Gospel (faith)

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Jesus preaches the gospel (illumination, around 1010)

As gospel (also good news , good news , good news or gospel ) refers to the Christianity the message that God through Jesus Christ addressed to the people and their proclamation is the task of Christians. The only normative written formulation of the Gospel is the Bible as Holy Scripture . The ways of preaching range from exemplary behavior and action by Christians to the preaching service in preaching and catechesis ( evangelism ) to written or multimedia publications.

Scriptures from the New Testament period are also referred to as "Gospel", which represent the Christian message in the form of a description of the life of Jesus and combine biographical elements (beginning with baptism / birth of Jesus, ending with crucifixion / resurrection) with the tradition and interpretation of the message of Jesus; they use the stylistic devices of ancient biography for this. For this literary genre "Gospel" see Evangelium (book) .

Etymology and origin of the term

The metaphorical group of words around the concept of the gospel is still active in church language today ( Protestant , evangelism ) and has been part of the basic Christian vocabulary since early Christianity, outside of Greek as loan words .

The term gospel comes from the Greek language (εὐαγγέλιον eu-angé lion ) and means something like “reward for bringing good news” or “good news” for short or more specifically “victory message”.

Homer already encounters εὐαγγέλιον as a technical term for good news.

In the Roman Empire, messages that originated from or related to the emperor were called the gospel . Mostly, however, the plural Euangélia was used for the annual festivals such as the birthday and accession of the respective ruler.

The Greek-speaking Jewish tradition , like the Old Testament , primarily uses the verb ευαγγελίζομαι based on the messianic message of salvation announced by the prophet Deutero-Isaiah ( Isa 40.9  ELB ).

New Testament

In the presentation of the New Testament , Jesus uses this word from the context of the Roman emperors at the beginning of his preaching. Mark the Evangelist writes:

“After John was thrown in prison, Jesus went back to Galilee ; He preached the gospel of God and said: 'The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the gospel. '"

- Mk 1.14-15  EU

In the New Testament the noun εὐαγγέλιον ( euangélion ) occurs 60 times in the Pauline letters , in addition the verb ευαγγελίζω or ευαγγελίζομαι ( euangelízo / euangelízomai "bring good news, proclaim the gospel"). The Evangelist Luke uses the verb 25 times, the noun only twice in the Acts of the Apostles ( Acts 15  EU , 20.24 EU ). In Markus the noun appears seven times, in Matthew four times. The noun can be found once in the 1st Peter ( 1 Petr 4,17  EU ) and in the Revelation of John ( Rev 14,6  EU ), the verb three times in the 1st Peter and twice in the Revelation of John. In the Gospel of John and the other New Testament writings, both forms are not found.

For the Apostle Paul εὐαγγέλιον ( euangélion ) is a central concept of his theology that God acted in the incarnation , death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the salvation of the world. He expressly describes the confession of death, resurrection and appearance of Christ, which summarizes the Christian faith and which he passes on to his addressees ( 1 Cor 15 : 3–5  EU ), as the gospel ( 1 Cor 15 :EU ):

“I remind you, brothers and sisters, of the gospel that I preached to you. You accepted it; it is the ground you stand on. Through this gospel you will be saved if you hold fast to the word I preached to you unless you had rashly accepted the faith.
For above all I handed over to you what I also received: Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and was buried. He was raised on the third day, according to the scriptures, and appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. [...]
Whether I proclaim or the others: That is our message and that is the faith that you have accepted. "

- 1 Cor 15: 1-5.11

Even among the Synoptics , εὐαγγέλιον ( euangélion ) is the name for the good news of the salvation event in Jesus Christ, each with a slightly different accent. In any case, in the New Testament, ευαγγέλιον means an oral, preached good news, not something fixed in writing.

Some Church Fathers called the entire New Testament the gospel. The term gospel in connection with the canonical gospels is found in Irenaeus : the gospel as the one message of Jesus Christ in four forms - according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. Justin uses both meanings of the term.


The Christians felt themselves entrusted by the missionary command of Jesus Christ to spread the good news of the kingdom of God: “Go and make all peoples my disciples; baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and teach them to obey all that I have commanded you. ”( Mt 28 : 19f  EU ) The ways and forms of this preaching are called evangelization or evangelism .



See also

Wiktionary: Gospel  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (...) on the proclamation of the Gospel in the world today , No. 24.111.
  2. ^ Hubert Frankemölle: Evangelium, Evangelien. II. Biblical-theological and III. In the Annunciation . In: Walter Kasper (Ed.): Lexicon for Theology and Church . 3. Edition. tape 3 . Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 1995, Sp. 1058.1061 .
  3. z. B. Homer: Odyssey 14, 152-167
  4. Homer: Odyssey . Project Gutenberg, S. Canto 9 to 16 - Chapter 7 ( archive.org [accessed on November 9, 2014] bilingual version Greek / German).
  5. Detlev Dormeyer: Article Evangelium. In: WiBiLex. 2008.