The word ‘gospel’ means ‘good news or tidings’. It comes from the Greek word euaggelion, which occurs 101 times in the New Testament.

The Bible makes it clear that the gospel is very important [1]:

  • to believe the gospel brings salvation
  • to disregard the gospel brings damnation
  • if the gospel is believed then baptism must follow
  • the gospel includes facts about the Kingdom of God and the work of the Lord Jesus Christ
  • the hope of salvation is available to all men and women of all nationalities
  • faith (belief) that God will accomplish His purpose of bringing salvation through Jesus comes through hearing the gospel message
  • the gospel we receive today is the same gospel that Abraham believed 4,000 years ago.

The gospel in both Old and New Testaments

Although the word ‘gospel’ is a New Testament word, its roots are in the Old Testament. The apostle Paul wrote that the gospel was preached thousands of years before Jesus was born [2]. It was spoken of by the prophets of the Old Testament, preached to Israel in the wilderness and believed and acted on by Abraham [3].

The gospel has been preached for thousands of years. It gives everyone the hope of eternal life in God’s Kingdom. The work of Jesus was “to confirm the promises made unto the fathers” so that “the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy” [5].The New Testament describes the gospel as “the hope of Israel”. Paul and others identified their faith with that of Abraham and faithful men and women in Israel of old [4].

What is the ‘good news’?

The gospel/good news is that God through Christ fulfils the promises to Abraham and Israel. Christ opens up the way of salvation so that all men and women might have eternal life in God’s Kingdom on this earth [6].

Resurrection from the dead, a physical experience, is promised by God and faith in this promise is at the heart of the true gospel [7]. Abraham clearly had faith in the resurrection of the dead [8].

“The things concerning the Kingdom”

When Philip preached the gospel to the people in Samaria, “the things concerning the kingdom of God” were an important part [9]. It was necessary for people to know and understand about the Kingdom before they were baptized.

This Kingdom was described in the promises that God made to Abraham [10], which he believed and looked forward to. Abraham expected the Kingdom to be on the earth [11]. Stephen, the first martyr, points out that Abraham still awaits the fulfilment of the promises made by God concerning the earthly Kingdom [12]. So Abraham will inherit this earthly Kingdom along with faithful believers at a future time [13].

Jesus and the gospel

When Jesus was born, the message of the angel [14] provided the link to the descendants of Abraham, showing that the Kingdom will be an everlasting Kingdom reigned over by Christ. Jesus “went about . . . preaching the gospel of the kingdom”, as did his disciples [15]. The ‘Lord’s Prayer’ also mentions this future Kingdom [16].

The teaching and miracles of Jesus show what the Kingdom will be like. The blind received sight, the deaf heard, the lame walked, disease was cured. Christ even raised the dead. The poor were justly treated and the hungry fed. Even the wind and waves obeyed his voice.

Christ’s teaching also showed men and women how to live and worship. This was a foretaste of the Kingdom spoken of by the prophets [17].

The things concerning the name of Jesus Christ

To live for ever in this wonderful Kingdom it will be necessary for death to be overcome. Death is a punishment for sin and every one except Christ deserves to die [18]. As Paul says, “the wages of sin is death”; but he goes on to say, “. . . but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” [19]. Jesus came to put away sin and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven [20]. Jesus did not die instead of us, but by his sacrifice we can be made immortal [21].

That is why Christ says, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad” [22]. Abraham looked forward to the time when the Son of God would make it possible for death to be overcome through his sinless life.

Paul teaches that belief in the things of the Kingdom and the work of Jesus should be followed by baptism into the saving name of Jesus [23]. By baptism we are linked to Abraham and his faith [24].

Bible references

1 Mk.16:15-16; Acts 8:12; Rom.1:16
2 Gal 3:8; Acts 3:21
3 Rom. 1:1,2; 2 Tim. 3:15; Heb. 4:2; Gal. 3:6-9
4 Acts 26:6,7; 28:20; Rom. 4:11; Gal. 3:29
5 Rom. 15:8,9
6 Acts 13:32-39
7 1 Cor. 15:20-26; Ps. 71:20,21; Isa. 26:19; Jno. 11:21-27
8 Hebrews 11:13-19
9 Acts 8:12
10 Gen. 12:1-3; 13:14-17; ch. 15
11 Romans 4:13
12 Acts 7:5
13 Hebrews 11:39,40
14 Lk. 1:32,33
15 Mt. 4:23; Lk. 9:2,6,11
16 Matt. 6:10
17 Isa. 35; Ps. 37:11; 72; Mic. 4:1-4
18 Gen. 3:17-19; Rom. 5:12
19 Rom. 6:23
20 Heb. 9:11,12,26; 10:10
21 1 Cor. 15:3,4,20-23
22 Jno. 8:56
23 Rom. 6:1-6
24 Gal. 3:26-29