We are all familiar with the term “sharing the gospel” and it is a regular part of our Christian vocabulary. But what exactly is the gospel and why is it so important that we share it? Recently it’s been on my heart to start unpacking the true Biblical gospel of Christ, and for the next few weeks (or maybe months!) I’ll be endeavoring to explore the depths of this great gift which God gave His people.
To start, let’s ask the most basic question: what does gospel mean?
The word “gospel” is used 98 times in the New Testament. It is translated from the Greek Wa, which means to bring good news or glad tidings, specifically related to the kingdom of God. The idea here is that the gospel is a “messenger of good news.” It was also used as a term for victory and even joy.
In the Old Testament the word “gospel” is not used, but instead the Hebrew writers used בָּשַׂר (ḇâśar), meaning to deliver, bear, or announce good news. This term was used by Isaiah when he said, “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”” (Isa 52:7)
While the Greek words we translate as gospel could mean generic good news, over time, and perhaps by Divine providence, euaggelion and euangelizo became distinctly Christian terms related to the hope we find in a saving faith in Christ.
With this in mind, you can begin to see why the apostles used this word so often in their New Testament writings. The gospel is amazing, heavenly, and something to tell others about – great news of glad tidings! As Paul said in Romans 1:15, “for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.” He was very excited to share this good news, a message of hope and of victory for sinners. This also explains why he said in the very next verse, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom 1:16).
In our society, the gospel of Christ may not be viewed as good news. In fact, it can be seen as foolish and even offensive (1 Cor 1:23-25), but that doesn’t change the fact that Christ called us to preach the gospel – the good news of salvation through Christ – everywhere we go (Mark 16:15).
As we head into the weekend, let’s prayerfully consider our inner attitude toward the gospel, this good news of great joy on which is laid the foundation of our Christian faith. And let’s ask God to strip away any embarrassment or reluctance to share this good news with someone we know or love. Everyone needs good news!
Next week we’ll look at one of the first hints of the gospel, and it’s found right at the beginning of the Bible.