There are two main words associated with the word “Gospel” one is a noun (the good news itself) and the other is a verb (to proclaim the good news). This post is going to deal with the noun and a follow up post will deal with the verb. I am not going to do a lot of commentating in this article. Instead, I want to give you the usages in the New Testament itself and we can refer back to this in subsequent posts.

Euangelion (Greek: ευαγγελιον) means “good news”

This word is used 75 times in 72 verses in the New Testament. It is used in 17 of the 27 books of the New Testament. In this article, we are looking at this from the Greek instances of the word. If you dig into the word in English you will find times it is used not reflected in this list like in Romans 1:2 where it is not present in the Greek but present in English in the NIV (supplied from verse 1 to make sense of what is being said). You will also see this below in Colossians 1;23 where the word appears twice in English but only once in Greek. Again, the translators supply the word a second time to help the translation make sense.

Several scholars have spent a considerable amount of time talking about how this word was used in Paul’s day. One of the main items on the list of “good news” in first century Rome was what Caesar did for his people, especially in light of the deification of the emperor and the worship that was given to him in the first century. The first Roman emperor to be divinized was Julius Caesar in 44 BC. Attributing “gospel” to Jesus rather than Caesar could have been a subversive act as was calling Jesus Christ (anointed king) and Lord (master) as was preaching the kingdom.

Here is the breakdown by book. It may surprise you that there are entire books of the New Testament (even half of the gospels) that don’t use this word. You will see in the next post that in some of the books we do find the verb form.

Matthew (4 times in 4 verses)

Mark (8 times in 8 verses)

Luke (0 times)

John (0 times)

Acts (2 times in 2 verses)

Romans (8 times in 8 verses)

1 Corinthians (8 times in 6 verses)

2 Corinthians (8 times in 8 verses)

Galatians (7 times in 7 verses)

Ephesians (4 times in 4 verses)

Philippians (9 times in 8 verses)

Colossians (2 times in 2 verses)

1 Thessalonians (6 times in 6 verses)

2 Thessalonians (2 times in 2 verses)

1 Timothy (1 time in 1 verse)

2 Timothy (3 times in 3 verses)

Titus (0 times in 0 verses)

Philemon (1 time in 1 verse)

Hebrews (0 times in 0 verses)

1 Peter (1 time in 1 verse)

2 Peter (0 times in 0 verses)

1 John (0 times in 0 verses)

2 John (0 times in 0 verses)

3 John (o times in 0 verses)

Jude (0 times in 0 verses)

Revelation (1 time in 1 verse)

One Response

  1. Thank you for taking the time to share this. Having gone through this personally a short while ago, what amazes me is how the term is used with a possessive concept: MY gospel, OUR gospel, GOD’S gospel…

    What it also shows is how the content of the message seems to “move.” We know that Paul included ‘judgment to come’ in his proclamation of the good news (cf. Romans 2). And yet, in today’s society, that is deemed unacceptable.

    Paul refers to the “supporting work” of the signs, miracles and wonders through the power of the Spirit of God, again showing what Acts has already stated as a purpose of the miracles.

    That the “gospel” goes beyond the message of life, death and resurrection is also clear when Pauls speak of “acting worthy” of the gospel.

    Apart from that, the “gospel” was proclaimed to those who had never heard it before, which should give us pause to think about how “we” think of “preaching the gospel” to the assembly of the saints…

    The overall impact of the above listing is amazing. The value of such word chases is obvious. And sometimes it helps us broaden our thinking on such often used words!

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