I hear the word “Gospel” used more than ever.  Every time I hear someone say, preach the Gospel!, or just give them the Gospel tonight, or we are living in Gospel Community.  I wonder what people are referring to as Gospel.  We could easily get things mixed up.  I see the mix up every thursday night with my grade 5-7 group when we are talking about topics like: Jesus, Holy Spirit, The Bible, ect.  I personally think we need to understand what the Gospel is.  We need to have a working definition.

The word “Gospel” is everywhere these days.  I see books on amazon like, Gospel Coach: Shepherding Leaders to Glorify GodGospel-Centered Discipleship (Re: Lit)The Explicit Gospel (Re: Lit)Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary.  All of these books are amazing, and I love the empahsis of the Gospel, but I think we need to clarify what we actually mean when we say The Gospel.

Here are a few definitions: 

D.A Carson states over at Ed Stetzers blog, If the gospel is the (good) news about what God has done in Christ Jesus, there is ample place for including under “the gospel” the ways in which the kingdom has dawned and is coming, for tying this kingdom to Jesus’ death and resurrection, for demonstrating that the purpose of what God has done is to reconcile sinners to himself and finally to bring under one head a renovated and transformed new heaven and new earth, for talking about God’s gift of the Holy Spirit, consequent upon Christ’s resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Majesty on high, and above all for focusing attention on what Paul (and others–though the language I’m using here reflects Paul) sees as the matter “of first importance”: Christ crucified. All of this is what God has done; it is what we proclaim; it is the news, the great news, the good news. (HT )

Tim Keller states, “The ‘gospel’ is the good news that through Christ the power of God’s kingdom has entered history to renew the whole world. When we believe and rely on Jesus’ work and record (rather than ours) for our relationship to God, that kingdom power comes upon us and begins to work through us.” (quote from The Gospel Coalition)

Matt Chandler, Josh Patterson, and Eric Geiger state, In its simplest form, the gospel is God’s reconciling work in Christ – that through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, God is making all things new both personally for those who repent and believe, and cosmically as He redeems culture and creation from its subjection to futility.”– Creature of the Word: The Jesus-Centered Church by Matt Chandler, Josh Patterson, and Eric Geiger

N.T Wright states, The gospel is the royal announcement that the crucified and risen Jesus, who died for our sins and rose again according to the Scriptures, has been enthroned as the true Lord of the world. When this gospel is preached, God calls people to salvation, out of sheer grace, leading them to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as the risen Lord.” – Christianity Today, June 2009

John Piper states, The Gospel is the news that Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, died for our sins and rose again, eternally triumphant over all his enemies, so that there is now no condemnation for those who believe, but only everlasting joy.”– John Piper, The Gospel in 6 Minutes

Rob Bell famously tweeted the Gospel, which created a huge controversy.  Here is that tweet, “The gospel is the counterintuitive, joyous, exuberant news that Jesus has brought the unending, limitless, stunning love of God to even us.”

Lets give this a shot.  Now that you have seen other definitions,  what is your definition of the Gospel?  It is so important that we understand what the word Gospel is, and how we present it in our youth ministries.  I was trying to find youth pastor definitions of the Gospel, but I couldn’t find any.  That can’t be good.    

Leave a comment below.  what is your definition of the Gospel?

  • Steven

    In 1st Corinthians 15, Paul says that it is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. I’m going to stick with his definition.

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  • Quick point. The word “gospel” means “good news.” If what you believe wouldn’t be defined as “good news” then it’s not “The Good News.”

    People already think that God is mad at them and wants to damn them to hell.

    It’s good news that because of Jesus, the opposite is true. God wants people to be saved! What’s even better is that it’s a free gift that we don’t have to (and can’t) deserve! That’s Good News!

    • Thanks for the comment paul! I agree that we have the greatest news! I think it is important to understand what that great news is. I love your statement at the bottom! You nailed it. Its a free gift that we don’t deserve.

  • Had this same thought last year. How many books came out last spring with Gospel in the title, most from Resurgence alone. I think its a great discussion for the church to be having, and I appreciate that Resurgence is trying to push that conversation into the mainstream as a “buzzword.”

    • Thanks for the comment ben. I love what the resurgence is doing. We need the Gospel.

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