Thursday, February 12, 2009

What is the Gospel?

[For Christians]
A survey of selected verses

The following searches were done using the search engine and searching the word “Gospel” in the KJV NT and the Hebrew word “Basar” in the OT (Strong’s # 1319) because the KJV doesn’t use the word “gospel”. The list is not exhaustive. I tried to be as objective as I could be in excluding verses that didn’t apply (e.g. the good news of Saul’s death), were not clarifying (i.e. verses I did not understand). Verses were also excluded if they were along in describing a detail of the Gospel or if there were not enough to support promotion of an element to a ‘common element’ or essential part of the Gospel. For example, there were a few verses that spoke of disobedience of the Gospel that I excluded; I did not think that ‘obedience’ was one of the most important essential parts of the Gospel (absent in the definitions, only a few verses support it). Obedience
is indeed a part, but not an essential part. As with any selected survey of verses, the author’s bias and preconceived ideas remain. The reader is encouraged to do the search herself to corroborate or contradict these results.
בשר basar
1) to bear news, bear tidings, publish, preach, show forth
εαγγέλιον euaggelion
1) a reward for good tidings 2) good tidings

Jesus uses a word translated "Gospel" only 11 times (3 in Matthew, 6 in Mark, 2 in Luke, 0 in John). It is used in the Gospels 17 times (as in “Jesus preached the gospel”). This may be good reason to look elsewhere for a concise definition. Paul, for example, discusses the Gospel extensively (Paul uses the word 75 times, 13 times in Romans alone). Mathew, Mark, Luke, John certainly contain the Gospel, but offer no concise or explicit definition.

There are explicit definitions for the “good news” or “the Gospel” in I Chronicles, Isaiah, Romans and I Corinthians. In my reading of the scriptures, these four definitions contain seven common elements.
Common Elements
1. God’s glory (esp. attributes of holiness, righteousness, strength; relative to other gods)
2. Receiving and declaring (seeing, proclaiming, singing, declaring, praising, witnessing; usually joyful)
3. Salvation and reward (via resurrection)
4. Redemption of Israel
5. Redemption of all people/All nations/Heathen
6. Faith, fear, belief in/of God
7. The word (the Truth; the promise; consistent with the scriptures).
Other repeated themes:
A mystery revealed: once hidden but now revealed. Given plainly; not in wise words or flattery. Obedience is an important element. A fulfillment of promise. These did not come up as consistently as the seven.

Definitional Verses

(Italics indicates the use of the word “basar” in the OT or “euaggelion” in the NT)
1Ch 16:23-5 Sing unto the LORD, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation. Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations. For great [is] the LORD, and greatly to be praised: he also [is] to be feared above all gods. [5/7 of the common elements]
Isa 52:7-9 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion. Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. [6/7 of the common elements]
Rom 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. [7/7 of the common elements]
1Cr 15:1-9 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. [5/7 of the common elements]

Other Verses

(Italics indicates the use of the word “basar” in the OT or “euaggelion” in the NT)
Psa 40:9 I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest. I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.
Psa 96:2-4 Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. For the LORD [is] great, and greatly to be praised: he [is] to be feared above all gods.
Isa 40:9-11 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift [it] up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong [hand], and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward [is] with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry [them] in his bosom, [and] shall gently lead those that are with young.
Luk 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
Rom 10:13-17 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Rom 16:25-27 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, [be] glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.
Gal 3:8-9 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, [saying], In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
Eph 3:6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
Col 1:23,26,27 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and [be] not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, [and] which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; …[Even] the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
2Ti 2:8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:
Hbr 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard [it].
1Pe 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

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