Understanding the Bible 17: “Gospel” Explained

What exactly is a gospel? And is there a right way to read them?

In this episode, we examine the gospel as a genre of biblical literature and discuss: their content, the events that occasioned their writing, and the manner of their composition.  And we begin with fact that “gospel” (the Greek word is εὐαγγέλιον) did not originally refer to a genre at all.  Rather, εὐαγγέλιον was news of victory, especially victory in battle.  In the ancient world, runners would be sent from the front lines back to the threatened territories to give a report of the state of the battle.  And nothing was better than to receive “gospel” – the announcement that our team had won!  One might say that the city had been “saved”!

The evangelist Mark, the first one to compose a written account of Jesus’ life considered “authoritative” in the early church, opens his work with the word εὐαγγέλιον.  And in so doing, he gives tremendous insight into his intent.  

If you want a deeper understanding of Jesus – his life, ministry and teaching, this episode is essential listening!

(This episode is a sermon, preached at Canvas [Irvine, CA], 12 January 2014. To learn more about Canvas, click here!)


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