I have been reading through the Bible again from Genesis to Revelation. Each year I do this to continue searching for God in all kinds of ways and seeking His character and “heart” in it all. There are just so many things that I learn by the aid of the Holy Spirit each and EVERY time I read through the Scriptures. God has given us so much for us to continue searching through that we spend our entire lifetimes learning about Him and developing our relationship with Him in a way that grows us and teaches us here and now.
The “Gospel”, that I learned way back when, meant “Good News.” However, I have come to a fuller definition of the term “Gospel” being: The revealed Word of God’s plan of salvation for all mankind. Now that is a more accurate definition if I say so myself. It is all encompassing and thorough, but also short and sweet. That is my kind of definition.
So in breaking that down, I will go word by word:
“The” being the only one. Not one of many, but solo.
“Revealed” being that it is being made known to us.
“Word” which is detail by detail (the Bible) AND Jesus Himself.
“Of” meaning this portion of knowledge that God has given us is not the entire sketch of our lives, but only a portion giving rise to the way back into God’s presence.
“God’s“: this is Our Heavenly Father’s, and not our way. We did not come up with this plan to work or think our way back into the safety and security of God’s provision and peace. He did. He gave us the only way back to Him.
“Plan“: this is a step by step, detailed proposal for doing or achieving something, which in this case is coming back into His presence.
“Of salvation“: preservation or deliverance from harm, ruin, or loss. The whole reason we are seeking His salvation is to keep from being lost.
“For” being that this is not just information out there floating around for anyone who wants to pick it up for a read, like one of those magazines on the table in the waiting room somewhere. You know what I’m talking about.
“All” meaning it is available for everyone. There is only one way to receive it and that is to accept it. You don’t have to have any special attribute or characteristic. You don’t have to be a part of any special club and an academic scholar of any sorts.
All means all. And finally, “mankind“, which means man is the object of God’s saving will. If you can understand me, you can receive this. Notice, I didn’t say, “if you can read this.” You don’t have to be able to read. You don’t have to be able to see. You don’t have to be able to hear. You just have to be able to understand. Even Helen Keller could understand this, and I would venture to guess that she had it harder than most in the communication department.
All of that put together again says, “The revealed Word of God’s plan of salvation for all mankind“. That is a well rounded definition of “The Gospel”, and more informative than simply, “the Good News”. The Gospel is simply the name or title we have given to a body of information in the Bible that makes known God’s incredible plan of salvation for US, and our need for it.
Also, this information was made known to us far earlier than when Mary received the announcement of Jesus’ birth, before He was born, before He lived, taught, died, and rose again to ascend back to Heaven. This information was given to us as far back as Adam and Eve in the garden right after the fall. The promise was made to Abraham in Genesis. Reading Galatians 3:8, it says, “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘In you shall all the nations be blessed.” Notice the word “gospel”. Also, Jesus taught the Gospel from the Old Testament. So be know He is the fulfillment of this plan of salvation.
Over the centuries, many theologians and others have narrowed the Gospel down so much so as to make the term simply refer to the story and purpose of Christ. It has been whittled away so as to mean just the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and nothing else. However, so much had to be done in preparation for Jesus Christ that just the birth, life, death and resurrection would have been lost as just another life that took place. The plan of salvation – the Gospel – would not have meant much without the events leading up to it. We would not have known that we needed the salvation had we not been given any other information leading up to His resurrection. So God began in the Old Testament, which by the way is what the people of the New Testament had to teach from. They didn’t have the New Testament like we do. They were writing the accounts and letters that would eventually be our New Testament. The entire Bible holds the account of the Gospel.
Much went into this plan of salvation to keep us from being permanently separated from Him. Christ is the center and focus of this plan of salvation, but it began before He came, and more still has to happen before He comes again. God is so good.
Gotta go fill up my cup…..