What is a Gospel?

The meaning of the gospel includes the Bible concerning the Word of God. The

Gospels are books that tell the story of Jesus. It tells what he did, what he said, and how he

acted in relation to the people. "Gospel" is a divine word that proves God’s ultimate purpose.

This purpose was to serve the church in its worship, life, and teachings of Jesus and bring

people to have faith and obedience in him. The Gospels tell the ways of existing proclamations,

sacraments, prayer, exorcism, eschatological expectation, incipient polity, and end at Jesus’

death and resurrection. The gospels speak the truth and is in fact the final stage of God’s plan of

salvation to all of mankind.

The mission that Christ entrusted to his followers would not be completed until they had

carried the "good news" (or gospel) he had taught them to the ends of the world. The

Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible says, "It is the word of God for those only who "listen" to

it." The Gospels are really testimonials of faith, not of biographies. They are divided into two

parts -- sayings and narratives. The narratives include miracle stories and biographical legends,

while the sayings are more on the complex side. The sayings contain apophthegmata,

proverbs, parables, and more.

They invite the reader to believe in and obey Christ as the Lord. The meaning of the

gospel changes from the coming of the kingdom to the meaning of the coming of Jesus Himself,

and of His life, death, and resurrection. "The good news of the kingdom includes a call to

repentance (Mt. 4:17; Mk 1:15)"(McKenzie 320). It presents Jesus as the Messiah and

Savior.

The writers of these books are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These four Gospels

were written down to preserve the sayings and works of Jesus for future generations. They

were all written a little later after Jesus’ death, probably before A. D. 100. Each gospel was

written independently, however they are alike in many ways. For example, in each Jesus is the

central figure. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called the Synoptic gospels. The word

"synoptic" means "giving a common view" of the gospel story. John is independent in his

choice of material. He focuses on the theme of the eternal life through the faith in Christ. Each

of the Gospels are equally historical. The gospel of Mark stresses the human side of Jesus.

Matthew has been called an expanded edition of Mark. Luke shows a more literary and more

historical product, while John shows a decided development beyond the type established in

Mark.

For years after Jesus’ death, the gospel story was an oral tradition, but once the gospel

story began to be written down, oral tradition became less important. The church soon

depended mainly on written gospels. The gospel of John was written about the last decade of

the first century. Mark wrote the earliest gospel, but Matthew was the first and basic gospel. It

was the official Roman Catholic view, and that of a few Protestant scholars.

"All four gospels were written by men of faith to further faith, worship, and Christian

living. The Synoptic give far more details of what Jesus did and said, but we go to John for the

fullest interpretation of the gospel story" (Layman ed. 1135). Overall, the Gospels are an

overview to explain to us about Jesus and His life. Thanks to the word of mouth and these

written documents, it makes us believe and have a better understanding of Jesus.