In the first post of this series, I said that I was looking at the terms Scriptures, Bible, New Testament, Gospels, and gospel. In the next post, I looked at various uses of the term “Scriptures” in the New Testament. Then, I explained how I use the terms “Scriptures,” “Bible,” “New Testament,” and “Gospels” and explained why I use the terms that way.
But, what about the general term “gospel” as found in the New Testament? What is the nature of that term? Does it point to the Scriptures? The New Testament? The Gospels?
Well, to begin, logistically it would be impossible for the term “gospel” to refer directly to the New Testament or the Gospels in the New Testament or the Gospels, since neither the New Testament nor the Gospels existed at that time. Of course, if we determine that the term “gospel” referred to the Scriptures that were available at that time, then it’s possible to conclude that it could refer to the New Testament and/or Gospels also by extension (if we decide that the New Testament and Gospels are Scripture).
The term “gospel” is the Old English translation of the Greek term εὐαγγέλιον (euaggelion). The term means “good news.” At the time, it could refer to any kind of good news, but, of course, Christians usually refer to a specific kind of “good news” when they use the term “gospel.”
Interestingly, the Greek term εὐαγγέλιον (euaggelion) can also mean “the reward for good news.”
The related Greek terms εὐαγγελίζω (euaggelizo – “to proclaim good news”) and εὐαγγελιστής (euaggelistes – “one who proclaims good news”) should also be considered when determining the nature(s) of the term “gospel.”
I’ve seen suggestions that “gospel” always refers to Jesus Christ, the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), the Scriptures, the message about Jesus, and a few other options.
I’m not convinced that the term “gospel” always refers to the same thing. Instead, I think that we must look at the context to determine (if possible) exactly what the term “gospel” refers to.
I’ll look at some examples in the next post, which should be published tomorrow.