Gospelology: What is the Gospel:
A Thorough Exegesis of Evangelion (εὐαγγέλιον)
Published on Desperation Imitation of Christ February 2015
By: R.P. Moore
Kandern, Baden Würrtemberg Germany
February 9th, 2016
Introduction and Definition of Evangelion
The Greek word εὐαγγέλιον (Pronounced yoo-ang-ghel'-ee-on) is the word from which we get our English word “Gospel” or “Good News” and it’s counterpart εὐαγγελίζω (Pronounced yoo-ang-ghel-id'-zo), which basically means to “announce good news.” The word εὐαγγέλιον is used in the New Testament seventy seven times. The counterpart word εὐαγγελίζω is used fifty four times. For the purposes of this paper I will narrow my field of study to these occurrences in the New Testament. I have chosen a few other instances of words that relate to the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus and His message. These other contexts will help us fill out the full meaning of εὐαγγέλιον. By all accounts it is one of the most important words in the New Testament and gets most of its mileage by Jesus and most other of the N.T. characters and writers most notable Paul.
Pheidippides was by many traditions the man whom the modern marathon is based on. By many legends he ran from Marathon to Athens to proclaim victory against the Persians in the Battle of Marathon. This is of course as much legend as anything. There is only little by way of historical accounts to validate the story of Pheidippides. Lucian’s prose is one place where the story is recounted. The legend goes that Pheidippides ran the distance of a modern marathon somewhere around 26.1 miles after the victory over the Persians, and as a courier of a message he faithfully delivered the message of victory by proclaiming, “Joy to you we have won!” and immediately he died proclaiming again “Joy to you.”
Pheidippides proclamation was simple “Nike” which means victory. His message was also so profound and important to be delivered he gave his energy, passion, life, and eventually he gave his last breath to the message. This is a perfect illustration of the message of the gospel over the ages. Countless martyrs have given their lives for the message of the Gospel, which is also a message of victory. Messengers like that of Pheidippides have faithfully delivered the life-giving and joyful message of the Gospel over two millennia. However the message of the gospel is under fire, and has come under question as of late. The question is not a question of the power found in the gospel, but rather how do we deliver this message into many and varied contexts. For instance in a western world where people are rather self sufficient, How do we deliver this message as Pheidippides did with energy, power, confidence, passion, and possibly even our last breath?
The Challenge of Defining the “Good News”
Recently someone challenged me to define the “Good News” or what the Gospel actually meant. It was a strong challenge from a person who I thought should know, and be able to explain it with relative ease. I understand the challenge is not that we cannot explain the gospel, but what will people receive as “Good News?” This person was not questioning Jesus and His work being central, but more of how do we transmit that Gospel or good news as “Good” to an increasingly secularized culture that doesn’t find the old delivery method (or classic evangelism) good anymore?
In this process though, I though that the question was rather rebellious, and it gave me pause. I actually thought to myself, “If we cannot explain this or have this fundamental question answered then we don’t have a message, we don’t have a ministry, we don’t have salvation, we don’t have anything! As ministers of the gospel we have no ministry if we cannot define that. So I have set out to do a thorough exegesis of the Greek word εὐαγγέλιον transliterated as evangelion. As I study, it becomes clear how and why this should be one of the first steps we make in Bible Colleges, and Seminaries, and other ministry preparation work. This should be the first step, not the last question we ask, as an afterthought after being in ministry for years and years.
When we cannot explain and know what content of the message of the gospel is then we have NOTHING!!! We must be able to describe, explain, and invite people in to the timeless message of the gospel no matter what context they live in, and no matter what our delivery methods happen to be. For this reason we need to know, that much better, the content and true message of that good news, so as to carry the eternal gospel of Jesus into a new a varied culture. When we do not know how to transmit the contents of the Gospel, then we will not know how to repackage it, contextualize it, or otherwise carry the contents in a new form for various cultures and generations. This is the challenge of a missionary. How do we contextualize the Gospel without changing the content of the eternal gospel of Jesus? To do that we must know, believe, and know how to handle the main message and meaning of the gospel. From there we can address how to deliver that message as “Good News” to a culture in a way that it might be received as “Good.” I believe that to be the intent of the original question that was posed to me. We don’t want to rebel against the true message of the gospel, but we may rebel against old delivery methods. If we really understand the Eternal Gospel, and its message then we can be sure to deliver it’s content in a new and receivable way for a new and spiritually hungry generation.
Digging Deeper: A Fuller Definition of Evangelion
To dig further into the question, “What is the Gospel” We must first just easily define the Greek word εὐαγγέλιον (evangelion) from which we get the term Gospel. In its simplest form it means “good message” or some sort of “good news.” Now we can say that the Good News of Jesus is not so ordinary good news. Maybe it would be good news if banks stopped being corporately greedy and bottoming out the market, or like the good news of getting a free sample at the china wok as you walk past the food court. Or maybe even better news that you find out that you are having a baby, as all three of our children were great news to us. All these things are certainly good news on differing scales. However we want to look at the instances of the word as it relates to the best news of all, namely the good news of Jesus Christ. As we study the instances of evangelion in the NT (and some other instances in the OT Lexicon LXX) we can see that what unfolds is truly good news.
Gospelology: Systematic Study of “Gospel”
Because I am not postmodern, and lean way more to modernity, I decided it might be best if I approach this project in a sort of a systematic study of the message of the Gospel as laid out in every individual reference in the occurrences of evangelion. I am going to call it a systematic theology of the gospel, thus a “Gospelology.” So lets get started. Mark 13:10 Shows us how the gospel is something of such value that it must be preached, transmitted, and delivered to all nations. In 1 Corinthians 9:18 The gospel again is of such value to Paul the he make sure to keep it pure by not charging anyone for its delivery. 2 Corinthians 4:3 explains what might be a hard pill to swallow that sometimes the gospel is veiled to those who would never believe (those who are perishing). Why that is so, is not ultimately clear from this passage. Maybe other forms of theology could and do address this, but that is not my purpose in this work. Philippians 1:5 shows us that we can and should seek partners in the gospel. From Galatians 1:7 we can understand that there would be those who would try to distort the gospel of God.
The Word בָּשַׂר (Basar) and בְּשׂוֹרָה (Basowrah) in the Old Testament
Just by way of contextualizing the idea of “Good News” I will try to give it sweeping strokes as found in Gerhard Kittel’s work Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. The Word בָּשַׂר (transliterated Basar) is in a most general sense “proclaiming good news.” It has a sense of bringing news of victory or declaring a victory. The use also has a solemn character in that it is a cultic act. In Psalm 68:11 Yahweh himself orders a song of victory over Israel’s enemies. Women also proclaim good news. בָּשַׂר is also used for heralding, religious deliverance, for singing new songs as seen in Psalm 40, and for expressing Yahweh’s wonderful acts. The sense of the word is also an expectation of the victory of Yahweh, and his kingly sovereign rule. Many of the messengers proclaim peace, salvation, and Yahweh as king. There is also a declaration of the restoration of Israel, the new creation of the world, and the eschatological age. This proclamation is not just empty breath, but true power for He (YHWH) will bring these messages into reality. These messages declare that he has created the world, shaped history, and continues to rule. People repeat the words of בָּשַׂר with rejoicing. There is a sense in which the messengers carry the happy news through the land that the “Lord is King.” In Isaiah we also see the prophecy that in the end Messiah Jesus fulfills that message of good news to the poor, and proclamation of liberty. The instances of בָּשַׂר in the OT point us to the nuance that we see in the NT that of Gentiles being included into salvation history, and the rejection of religion and adherence to the Law. These developments had begun so that the gospel of grace might make its debut as the true message which is Jesus the only truly righteous one who can fulfill the demands of the whole law.
The counterpart בְּשׂוֹרָה is found only six times in the Old Testament. It has two senses that of “Good News” or “Glad Tidings”. Fast forward to the NT proclamation of Jesus incarnation which brings glad tidings. It also has the sense of reward for Good news. The spoken word of good news is also equated with its content. Thus good news causes joy and the antithesis causes sorrow. Often the messenger of bad news is punished for his message of bad news, and incurs the same punishment. For instance the messenger that brings bad news of Saul’s death to David. David has him put to death for his news. There is however no religious use of this word in the Old Testament only that of a secular use. Interesting how many years later the Apostles would also be put to death for delivering this Good News, which is a free gift, and how people would rather accept the Bad News that is so prevalent.
The Meanings of εὐαγγέλιον found among the Greek Works:
Evangelion also among Greek writers has similar meanings. It is used as “Good News” and also a “reward for Good News.” It is seen and used when news of victory is delivered. And when news of victory is declared it is usually known from the messenger’s countenance what the contents of the message are before the message is delivered such as his face shines, his spear is decked with Laurel, He is crowned, swings palm branches, and other such pomp and circumstance. Overall this word is linked with victory in battle. The Greeks also see the message as fundamentally valuable. It not only declares salvation, but it also effects it. Because of the importance of the message, and the reward thereof, the messenger exerts himself to be heard first, and a slow messenger can be punished for his tardiness. An interesting occurrence is when Apollonius, upon seeing the murder of Domitian, thus describes that the Logos distributes itself and causes great joy. There is this sense that the Greek idea in a religious realm is starting to develop and point to the timeless εὐαγγέλιον of the true Logos that the Greeks had been looking for in their religious expressions. The true Logos that Luke describes in his Evangelion does in fact distribute himself here upon this earth, that he Himself created, and in so doing caused great joy.
Appearance of εὐαγγέλιον in Rabbinic Judaism
There is not much by way of significant contribution in most of the Rabbinic writings. One reference that is of provocative note is a mutilation of the word gospel into “gloss of destruction” or “gloss of sins.” There was a play on words so to speak in which Evangelion was changed to “Aven-Gillajon” which means gloss or writing of sins. The Jewish Christians adopted the Greek εὐαγγέλιον because there was not a similar word in the Aramaic. From that it can be deduced that the pun is taking the Greek into account. Rabbinic Jews were bilingual and Greek was widely understood. It can be inferred then that this twisting of a phrase was used in Rabbinic circles to further ostracize the “heretics.” This interesting twist can only be seen as inadequate in its purpose of destroying the young “sect” who called themselves “followers of the way.” Rather it might have even emboldened them in their proclamation of the eternal Evangelion. Stories such as these can also embolden 21st century “Followers of the Way”, in that we take on the “Writing of Sins” and cast them all into the deep goodness of Jesus’ Eternal Evangelion. The Evangelion of His Grace and Goodness! Let us with boldness “Write our Sins” and throw them into the deep abyss of His eternal Evangelion!
The Beginnings and Source of the Gospel: Its Timeless Value
From the beginning of the Synoptic gospels there is a clear and definitive starting point to the message of the gospel. Mark 1:1 there is a message of the gospel that has it’s beginning in Jesus Christ our Lord, the Son of God. From Galatians 2:7 The gospel message is open for the circumcised and the uncircumcised (i.e. All people). 1 Corinthians 9:12 clearly says that we should not put an obstacle in the way of the progress of the gospel. Mark 16:15 Again explains to us that the gospel is of such high value that it needs to be proclaimed to all creation. Another time in Matthew 24:14 the gospel is of such value that it will be proclaim throughout the whole world to all nations before the end of times.
In Mark 1:14-15 so important is this message that Jesus himself preached the gospel, and his gospel was a gospel of repentance. As Jesus comes onto the scene we start to see the content, substance, and true message. It is clear from these and many other following passages that the content and message are a message that all men must repent, turn from their sins and turn to God. So from there we see that the antithesis of Repentance is un-holiness. So in 1 Timothy 1:8-11 we see that the Gospel stands in opposition to un-holiness.
The Delivery of the Gospel
Furthermore we receive some guidance about what we must do in the delivery of the message. According to Paul, there is a proper way to deliver it. In Ephesians 6:15 We see that we must ready ourselves to deliver the gospel, which is a message of peace. So its contents include repentance and peace and we must deliver it in a modality that is fair to its contents. In other words it would be antithetical to the gospel to deliver it through violence, war, or strife when it is a message of peace. It would also be antithetical to the gospel to deliver it in an attitude of un-repentance. From there moving on to Romans 1:1-6 Paul shows us that people can be called out and set apart to deliver the gospel which is a gospel of Jesus as Lord and obedience and faith in Him as is Lord. So our message so far has been seen as a message of repentance, peace, and faith in Jesus as Lord. In Romans 11:28 Paul moves on to talk about Israel as currently enemies of the gospel for our sake as Gentiles so that we too can believe the gospel. But one day they will receive mercy because of their forefathers. This is good news indeed that Gentiles have a chance to believe, and that one day Israel will be restored to the faith of the gospel. Further on in 2 Corinthians 2:12-13 Paul writes that the Gospel of Christ brings open doors.
The Judgment of the Gospel
The Apostle Peter writes also in his epistle in 1 Peter 4:17 that God Judges the household of God and more judgment will be had on those who don't obey the Gospel of God. So in the long run it is a message of judgment for those who do not believe. But instead of focusing on the negative or not seemingly good news it actually is good news that those who do believe will not be judged. In Ephesians 6:19 Paul writes further and asks for prayer that he would open his mouth to boldly proclaim the mysterious gospel. So the gospel often requires boldness to unfold its mystery. Paul says in Romans 10:14-17 that belief is necessary to understand and hold to the Gospel. Hearing the gospel is necessary to have the ability for a person to believe in the gospel. Someone must also preach the gospel so that people hear it that have never heard. People must also be sent for that goal of preaching the gospel. Faith is necessary, hearing is necessary, and the word of Christ is necessary to be able to believe in the gospel.
Moving on thematically a little bit we see in Galatians 1:6-9 that there is a possibility that some people preach a gospel that is contrary to the gospel of Christ.
In Romans 2:16 Paul explains that ”The Day of Judgment” all men will be judged according to the Gospel. On that day God will judge the secrets of men by the standard of Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 3:2 explains to us that because of the Gospel we can exhort and encourage each other to believe deeper in the faith of the gospel. Paul further writes in his letter to the Philippians (1:27) that there is a manner of life that is worthy of the gospel. And we can strive for the faith of the gospel.
Who Does the Gospel Belong to? Is There a False Gospel? The Eternal Gospel
There is a very interesting aspect that we must understand also found in Romans 1:9 and that is that the Gospel belongs to "His Son.” Meaning we cannot claim the Gospel as our own but rather that it is solely a work of God’s Son (i.e. Titus 3:5-6 and Ephesians 2:8-9). In Galatians 1:6 Paul writes how it is possible to believe a different and false gospel, or to turn away from the gospel of grace. In other words it might be possible to believe in a Gospel of works, which Paul labels a false Gospel. In Matthew 24:14 the theme of world evangelization and mission is repeated and given hefty weight. Matthew writes that the gospel is of such value that it will be proclaimed throughout the whole world to all nations before the end of times. Revelation 14:6 continues on the theme that there is an eternal gospel that will be proclaimed to every tribe and nation and people. Again Paul writes in Romans 16:25-26 that the mysterious gospel is now revealed through obedience and faith. Paul alludes to a delivery method in 1 Thessalonians 2:8 and shares that the spreading or sharing of the gospel is a sharing of your whole life.
The Powerful Gospel: Escaping Punishment, Power of the Holy Spirit, Sonship, Suffering, and Integrity
In Matthew 4:23 acts of power often accompanied proclamation of the gospel. Ephesians 1:13 Paul writes that belief in Christ is necessary for salvation and following that belief one is sealed in the Holy Spirit unto the “Day of Redemption.”
Relating to that great and final Judgment 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 shows us that Belief in the Gospel is necessary to escape eternal punishment destruction, and judgment when Jesus returns. Earlier we have seen that Israel has not believed the Gospel for the sake of the Gentiles but in Galatians 3:7-9 Paul describes that we are sons of Abraham by faith in the gospel.
2 Timothy 1:8 and Romans 1:16 explain how we should not be ashamed of the gospel or of suffering in the gospel through God's power. We also ought not be ashamed of the gospel because there is power therein for salvation for everyone. 2 Timothy 1:10-12 says that the gospel brings life and immortality but can also cost us greatly through suffering to deliver it. But in that process God will guard the integrity of His message in the gospel. Paul further expounds on this theme in 2 Corinthians 9:13 the gospel will be accepted and believed in and people will glorify God because of our submission to and confession of Christ's gospel. 1 Thessalonians 2:4 describes that the gospel has been entrusted to us, and it (not works) makes us approved before God and we seek to continue to please him not man. Galatians 1:11-12 further describes the gospel Paul preached was not man’s gospel it was God's. Thus Paul shows in 1 Thessalonians 1:5-6 that the reception of the gospel happened with joy and affliction, because the gospel was delivered in conviction and the Holy Spirit’s power.
Shall People Be Professional Gospel Ministers? The Question of Ethical Practice in Gospel Ministry
As far as full time or professional ministry is concerned 1 Corinthians 9:13-14 shows us how those who proclaim the gospel could or are allowed to receive their living by the gospel, but do not have to claim that as a right as Paul did. In Galatians 2:1-2 Paul reaffirmed His life’s profession or calling in the gospel he had been preaching and that he was not laboring in vain. In description of the practice of “professional” or payment for Gospel Ministry Paul further lays out the ethics of the Gospel’s practices in 2 Corinthians 4:2-6. In proclamation of the gospel Paul renounced unethical practices or tampering with God's word. Sometimes the gospel was veiled to those who were perishing. The gospel says Jesus is Lord and the direct image of God. God’s gospel shines light into our dark hearts and reveals the glory of God in the face of Jesus.
In Romans 15:16-18 Gospel ministry is described as a priestly ministry. Gospel ministry has also allowed Gentiles access to God. Bringing Gentiles to obedience is one goal of Paul’s gospel ministry. Galatians 2:13-16 describes another ethic in the presentation of the content of the message of Good News. Hypocrisy, adherence to the law, and performance of works for salvation, all have no place in the gospel. Colossians 1:22-23 further fleshes out the content of the message of the Gospel by saying that the gospel is able to save and present us holy and blameless in the presence of Christ at the end (Final Judgment), if indeed we persevere in the faith.
Contextualizing the Gospel
As we move on in this study the Bible is clear on how and why we ought to contextualize the Gospel. In 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 Paul describes that everything that we might do to contextualize ourselves and the message would, could, and should be done for the sake of the gospel, and for blessings that we will at one point share in. This can help us check our motives, and refine our methods if we keep the Gospel at the center and not placing methods or packaging above the contents of the package. It makes no sense for instance to receive a gift from someone and to place more worth on the packaging, or wrapping paper of the gift than on the gift itself. This is always a temptation to place the delivery methods on a pedestal rather than the gospel itself. This leads us to a great passage that helps us check our motives. Philippians 1:15-18 says that we can rejoice at the proclamation of the gospel from whatever pretenses. There is however such a thing as mixed motives in our proclamation. And so we need to be vigilant in making sure that our motives be pure as we proclaim Christ. Galatians 2:4-5 shows us that we must protect the integrity of the gospel against false brothers who might secretly take away our freedom in Christ and try to return to us at yoke of slavery. The gospel message could and should be preserved as a gospel of freedom and grace. In Matthew 28:19 we understand that Discipleship, Baptism, and Going (as you go or ministry on the way) all go together is a package of the delivery method of the Gospel.
Sacrifice, Boldness, Suffering, and Stewardship in the Gospel
From delivery method of contextualization we can easily make the transition to the outcome of the delivery of Gospel Message. In Galatians 4:13; Acts 14:6-7; and Philippians 1:12-13 the outcomes are explained insomuch as sometimes (probably more often than not) the gospel is advanced through sufferings. Mark explains (10:29) that the gospel can be a thing, which requires sacrifice, but that sacrifice will be rewarded. In 1 Thessalonians 2:2 Paul writes that Gospel boldness can and very well may bring conflict. Luke in Acts 20:24 writes that we ought to give up our lives even to the point of death for the opportunity to testify to the gospel, which is a gospel of grace. With the sufferings that might accompany the gospel Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 9:15-16 there is a certain stewardship of the gospel. That stewardship tells us that we as Christians are compelled as Christians to preach the gospel. In the end the “Stewardship of Suffering” Mark writes (8:35) that by giving and losing our lives, will eventually mean we will save it.
Content and Substance of the Message of the Gospel
Now we move to the meat of the message. What is the truth behind everything? What is the message? We have up to this point seen what people ought to do in response to the message (i.e. Repent). We have answered some how’s and why’s, but have not really answered the what. What is the news actually? In 2 Timothy 2:8-13 we see the message clearly delineated that Jesus Christ died on the cross was risen and is coming again the son of David the king of kings and Lord of Lords. Paul in Timothy explains what the crux of the Gospel is. And He (God) is faithful to accomplish his gospel even though we are faithless. In 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 Paul also explains that the Gospel’s core message is that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and was raised on the third day. He also explains that if this gospel is believed in it is able to save us. In 2 Corinthians 8:18-19 the gospel is meant to be ministered as an act of grace and it is for the glory of the Lord himself not for men. Thus we can draw from that that the Gospel is a Gospel of Grace for the glory of the Lord Jesus and not for men. 2 Thessalonians 2:14 describes the why of the message is essentially to obtain the glory of Christ. It could then be said that one of the goals of the gospel is the glory of Jesus Christ. Luke 24:47 says repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached. This is the content of the message that should be proclaimed to all nations. We see this in many other places that the end game of the gospel is the forgiveness of sins to the glory of Christ. So the what of the Gospel is Jesus Christ crucified, risen, and coming again.
Missiology and the Gospel
Within every development of Theology we must always have a view toward Missiology. If every form of Theology, Eschatology, Ecclesiology, Christology, Soteriology, etc. does not intersect early and often with Missiology, then that systematic is flawed. In other words every solid systematic theology is Missiological in its nature. That is why now knowing somewhat better the delivery methods, ethic, and content of the gospel, we should naturally now come to Mission. Mission is advancement of a message. How does the gospel make its way into the entire world? We have seen that this Good News is worthy of distribution into the entire world until the end of the world. Now the natural question comes how? How does the gospel spread? We see in Luke 9:6; 2 Corinthians 10:13-14; Acts 8:39-40; and Acts 14:21 that preaching the gospel "as you go" or “on the way” are both ways to minister the gospel, and see it rapidly advance.
Further Missiological principles can be gleaned from Acts 16:10. It demonstrates to us how Jesus continues to push the cultural boundaries of the gospel from generation to generation. This means that the Gospel should cross cultural boundaries. We should also give our missiological energies to gospel thresholds. In other words If Jesus pushes the Apostles out of their cultural contexts, then we should also take the initiative from Jesus and cross-cultural boundaries with the hopes of taking the message to un-evangelized regions. We have seen up to this point that the Gentiles have now freedom to believe Jesus and be grafted into the kingdom of God, and Acts 15:7 shows us that God wants the Gentiles to hear and believe the gospel, and thus the gospel should cross cultural boundaries. We see in the announcement of the incarnation of Jesus in Luke 2:10 that the Good News is of great joy, and should be for all people. Paul in Romans 15:19 describes how the ministry of the gospel can be fulfilled as we travel, as we go, or on our way. In Acts 8:25 Jesus wants the gospel to cross cultural, economic, and political power structure lines. These many references give us plenty of Missiological fodder for pushing our boundaries. Frankly they give us reasons to contextualize the gospel. The discussion about contextualization would not even be occurring without the need for the gospel to cross cultural lines because when the gospel crosses those lines into new cultural contexts the differences that are fond in those contexts must be taken into account.
Posture of the Gospel
Now I want to enter into what I call the “posture of the Gospel” In Romans 1:15 a posture of eagerness is described and it should be our posture in delivering the gospel without reservation. Why should I have an eagerness to preach the Gospel? It must be because we know that no one has a true hope outside of it. Colossians 1:5 explains that the Gospel has a deep hope laid up for us in heaven, and we trust the word of truth found in it. This should give us a true eagerness. In Philemon 1:12-13 we see that sometimes we have to put our emotions behind the gospel (my very heart) and also there is the element of persecution behind the gospel. So it follows that we should be emotionally invested in the message and delivery of the Gospel. 1 Corinthians 4:14-17 describes a fatherhood in the Gospel, which is the concept of discipleship. Thus the gospel is not just the delivery of the message of salvation, but also the life transformation found in discipleship as a further process. If fatherhood in the gospel is described then it has to be more intimate than we could've ever imagined. A posture of the Gospel that the New Testament describes is that of eager, emotionally engaged, fatherhood.
As the New Testament writers describe a “posture of the Gospel” there were also some who “pioneered the Gospel.” Paul was one of those, who in 2 Corinthians 10:16-18, described his pioneering spirit. Paul wanted to not lay a foundation on another Gospel but wanted to preach Christ where he had not been known before. And then after he laid the foundation of the gospel he sought favor from the Lord he didn't seek commendation from men, other people, or himself, only the commendation of the Lord. He described in Romans 15:20 also that sometimes it is good to deliver the gospel where there has been no previous foundation for it. Ephesians 3:7 the gospel minister is made a minister according to the gift of God's grace. And it is delivered through the working of his power. In the same vain, power in Gospel ministry, as Philippians 1:11 says, comes when we are filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ. Out of that righteousness we gain the power so that the gospel can advance.
Because many of the evangelion references are repetitive, I have collected a short explanation of the contents each of those verses.
Philippians 2:22 (ESV)
Serving in the ministry of the gospel is worthwhile and it is a credential unto itself
Matthew 9:35 (ESV)
Caring for true needs is a great delivery method for the gospel. Paying attention to people’s affliction and healing hurts is a great delivery method.
Philippians 4:15 (ESV)
The partnership of the gospel is a partnership of giving and receiving for both parties.
2 Corinthians 11:7 (ESV)
Humility in delivery of the gospel is helpful. It is also helpful to deliver it free of charge.
Luke 20:1 (ESV)
Jesus preached the gospel of repentance, and thus it is his message
1 Timothy 6:3 (ESV)
There is only one doctrine and gospel that of the Lord Jesus Christ
Ephesians 3:6 (ESV)
We are partakers in the gospel as Gentiles by Christ’s work of grafting us back into the one true vine (Israel)
Matthew 26:13 (ESV)
Mark 14:9 (ESV)
Mary is an example of the love we should feel for Christ in the gospel, and she will be honored for it wherever the gospel is preached.
1 Peter 4:6 (ESV)
The gospel is preached so that those who (are) were dead and judged in the flesh might be made alive in the Spirit, which is the work of God.
1 Corinthians 1:17 (ESV)
The gospel content and message is powerful enough without being couched in eloquent words of wisdom. Otherwise we might empty the gospel of its power.
Philippians 4:3 (ESV)
We are meant to help each other as we labor in the gospel
1 Thessalonians 2:9 (ESV)
It's a good idea to not be a financial burden on those who hear the gospel from you for the first time
Philippians 1:7 (ESV)
It is right that we feel emotional about those who we minister with in defense of the gospel. There is somehow a defense of the gospel that will also confirm its validity
2 Corinthians 11:4 (ESV)
There could be other false gospels that people accept (i.e. Prosperity gospel or a gospel of works, i.e. “Judaizers mutilators of the flesh”)
Luke 16:16 (ESV)
Good news is more about a kingdom, but people try to force their way in, and Jesus is making it clear that that is impossible
Romans 10:8 (ESV)
The Gospel is to be ever on our lips, near us, on our mouth, and in our hearts.
1 Timothy 4:13 (ESV)
Part of the proclamation of the gospel is the public reading of the scripture, exhortation, and teaching
Titus 1:3 (ESV)
The gospel is entrusted by Christ alone and is manifested at proper times at through preaching
Titus 1:9 (ESV)
There is a sound doctrine, and we should rebuke those who contradict it and the gospel.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 (ESV)
People can accept the gospel with great excitement as the very word of God
Matthew 11:5 (ESV)
The good news should often accompany good works
1 Corinthians 1:18 (ESV)
The words of the cross are the words of the gospel and it is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved it is the power of God
2 Timothy 3:12 (ESV)
Godliness is an outcome of delivery of the Gospel. And persecution in through and because of the Gospel is a promise
Hebrews 7:22 (ESV)
The gospel is better by way of covenant than the former covenant of law and works
1 Peter 1:25 (ESV)
The word of the Lord is the gospel and it remains forever.
1 John 1:3 (ESV)
Proclamation and acceptance of the gospel brings communion with the Father and the Son
Jude 1:3 (ESV)
The faith that is delivered in the gospel should be contended for and delivered with great diligence and fervor
Romans 10:15 (ESV)
Deliverers of the Gospel have beautiful feet. This means their movement for and with the gospel is a beautiful thing
2 Timothy 4:3 (ESV)
There will be a time when people will not endure sound doctrine, and will surround themselves with people who will preach and teach what their itching ears want to hear (i.e. not the gospel)
Isaiah 61:1 (ESV)
The gospel includes proclamation to the poor, binding the brokenhearted, liberty to captives, and opening up prison to the bound
Luke 4:18 (ESV)
Good news is a message to the poor, liberty, recovery of sight, liberty to the oppressed.
Acts 1:8 (ESV)
We will receive power for Gospel proclamation. We will thus be witnesses from here to there. Our Concern for the spread of the Gospel will move wider and wider in the corners of the world where the gospel has not yet reached.
Synopsis of Evangelion and its Meaning
In Conclusion we can readily see that the true Gospel is a Gospel of Repentance, Faith, Grace, Peace, Obedience, Freedom from Judgment, Escaping Wrath, Power, Suffering, Glorification of God, Submission, Confession, Freedom, Baptism, Discipleship, Boldness, Forgiveness, Victory (in the Resurrection), Glorification of Jesus Christ, Diverse expressions, Multi-Culturalism, or A-Culturalism (i.e. for all men all cultures everywhere globally), Eternal Life, Fatherhood (Discipleship), Motherhood (Discipleship), Emotional Response, Righteousness, the word of God, seen and revealed only in the person of Christ, and it is an eternal Gospel that will never fade away. Like the word of God it will never pass away. The mistake that we make in the message of the Gospel is that we limit the message of the gospel to one of these facets, such as Penal Substitution. Please hear me correctly. I believe 100% in Penal Substitution! But that is not the full message of the gospel. That is like saying the whole Bible is about one thing. It is not! It is more eternal and deeper than we could ever know or imagine, and so is the gospel. What we do know is that the NT writers describe the Gospel “Good News” in these manifold ways. If we took only this short list of what the Gospel is, and apply it, we may come up with thousands of different applications in thousands of different contexts. That is why the Gospel is so beautiful. It transcends time, culture, space, and our own plebian surroundings.
According to the NT writers the Gospel is unquestionably good news and He Himself is its proclaimer. He (Jesus) is not just bringing a new teaching, but rather Himself as the substance of the message. He (Jesus) reveals Himself to the community and the community is a proclamation, when His life is lived out in the community with authenticity. Throughout the Pauline references to Evangelion we learn that the pre-existent Son has become man, and the prophesied Messiah. With his resurrection Paul describes that He has become supreme Kyrios (Sovereign) in His Gospel. If we could break the message and content down to one word that word would be “Christ.” The earliest Christian creed “Jesus is Lord” is actually the message of the Gospel in its simplest form. As the NT writers show us Christ is the author, and content of the Eternal Gospel. He is exalted, incarnate Lord, and He is the true and only message of the Gospel. He is His own Evangelion! To illustrate this further the Gospel is the autobiography of Jesus. He is the promise, author, and content of the story. He is exalted and incarnate Lord and Kyrios all in one liberating and amazing story.
He is the autobiographer of a historical event, yet transcending ordinary history. The message is His narratives and teachings. Which reveals the nature of human reality, but expresses the living power of God. Judgment gives way to joy at the resurrection from the dead. His gospel has brought salvation to all people refashioning them into new creations. He constitutes these refashioned lives into new communities of new creatures under grace. Thus the message and content are one. The great author and perfector of our faith is He who has written the story, and reveals chapter by chapter that he is the crux of this Eternal Evangelion. The eternal God is revealed in Jesus Christ in the pages of His own Evangelion to the Glory of God. As Revelation 7:17 similarly says, “For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” In the same way the Author is the content of the story, the Lamb will also be Shepherd. He fulfills both roles, and He Himself will be our eternal Gospel and will be our living water, and wipe away every tear from our eyes!
Illustrating the Multifaceted Gospel
One illustration could expound more thoroughly on what the multifaceted Gospel is like. The Periodic Table of the Elements has 118 different elements. Out of those 118 Elements there are chemical compounds that are possible with the mixture of elements found on the Periodic Table. These mixtures of Elements are numbered and various. They are called Chemical Compounds. I estimate that there are around 5,000 different chemical compound combinations. If I had tried to count them all I would still be counting. There is not even a complete list of organic compounds because the list thereof would be infinite! First of all, the amazing thing about all these elements is that Jesus is sovereign over them all. As the famous Dutch reformer Abraham Kuyper once said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: 'Mine!'” He controls all these elements and knows about the some 5,000 Chemical compounds and how they work and hold together and he knows about the infinite possibilities of organic compounds, but not only that he has made them work! And cries, “MINE!”
I can imagine that the Gospel is somewhat like the Periodic Table. There are certain elements that make up the whole message much like the Gospel. There is a message that makes up the content of the Gospel, but thousands and even infinite possibilities for the outworking of that message. The few things that this paper characterizes and exegetes, are only the uses in the NT of that great word εὐαγγέλιον, It is what the Gospel writers described; truly Good News. Just like Pheidippides proclaimed after his long and grueling run “NIKE!” He proclaimed “VICTORY!” and that is the same message of the Eternal Gospel that we have victory in Jesus. We can like the NT writers did, proclaim that same message in its infinite possibilities and contexts with the same passion, boldness, and sacrifice as that of Pheidippides. God bless you as you seek to proclaim that eternal message in your particular context.
1. Thomas, Robert L. New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible: Including Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries. Print.
4. Friedrich, Gerhard. “εὐαγγέλιον” Kittel, Gerhard, and Geoffrey William Bromiley. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Vol. 2 Grand Rapids (Mich.): WM. B. Eerdmans, 1964. Print.
7. Sphere Sovereignty (p. 488) cited in James D. Bratt, ed., Abraham Kuyper, A Centennial Reader, (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1998).
8. ESV: Study Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2007. Print.
 Thomas, Robert L. New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible: Including Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries. Print.
 Ibid, Same Page
 Friedrich, Gerhard. “εὐαγγέλιον” Kittel, Gerhard, and Geoffrey William Bromiley. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Vol. 2 Grand Rapids (Mich.): WM. B. Eerdmans, 1964. Print.
 Ibid, Volume II, Page 707-710
 Ibid, Volume II, Page 721
 Ibid, Volume II, Page 721-724
 Ibid, Volume II, Page 726-727
 Ibid, Same Page
 Sphere Sovereignty (p. 488) cited in James D. Bratt, ed., Abraham Kuyper, A Centennial Reader, (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1998).