What is the Gospel? (Part 2) A Word Study on Euangelion

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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)

  • Matt 4:23 – “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.
  • Matt 9:35 – “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.
  • Matt 24:14 – “ And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
  • Matt 26:13 – “Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Mark (8 times in 8 verses)

  • Mark 1:1 – The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God,
  • Mark 1:14 – “After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.”
  • Mark 1:15 – “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
  • Mark 8:35 – “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.
  • Mark 10:29 – “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel
  • Mark 13:10 – “And the gospel must first be preached to all nations.
  • Mark 14:9 – “Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
  • Mark 16:15 – “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.“‘

Luke (0 times)

John (0 times)

Acts (2 times in 2 verses)

  • Acts 15:7 – “After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: ‘Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe.’
  • Acts 20:24 – “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

Romans (8 times in 8 verses)

  • Romans 1:1 – “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God
  • Romans 1:9 – “God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you
  • Romans 1:16 – “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
  • Romans 2:16 – “This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
  • Romans 10:16 – “But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?”
  • Romans 11:28 – “As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs,
  • Romans 15:16 – “to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
  • Romans 15:19 – “by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.

1 Corinthians (8 times in 6 verses)

  • 1 Cor 4:15 – “Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.
  • 1 Cor 9:12 – “ If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more? But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.”
  • 1 Cor 9:14 – “ In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.
  • 1 Cor 9:18 – “What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel.
  • 1 Cor 9:23 – “I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
  • 1 Cor 15:1 – “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.

2 Corinthians (8 times in 8 verses)

  • 2 Cor 2:12 – “Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me,
  • 2 Cor 4:3 – “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.
  • 2 Cor 4:4 – “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
  • 2 Cor 8:18 – “And we are sending along with him the brother who is praised by all the churches for his service to the gospel.
  • 2 Cor 9:13 – “Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.
  • 2 Cor 10:14 – “We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ.
  • 2 Cor 11:4 – “For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.
  • 2 Cor 11:7 – “Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge?

Galatians (7 times in 7 verses)

  • Gal 1:6 – “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel
  • Gal 1:7 – “which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.
  • Gal 1:11 – “I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin.
  • Gal 2:2 – “I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles.
  • Gal 2:5 – “We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.
  • Gal 2:7 – “On the contrary, they recognized that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised.
  • Gal 2:14 – “When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?

Ephesians (4 times in 4 verses)

  • Eph 1:13 – “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
  • Eph 3:6 – “This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
  • Eph 6:15 – “and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
  • Eph 6:19 – “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,

Philippians (9 times in 8 verses)

  • Phil 1:5 – “because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,
  • Phil 1:7 – “It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.
  • Phil 1:12 – “Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.
  • Phil 1:16 – “The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.
  • Phil 1:27 – “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel
  • Phil 2:22 – “But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel.
  • Phil 4:3 – “Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
  • Phil 4:15 – “Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only;

Colossians (2 times in 2 verses)

  • Col 1:5 – “ the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel
  • Col 1:23 – “if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

1 Thessalonians (6 times in 6 verses)

  • 1 Thess 1:5 – “because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.
  • 1 Thess 2:2 – “We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition.
  • 1 Thess 2:4 – “On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.
  • 1 Thess 2:8 – “so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.
  • 1 Thess 2:9 – “Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.
  • 1 Thess 3:2 – “We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith,

2 Thessalonians (2 times in 2 verses)

  • 2 Thess 1:8 – “He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
  • 2 Thess 2:14 – “He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Timothy (1 time in 1 verse)

  • 1 Tim 1:11 – “that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

2 Timothy (3 times in 3 verses)

  • 2 Tim 1:8 – “So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.
  • 2 Tim 1:10 – “but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
  • 2 Tim 2:8 – “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel,

Titus (0 times in 0 verses)

Philemon (1 time in 1 verse)

  • Philemon 13 – “I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel.

Hebrews (0 times in 0 verses)

1 Peter (1 time in 1 verse)

  • 1 Peter 4:17 – “For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

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)

  • Rev 14:6 – “Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people.

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