Thank you.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 8 at 1:02
  • Probably it’s fair to state the opposite: Jews baptizing to achieve metanoia knew what they were doing it for. They knew the scripture and the prophecy. It is the ones that didn’t (want to) get baptized that Jesus had to convince.
    – grammaplow
    Feb 9 at 2:55
  • @grammaplow Metanoia is the changing of the mind; a new understanding comes in. J the B never mentioned forgiveness of sins but confession of them. His baptism was unto remission of sins. In itself it did not actually remit them. Under his ministry sins are exposed, confessed, after which Messiah of the Covenant will be recognized and followed. Jesus did not strive to convince anybody of anything. He came preaching the gospel with full authority and power. Those prepared by Jn to receive him had their minds changed with a fresh understanding wherein the seed of the kingdom of heaven took root.
    – Anne
    Feb 9 at 14:13
  • Thanks for your comment! In order to add to the conversation I'd need to see how your comment opposes my statement. I see just one sentence I can reflect on: "Jesus did not strive to convince anybody of anything." Convince: cause (someone) to believe firmly in the truth of something. bing.com/search?q=define+convince&form=DCTRQR Obviously this was exactly what he was doing. Whether he strove or did so without effort is not something I wanted to argue. Maybe you could clarify which other statements of mine you explicitly oppose so I can react too?
    – grammaplow
    Feb 9 at 20:19
  • 1
    @grammaplow Comments are not for instigating 'conversations' but you could, ideally, post a question on this yourself, if you wish to pursue the matter of whether Jesus strove to convince people of the gospel. Just let me know if you do that, then I could look at your question and seek to provide a detailed answer. We may disagree on some points, but I am not opposed to you. I respect your right to hold to different views.
    – Anne
    Feb 10 at 14:07

Regarding the phrase και πιστευετε εν τω ευαγγελιω ("and believe the gospel") at Mark 1:15 (KJV, et al.):

  1. I found no ante-Nicene patristic comments on Mark 1:15.

  2. The phrase is seen in four (4) early Bibles; spec., Sinaiticus, Alexandrianus, Vaticanus, and Bezae Cantabrigiensis, c. 325-499 CE, and Washingtonianus, AKA the Freer Gospels, c. 375-499 CE).

  3. The phrase is absent in MT 4:17, 10:7.


The quandary that C. Stroud was faced with could easily have been solved by not skipping over the very first verse of this chapter in Mark. Mark wrote:

The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God

Mark started with the beginning of the Gospel and Paul filled in the subsequent details in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. Mark presented foresight and Paul gave hindsight. There is no contradiction, at all.

Notice that Mark ties the Gospel in with the imminent arrival of the Kingdom of God. All the benefits of the Gospel could not be realized without the Authority to implement them. The coronation of Jesus with all the royal accouterments and authority accomplished this! There is no doubt that Jesus had in mind the prophecy in Daniel 7:13,14, where the Son of Man was to be endowed with authority, glory, and sovereign power. Jesus referred to Himself repeatedly as this Son of Man over 80 times, to emphasize this reality.

Just before His ascension, Jesus reaffirmed His royal power, and gave full endorsement of the Gospel for all nations to receive. (Matthew 28:18) It is this Full Gospel, which included now the redemptive death and empowering resurrection of Jesus, that Paul was wont to evangelize to the cities of Greece and Asia Minor. (1 Cor. 15:1-4, Romans 1:16)


Far beyond the ancient meaning of "good news of a military victory" the N.T. conjoins the Gospel to a plethora of amazing Christian graces:

  • Gospel of Jesus Christ - 2Th.1:8
  • Gospel of grace - Acts 20:24
  • Gospel of His Son - Rom. 1:9
  • Gospel of salvation - Eph. 1:13
  • Gospel of peace - Eph. 6:15
  • Gospel of Blessed God - 1Tim. 1:11
  • Gospel everlasting - Rev. 14:6
  • Gospel of Kingdom - Mt. 4:23

Moreover, this good news is emphasized more in the original Greek than is apparent in modern English translations. The "euanggelion" (evangel) is used 77 times in the N.T. The verb form (evangelize) is used 55 times. This fact is obscured by being placed under the blanket of "preaching." Paul did as much evangelizing as he did preaching! (Check the Greek Interlinear Bible, then put an "E" next to each verse in your personal Study Bible where evangelism is mentioned. It will add a new dimension to your N.T. exposition!)

In summary, the Gospel of the Kingdom began with the ministry of Jesus (who was then soon to be coronated King), and this Good News is now evangelized worldwide by His disciples who are ambassadors in His Kingdom. This is Good News indeed!


Op asked;

"What does "the gospel" mean in Mark 1:15

"The word gospel is from Eu-Anggelion. The prefix Eu is translated by the words well and good. Second part of the word is Anggelia denotes a message. This word Is usually translated "gospel," Which means simply and only, a message of good news.
◄ 2095. eu ►
eu: well
Original Word: ε
Strong's Greek: 2095. εὖ (eu) — 6 Occurrences
See Englishman is concordance for the six times this word is used.

The second part of the word, Anggelia, denotes a message by means of a language.

And this is the message (Anggelia) which we have heard from Him... For this is the message (Anggelia) Which you hear from the beginning (1 John 1:5 and 3:11).

These two Greek words. Eu and Anggelia combined form the compound word, EUANGGELIA or EUANNGELION, Which means in a literal English, Well- message or Good message. In our Bible the word is usually translated "gospel" which simply and only a message of good news.

It has been inconsistently and confusedly translated in our King James Bible by the following words and phrases:

"Gospel" (Mk.1:15; Acts 20:24; Rom. 1:16; Eph; 1:13
"Glad tidings" Luke 1:19)
"Good tidings" Luke 2:10; 1 Thes. 3:6
"Preached" Acts 17:18; 1 Cor. 15:1),
"Preacheth" Gal. 1:23
"Preaching" (Luke 8:1; Acts 8:12; 10:36).
"Declared" (Rev. 10:7)

The word EU ANGGELION, WELL-MESSAGE in the scriptures to announce, Communicate, Or make no difference messages of good news," Some of which are not concerned with salvation."
From the book The Gospel of Our Salvation by Adlai Loudy

Now to answer the question what is the meaning of the gospel, The good news or good message In Mark 1:15.

The first verse in Mark 1 gives us context. We see that this good news or gospel Goes back to a prophecy in Isaiah 40:1-3

1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, 3 the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’” 4 John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Comfort for the people who have suffered is now at hand.

Comfort for God’s People
1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins. 3 A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (Isaiah 40:1-3)

God's people, Israel had 400 years of silence from God and now this incredibly good news for them has come.

"The 400 Years of Silence" is the name given to the period of time between the last of the Old Testament prophets and the arrival of Jesus in the New Testament. It began with Malachi's prediction of Elijah's return (Malachi 4:5-6) circa 430 BC and ended with its metaphorical fulfillment: the coming of John the Baptist circa 6—4 BC.
"What were Israel's 400 years of silence?"

It starts with John the Baptist and the baptism of Israel to repent from their sins and then to reveal Jesus to them. The kingdom of heaven is now very close at hand… This is what they have been longing for.

World English Bible Now after John was taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Good News of God’s Kingdom,

Young's Literal Translation And after the delivering up of John, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of the reign of God, Mark 1:14

So they were to believe the good news that the reign of God or the kingdom of heaven was at hand and it was Jesus who they were to listen to… Believe him! John the Baptist had prepared the way for Him and now Jesus is who they are to listen to.

So remember it had been 400 years where they had suffered quite a bit. Their time of suffering has been fulfilled and it's over! This was incredibly good news for them to hear.

The time between the last writings of the Old Testament and the appearance of Christ is known as the “intertestamental” (or “between the testaments”) period. It lasted from the prophet Malachi’s time (about 400 BC) to the preaching of John the Baptist (about AD 25). Because there was no prophetic word from God during the period from Malachi to John, some refer to it as the “400 silent years.” The political, religious, and social atmosphere of Israel changed significantly during this period. Much of what happened was predicted by the prophet Daniel. (See Daniel chapters 2, 7, 8, and 11 and compare to historical events.) Got questions

a. the glad tidings of the kingdom of God soon to be set up, and subsequently also of Jesus, the Messiah, the founder of this kingdom: Mark 1:15. Bible Hub

As a side note; There are eight different Messages of good news and one perverted gospel, which is not another.

  • 1
    @agarza Thanks for the edit!
    – Sherrie
    Feb 10 at 14:46

What does "the gospel" mean in Mark 1:15? It refers to the testimony of John the Baptist described in John 1:15 to 1:37, a proto-gospel that served as the basis for the one announced by Jesus.

εὐηγγελίζετο τὸν λαό Luke 3:18

The verb form κηρύσσων used in Mark 1:14 is the same used for John the Baptist in Mark 1:4, besides this, in:

Πολλὰ μὲν οὖν καὶ ἕτερα παρακαλῶν εὐηγγελίζετο τὸν λαόν NAS27 Luke 3:18

And in this way, with many other exhortations, John proclaimed good news to the people". NET Luke 3:18


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