Update: I’ve reworked the definition in light of some helpful feedback.
The New Testament offers numerous descriptions of the nature of the gospel, of its implications and its importance, and of its effects on and in and among the people of God and the world. I’ve recently finished working through every New Testament reference to “the gospel” and have been looking closely at these various descriptions.
There are a number of good summary definitions of “the gospel” out there, and, insofar as they harmonize with the witness of Scripture, they are good. It is helpful, though, to summarize “the gospel” yourself, if only because it challenges us to think through our own assumptions about the gospel and to hold them up to the judgment of Scripture.
So, after having just finished this study, I’ve been trying to hammer out a definition of “the gospel” that does justice to the New Testament picture. I’d love your thoughts, suggestions, and feedback, as well as any summaries of “the gospel” that you have come up with.
I more than realize that it is not for us to define the gospel. It is of God. He has defined it. But we must proclaim it, and this involves being able to say what it is without quoting verbatim the many, many NT references to it.
Here’s my best shot at it. Share yours.
“The gospel is the eternal good news that through the person, death, resurrection, and promised return of Jesus Christ, sin, death, and hell have been defeated and all who come to Christ in repentance and faith receive salvation, eternal life, hope, the blessings of God, strength for right living, and a place in the body and ongoing mission of Christ on earth, the church, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.”