Category Archives: Gospel

What is the Gospel? (Part 1)

In Scot McKnight’s excellent book, “King Jesus Gospel” he asks a question that is so simple but so profound – Did Jesus preach the gospel? This is an intriguing question because we typically think of the gospel as the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus that gives us future hope in heaven through our promised resurrection. But during Jesus’ ministry these things were not on the table in such a nice, neat package. That either means Jesus didn’t preach the gospel, as we define it, or the Gospel isn’t defined as we define it (it is bigger and inclusive of more things than the above summary).

The temptation is to say he didn’t teach “the” Gospel (as summarized above) as we understand it today rather Jesus just preached “Gospel” (lacking the definite article). So what is THE Gospel and did Jesus preach it?

The Bible itself tells us that Jesus taught the Gospel. I will dive into the Greek in a future post but for now let’s look at a thumbnail of what we have.

Matt 4:23 & 9:35 – “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and every disease and sickness among the people.”

Mark 1:1 – “The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.”

Mark 1:14-15 – “After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!'”

Clearly, Jesus preached the gospel (good news). He did so without preaching it as we are accustomed to hearing it and he did that because his Gospel included more things than what we often include in our understanding of gospel. What were the components of Jesus’ gospel in these verses (we will cover more later)?

  • It had something to do with healing
  • It had something to do with Jesus being Messiah
  • It had something to do with Jesus being the Son of God
  • It had something to do with the kingdom of God.
  • It had something to do with repentance

Before I go any further, I want to establish the idea that Jesus did preach the Gospel and that anything Jesus includes in the Gospel should be included in our understanding of the Gospel. That means Jesus’ circle of what is included as Gospel was both wider than ours (included things we don’t include) and, ironically, more narrow than ours (including some very specific items we often overlook or leave out). This means we include things as Gospel that aren’t and that we miss things as Gospel that are.

What are some things that we include as gospel that aren’t? Wright and McKnight both talk about our obsession with individual salvation –  dying and going to heaven as the great gospel hope. That is close but doesn’t quite give the same emphasis as the biblical gospel. What are some things the New Testament (Jesus) includes as Gospel that we don’t? We often miss his being Messiah and how important that is in continuity with the Old Testament and we also miss the fact that when Jesus taught about the kingdom (often in parables) that he was preaching Gospel. So take the contents of the parables and put them in the circle of what is included in the Gospel. We also don’t associate healing with Gospel but Jesus did. I want to talk more about that in the next article.


Back to What is Most Important – The Gospel

I find it increasingly beneficial to focus on things that are of top shelf importance. There are so many distractions out there and so many ways to spend your time, energy and money. I am going to launch into a series on the Gospel over the next few weeks that I think you will findContinue Reading

Making Complex the Simple and Dreaming Dreams

It takes a lot of work to take a complex idea and make it simple. It takes relatively little work to take something simple and make it complex. Disorder comes more easily than order…chaos is the natural course of a broken world. Entropy doesn’t just affect physics and thermodynamics. Entropy affects communication. Order takes discipline.Continue Reading

Broadening Our View of Gospel and Salvation

The term for gospel as a noun only occurs in Matthew and Mark about a dozen times. It doesn’t appear in Luke or in John. It doesn’t show up again until Acts 15:7. The verb form (to preach or proclaim the good news) does show up a few times in Luke and the early chaptersContinue Reading

Losing Our Way in Churches of Christ and Finding the Answer in the Gospels

I intend to spend a lot more time in the Gospels this year and I would like to tell you why. In 2015 I tackled N.T. Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God. I started it while on jury duty via my kindle app and when I first downloaded the book it told me IContinue Reading

Two New Small Group Series Uploaded to Kingdom Living

I just uploaded two new small group lesson series. I wrote these for Northwest to use in my absence in order to help them transition to a new way of developing small group curriculum next year. Here they are: Generations Seeking God Together The Gospel

The Gospel is Not Just a Set of Facts, It is Those Facts Proclaimed

When I think of the Gospel I often think of information. Usually that information is summed up as the death and resurrection of Christ that brings us forgiveness and eternal life. But if you look up how the word “Gospel” is used in the New Testament it is almost always used in the context ofContinue Reading

What Did Jesus Mean When He Talked About Causing “Little ones to Stumble”?

Jesus said to his disciples, “Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come! It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble. ” – LukeContinue Reading

Review of Logos “How to Read the Bible” Collection – Part 3

The third book in the Logos “How to Read the Bible” Collection is Stan Guthrie’s “All That Jesus Asks: How His Questions Can Teach and Transform Us“. Guthrie takes the majority of questions Jesus asked during his ministry and weaves them into an investigation of the identity and mission of Jesus Christ. In later chaptersContinue Reading

Tom Wright on “What is the Gospel?”

If the video doesn’t play for you click here. I love Wright’s focus on Jesus. A couple of years ago there was a lot of discussion regarding where to start with people when sharing the Gospel. The point was made (at the Pepperdine lectures, online and elsewhere) that older generations tend to start with theContinue Reading


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