The English word gospel is of Anglo-Saxon origin, meaning “God spell.” It is a rendering of the Greek word euangelion, meaning “good message” or “good news.” Behind the Greek word is the Hebrew basar, meaning “to proclaim good news” (Isaiah 40:9; 52:7). This is not news in general but the announcement of God’s sovereign action, His saving power and faithfulness (Romans 1:16).
In the New Testament, the word gospel is used in a variety of ways, each with its own emphasis (see chart).
“Gospel of the kingdom” or “gospel of the kingdom of God” Matthew 4:23; Mark 1:14
Jesus came preaching the good news of the kingdom of heaven. In His ministry, God’s reign was “at hand,” or near (Matthew 4:17). The good news is that we have access to God’s kingdom. This is the gospel the apostles continued preaching, and the same gospel will be proclaimed until the end of time. Believing the gospel of the kingdom means submitting to God’s sovereignty. We know that every kingdom (government) has laws that govern with authority. So, as Jesus said, we cannot believe the kingdom gospel and disobey the precepts of God (Matthew 7:21).
“Gospel of God” Romans 15:16
The good news originates in God himself and announces His saving actions (Isaiah 52:7). We cannot speak of Jesus without first acknowledging that He is the Son of God. The gospel message is from the One who sent the Redeemer. Jesus declares the Father and is the only way to the Father (John 1:18; 14:6).
“Glorious gospel of the blessed God” 1 Timothy 1:11
The good news is wonderful. In it we hear the message of God’s majesty through Jesus Christ His Son. Anyone who honors the Father also honors the Son, and anyone who honors the Son honors His Father (John 5:23).
“Gospel of the grace of God” Acts 20:24
The good news is the message of God’s grace to all human beings. This grace is seen in the gift of His own Son for our salvation (John 3:16).
“Gospel of Jesus Christ,” “gospel of Jesus,” or “gospel of Christ” Mark 1:1; Acts 8:35; Romans 15:19
The good news is focused on the person of Jesus Christ. In Him alone is redemption embodied (Acts 4:12). If Jesus is not the center of the gospel message, then it is a false gospel (Galatians 1:6-8).
“Gospel of the Lord Jesus” Acts 11:20
The good news proclaims Jesus is Lord (1 Corinthians 12:3) and King of kings (1 Timothy 6:15). This means that all believers recognize His rule over their lives. We cannot believe that He is Savior only. He is Savior and Lord (Luke 2:11).
“Gospel of the glory of Christ” 2 Corinthians 4:4
The good news tells us that the glory of Christ is the very glory and image of God. No other shares or declares that glory and dignity (Hebrews 1:3). Christ is glorious indeed!
“Gospel of peace” Ephesians 6:15
The good news is the message of peace (shalom, all things set right) that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). This world needs the peace of God found in Christ (Ephesians 2:14-17), and only He can give it.
“Gospel of Christ” is the “power of God” Romans 1:16
The good news is that in Christ, the power of God for salvation, is revealed. We enjoy this power in our lives by faith in Jesus Christ. That power will raise us again when Christ comes for us, and we will reign with Him forever (1 Corinthians 6:14).
The gospel announces the good news of the redemptive work of God through His Son Jesus. When we announce it, we must include all matters relating to Jesus: His Father, His life, His ministry, His death, His resurrection, His authority, His kingdom, His commands, and the promise of His coming. It’s all good news!
We must be careful not to pervert the gospel, as Apostle Paul warned:
But there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:7b, 8).
Many say they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, but their deeds deny Him. They disobey Him. How can we believe the gospel and not obey?
The sacrifice of Jesus bought our forgiveness. What must our gospel response be? “Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance” because “By their fruits you shall know them” (Matthew 3:8; 7:20). That is good news too!