What is the Gospel?
Gospel is a term used 98 times in the New Testament. In Greek, gospel means "good news." The question is, "The good news of what?" One very good definition can be found in the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology edited by Walter Elwell, "the gospel is the joyous proclamation of God's redemptive activity in Christ Jesus on behalf of man enslaved by sin."
The term "gospel" is also referred to in specific books in the Bible that set forth the life and teaching of Jesus, for example the Gospel of Matthew, Gospel of Mark, etc. The importance of the gospel cannot be overstated. It is the culminating concept of the entire Bible. One of the most famous Bible passages is :
John 3:16 is what most Christians would give as an answer to "what is the gospel?" The problem for unbelievers is the word "gospel" isn't used in the passage. If you look for the word "gospel" in the Bible, you'll find that it doesn't appear in the Old Testament. The first time it appears is in Matthew -
Even then, the term is used, but it isn't explained. This happens again in Matthew -
In Mark, Jesus explains that the gospel is of such great importance, that a man must be willing to give up everything for it -
Fortunately, we have the apostle Paul. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul clearly defines the gospel -
The first four verses of this scripture define the gospel. The second four verses, picking up at "and that he appeared to Cephas", are evidence that His resurrection is true. Paul used this evidence for the historicity of the resurrection as part of the gospel message. He insists that the resurrection was not a figment of someone's imagination. He clearly states there were over 500 witnesses at one time. He also states that he himself was a witness.
The gospel is salvation for any who believes that Christ died for their sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. As in Greek, this is good news.