What does gospel mean
The gospel is the good news from God who redeems human beings and creation.
The gospel is the good news that God came to men in Jesus Christ. The word "gospel" means "good news" and comes from the Greek word euangelion. The message from Jesus was: God's kingdom has come, he will finish his work and make the world whole.
How Jesus Christ acted, what he did and said, shows what God is like. How Jesus turned to people becomes clear how God turned to people: without making any distinctions between men and women, ethnic affiliations and social status. And finally, the death and resurrection of Jesus are a final sign that God is serious: He wants to save people, conquer death and give them a future in his kingdom (Rom. 1:16).
Four books in the New Testament tell the story of Jesus. They are called the four Gospels: The Gospel of Matthew, the Gospel of Mark, the Gospel of Luke, and the Gospel of John. They tell of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. They also contain what has been handed down from the words of Jesus, what he told, for example, about God and his kingdom. This makes it clear how people should live together.
There are many texts that are in all of the Gospels. Most of the common texts can be found in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. These are therefore also called "Synoptic Gospels" and their authors "Synoptics". The word synopsis comes from the Greek and means something like "to look together". Because of the differences in the gospels and their various allusions to history, Bible Students attempt to date the scriptures.
The Gospel of Mark is therefore the oldest of the four Gospels, it was written around the year 70 AD. Then come the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. The most recent is the Gospel of John. It has a lot of texts that are not contained in the other Gospels and is formulated in a more philosophical way, so it reflects the events a little more than the other Gospels. However, all the Gospels are already interpretations of what happened. Its authors did not meet Jesus themselves. Bible Students therefore try, on the one hand, to find out what the various representations say about their authors and their churches. On the other hand, they try to reconstruct the different sources that the authors have included in their texts.
For Christians, the texts of the gospels are more than just stories written down by someone. In these texts God himself becomes visible and alive for Christians. That is why they read the Gospels over and over again, for example in church services and devotions.
Further content and links
There are other gospels outside of the Bible. What's up with them?
Answer: There are so-called apocryphal Gospels, such as the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Peter. The word apocryphal comes from the Greek and means “hidden”. Some scriptures called apocryphal were actually secret teachings of Christian communities. Which scriptures were included in the New Testament and which were not was decided by bishops and other leaders of the church at so-called synods and councils in the first centuries after Christ. There are several reasons why they did not include certain scriptures. It could be, for example, that scriptures contained doctrines that were not capable of consensus in the area of the Church at that time - that is, around the Mediterranean. This is especially true for writings that came from the so-called Gnosis.
The term “gnostic” was used to describe groups that predominantly represented a dualistic worldview, that is, a strong juxtaposition of good and bad, of light and darkness. They assign the kingdom of light to the hereafter and the kingdom of darkness to this world.
Also, scriptures could not be read in all areas of the Church. Or that their origins were in doubt because they could not be associated with apostles or eyewitnesses. Today many of these scriptures are being rediscovered, including the apocryphal Gospels. The Gospel of Thomas, for example, contains several words from Jesus. Today's Bible Students suspect that the evangelists must have accessed a special source of Jesus' words in order to write their texts. It could well be that the Gospel of Thomas preserved this source in a more original form than the Gospels.
A distinction that repeatedly plays a role in Protestant theology is the juxtaposition of the Gospel as good news of God's grace on the one hand and the law as an obligation to God on the other. It was Paul first who made the distinction between law and gospel. It then acquired a new meaning with Martin Luther and in the course of the Reformation.
The gospel is the good news of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul contrasts it with the Jewish law, as it is handed down in the Torah, i.e. in the Old Testament. For Paul the only way to salvation was through Jesus Christ. His opinion was that the Torah alone does not bring salvation and is at the mercy of death (Romans 8: 2). It was clear to him: the law only makes people recognize their sins. These lie in not being able to keep the law. But grace comes through Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:14). Paul thus brought about a comparison of the Old and New Testaments, which shaped theology for a long time.
Paul had a great influence on Martin Luther. The grace of God was particularly important for his doctrine of justification. A good life followed for him through faith given by God. You can't work it out by following rules. Later reformers like John Calvin went in a different direction. Their goal was to keep growing in faith. They saw the church in the role of educator who educates the faithful to a good life (church discipline). Luther wanted to avoid a new formation of the law, but for Calvin and others the law was given a new meaning: It led those who had been saved by grace to a deeper knowledge of God's will. Many Christian churches and communities follow this tradition, some of which have strict rules for their believers.
The basic text of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany is aimed at people interested in theology, church leaders, theologians, but also at a broader public who asks about the significance of the 2017 Reformation anniversary.learn more
A new version of the Luther Bible was published for the 2017 Reformation anniversary. For ten years, a team of 70 scientists revised the text and revived many of Luther's original formulations. The Luther Bible 2017 sounds more like Luther again.learn more
The fact that Jesus ascended to heaven and is sitting there at the right hand of God is recorded in the Apostles' Creed. Other foundations of the Christian faith are also formulated in this creed. You can read it here.learn more
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