Just WHAT IS the “Gospel”?

“Houston — We have a problem!”

That was the call of alarm from Apollo 13 years ago. Something had gone drastically wrong with the “spaceship” carrying America’s astronauts to the moon.
Today, in the spiritual realm, that cry of alarm can express our problem today. “Houston — We have a problem!” And, what is that problem?

The problem, my friends, is that we have been taught the wrong message from the Bible. And, that message is called by Christianity “the Gospel.” What is most shocking is, why has this been missed for so long? For nearly two thousand years this incorrect teaching has flooded the earth. But, prophetically speaking, the Bible tells us that the real “Evangel” will be taught to the whole world just before the “end” comes. That “end” being the return of the Messiah described in the Greek Scriptures.

Over the centuries the Greek word euaggelion has been translated into the word “Gospel.” It is explained that the word “gospel” in English, comes from the German word “godspel” or “God’s Message.” Then, a long explanation is given of why this German word speaks of the “good news”. That is, “gospel” means “good news” based on the German word “godspel.” Why has no one ever asked, “What does a German word have to do with the Greek word?” Why should German be used to explain a Greek word that does not mean “good news” nor “God’s Message?”

Here then is a quote explaining the word “gospel.”

“The word “gospel” is a Middle English term derived from the Old English gōdspel which is a direct translation of the Greek root noun euaggelion or evangel, which simply means “good message” or “good news.” As the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia states in the article “Gospel,” the Old Testament presents precursors to the New Testament Gospel:

“It begins with the prophecy concerning the ‘seed of the woman’ (Gen 3:15), and the promise concerning Abraham, in whom all the nations should be blessed (Gen 12:3; 15:5) and is also indicated in Acts 10:43 and in the argument in Rom 4.” —  ISBE, article “Gospel”

Here is an example of one teacher’s explanation of what the “gospel” is. It is based on the understanding that the above is a correct definition of the Greek word euaggelion.

“What Chr-st’s Gospel Was All About
I say Chr-st’s gospel —  the message He brought from G-d — was the advance GOOD NEWS of the establishment of the Kingdom of G-d.” P. 18, The Incredible Human Potential, HWA, c. 1978

As you can see, this author uses “Good News” in place of the Greek word euaggelion. For, as all have been led to believe, the Greek word MUST carry the meaning of the German word “godspel.” Is that true? Ah, there’s the rub. If one builds a doctrine, or explanation on a single word, should it not be built on what the word actually means? As you will see, the difference in meaning is a nuance that makes a world of difference in understanding and impact on the inner mind. So, with that in mind, what is the correct meaning of “euaggelion” from the Greek text?

First, let me mention this up front. Although the entire universe is in a similar condition at this time, man is overpowered and sunk deeply into what might be called “the human condition.” In a very real sense we could call “the human condition” a sickness, a disease, a death sentence. A condition that overwhelmed mankind when Adam and Eve SINNED. That sickness, disease, debilitation has lasted since then, and without special help and a miracle, man cannot escape his HCS — Human Condition Syndrome. Man is sick mentally, physically and spiritually and needs healing, desperately.

How does this relate to the word “gospel?” It doesn’t. The word “gospel/godspel/good news” does not relate at all to this HCS problem of mankind. But, the true and actual definition of “euaggelion” does relate — in a big way. Let’s see:

“THE SECRET OF THE EVANGEL.
The phrase ‘the secret of the evangel’ may be new to those who are accustomed to the Authorized ‘King James’ Version rendering, ‘the mystery of the gospel.’

While the ‘Bible’ may speak of mysteries, the inspired original sets forth secrets which, once they are revealed, may be easily understood. They are not mysteries, beyond human comprehension, but secrets which were concealed until G-d made them known at the predetermined time (See Rom. 16:26; Eph. 1:9, 3:9; Col. 1:26).

Alas! These secrets seem to have become mysterious to most of G-d’s dear saints. May He grant, in these ‘last days,’ that these precious secrets may be recovered and set forth for all the saints to understand and enjoy! For it is these very secrets which will illumine the pathway leading to maturity (Col. 1:27-29).

‘GOSPEL’ OR ‘EVANGEL’
But why gospel to evangel? The Greek word here translated ‘gospel’ is eua[n]ggelion, which literally means, WELL-MESSAGE.

While we may cling to the term ‘gospel’ for sentimental reasons, the rendering ‘evangel’ is advantageous in that it provides the verb evangelize and the noun evangelist. This consideration alone should be sufficient for the earnest truth-seeker since it provides uniform equivalents for each grammatical form of the Greek. Even the King James Version translates the noun evangelist in its three occurrences (Acts 21:8; Eph. 4:11; 2 Tim. 4:5).

The use of the word evangel may also help to eliminate the many unscriptural associations and phrases which crowd around the word ‘gospel,’ hindering the divine light from illuminating the reader’s mind.” Pps. 11-12, The Mystery of the Gospel, c. 1969, 1976

What we see from this is that “good” news is NOT a good translation for evangel, or eua[n]ggelion. Notice the first part of the word. It is EU-, a prefix meaning well, wellness. That is not the definition of good. For instance, a good man may not be a well man. He may have bad health. He is in need of wellness, or health. If one were to do a search of the use of the EU– prefix, one would find many words with this prefix. All tending to speak of the wellness of someone or thing.

There is much to be said about this, but for now, ask yourself these questions.
1. What is one of the first things that come to mind when you think of the Messiah? Is it not His ability to heal all kinds of people?
2. What did the original apostles, disciples and elders do? Were they not to be called for the healing of the sick? As in Jas. 5:13-16, for example.
3. What are the trees for along the river of water of life in the book of Revelation? Are they not for the healing of the nations? Or, as the Concordant Version has: “And the leaves of the log are for the CURE of the NATIONS.” Rev. 22:2

Now, are you beginning to see the difference between the proper word “Evangel” versus the incorrect word “Gospel?” The nuance in difference is great. One is for the HEALING/CURE of all mankind. The other is to tell mankind there is “Good News” you might like to know about. One is active and performs a major miracle. The other is just a “pep-talk” or “positive thinking” kind of emptiness.

So, with that in mind, let’s ask this major question. “Has the true ‘gospel’ been preached to all the world as described in the last chapter of Matthew? Or better still, “Has the true Evangel been preached to all the world as described in the last chapter of Matthew?

The Evangel was taught to the first century generation of disciples. And, in our day, that real Evangel is to be taught again to the whole world, as in Mt. 24:14. In the meantime, from just after the end of the First Century until now only a “gospel” has been taught to the world. It’s time now for the Evangel to be retaught in “this” generation, a repeat generation of the First Century. What happened then will again happen now in “this” generation, and then the Messiah will return. He started at the beginning of the first generation, and will return at the end of “this” generation. Both generations are in a sense the same generation. How so? Well, the first generation when Yahshua was on the earth was the “preview”  of the movie to come. This generation that is repeating what occurred in the first generation is the final and full blown MAIN FEATURE.

More in the next post, and watch for the videos.

Author: Bob Petry

Student of the Bible since 1953. And am still learning.

10 thoughts on “Just WHAT IS the “Gospel”?”

  1. Been looking into this a bit and it is pretty simple really. If you look at the Merriam-Webster definition of gospel the first thing you will find is that it is an Old-English word, not a German word.

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gospel

    Second if you dig into the words “well” and “message” you will also find some things interesting. Well, when defined as noun basically mean a hole. I assume you don’t think the Greek means “Hole Message”, so let’s move on. As a verb, it means to rise up, this would make it “Rising Message”, doesn’t really fit either. Interestingly, as both an adverb and adjective down toward the bottom there is a “Usage discussion” area that says see “good”. Good is also a synonym for well. So, we can now call it “Good Message”. If we then look at “message” in the dictionary the synonyms are “dispatch” and “communication” and one of the related words is “news”.

    So, in our running through of the words, it appears that “well message” and “good news” are interchangeable without changing the meaning. So if we go back to the Old-English gospel which broken down was ‘god’ or good ‘spell’ or tale we can see if that fits in with “good news” or “well message”. Now I will admit that when I saw tale, I got a bit worried because I thought of only the negative uses of that word. However, in the dictionary the obsolete definition is “discourse” or “talk”. So it would appear that godspell, or gospel as it has been shortened to is synonymous with “good message” or “well news” or “good news”. They are all basically interchangeable words that have similar meanings.

    1. Dave, glad the article has gained your interest.

      You mention some things in your checking that might need some re-looking.
      First, the Old English comment. Did you read where it said the OE word came direct from the German? Yes, it is an OE word, but sourced from the German word. OE had many German sources in it.

      Secondly, you are looking for the English definition of “well” and coming up with the hole in the ground idea. Try looking up the Greek word. That word is NOT talking about a well. There is no connection whatsoever of eu- with a hole in the ground called a well where one gets water. It is talking about wellness, as in health. eu- is a prefix put at the front of words to give them a proper meaning. For example, the Greek word “euangelion” is “eu-” and “angelion.” The prefix “eu-” says “WELLness” and “angelion” says “message.” It is the same word used for “messenger” or “angel.” An angel brings a message.

      Therefore, the word “gospel” does not fit the Greek word in translation. There is a difference between “good” and “well”, and that difference has a great deal to do with what the Evangel really is. One may say that “to heal someone of their sins” is a “good” message, or “good news” and it is. But, that is definitely not the definition of the Greek word itself. Even the word itself says, by definition, it is a message of healing, or WELLness. Good news does not convey that. Evangel does convey the correct meaning.

      In a sense, if one were to be really technical here, there is no such thing as a “gospel” taught in the Bible. Although the message is good news, that is not the message. It is not a message about good news, it is a message about health, healing, wellness in all matters.

      One can say the “gospel” is good news because it includes healing, but that is coming in the back door trying to justify a wrong word in the first place. It is not a “gospel/good news” that partly includes health/healing/wellness. No, the whole message is health/healing/wellness, in other words the eua[n]ggelion, or Evangel. An Evangel is not a gospel. And, the health/healing/wellness is the cleansing one of sin, and sinfulness, along with the entire universe when it is made new.

      1. I agree Bob. Also, it’s interesting to note the false teaching of the lake of fire and brimstone as it relates to this topic of cleansing. I know Dave H. may have some thoughts about this and other facets of “hell.”

        PS-How many Dave’s can we get on here?

  2. This is an interesting article. I think one thing may be overlooked. As I have always understood it, the ‘Good News’ is that Christ is the way to be ‘healed’ from your sinful nature, I believe you called it HCS. Where I agree that there have been many that have hijacked the ‘good news’ to mean worldly prosperity, I don’t believe this is the central message given in good theologically sound institutions.

  3. Been looking into this a bit and it is pretty simple really. If you look at the Merriam-Webster definition of gospel the first thing you will find is that it is an Old-English word, not a German word.

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gospel

    Second if you dig into the words "well" and "message" you will also find some things interesting. Well, when defined as noun basically mean a hole. I assume you don't think the Greek means "Hole Message", so let's move on. As a verb, it means to rise up, this would make it "Rising Message", doesn't really fit either. Interestingly, as both an adverb and adjective down toward the bottom there is a "Usage discussion" area that says see "good". Good is also a synonym for well. So, we can now call it "Good Message". If we then look at "message" in the dictionary the synonyms are "dispatch" and "communication" and one of the related words is "news".

    So, in our running through of the words, it appears that "well message" and "good news" are interchangeable without changing the meaning. So if we go back to the Old-English gospel which broken down was 'god' or good 'spell' or tale we can see if that fits in with "good news" or "well message". Now I will admit that when I saw tale, I got a bit worried because I thought of only the negative uses of that word. However, in the dictionary the obsolete definition is "discourse" or "talk". So it would appear that godspell, or gospel as it has been shortened to is synonymous with "good message" or "well news" or "good news". They are all basically interchangeable words that have similar meanings.

    1. Dave, glad the article has gained your interest.

      You mention some things in your checking that might need some re-looking.

      First, the Old English comment. Did you read where it said the OE word came direct from the German? Yes, it is an OE word, but sourced from the German word. OE had many German sources in it.

      Secondly, you are looking for the English definition of "well" and coming up with the hole in the ground idea. Try looking up the Greek word. That word is NOT talking about a well. There is no connection whatsoever of eu- with a hole in the ground called a well where one gets water. It is talking about wellness, as in health. eu- is a prefix put at the front of words to give them a proper meaning. For example, the Greek word "euangelion" is "eu-" and "angelion." The prefix "eu-" says "WELLness" and "angelion" says "message." It is the same word used for "messenger" or "angel." An angel brings a message.

      Therefore, the word "gospel" does not fit the Greek word in translation. There is a difference between "good" and "well", and that difference has a great deal to do with what the Evangel really is. One may say that "to heal someone of their sins" is a "good" message, or "good news" and it is. But, that is definitely not the definition of the Greek word itself. Even the word itself says, by definition, it is a message of healing, or WELLness. Good news does not convey that. Evangel does convey the correct meaning.

      In a sense, if one were to be really technical here, there is no such thing as a "gospel" taught in the Bible. Although the message is good news, that is not the message. It is not a message about good news, it is a message about health, healing, wellness in all matters.

      One can say the "gospel" is good news because it includes healing, but that is coming in the back door trying to justify a wrong word in the first place. It is not a "gospel/good news" that partly includes health/healing/wellness. No, the whole message is health/healing/wellness, in other words the eua[n]ggelion, or Evangel. An Evangel is not a gospel. And, the health/healing/wellness is the cleansing one of sin, and sinfulness, along with the entire universe when it is made new.

      1. I agree Bob. Also, it's interesting to note the false teaching of the lake of fire and brimstone as it relates to this topic of cleansing. I know Dave H. may have some thoughts about this and other facets of "hell."

        PS-How many Dave's can we get on here?

  4. This is an interesting article. I think one thing may be overlooked. As I have always understood it, the 'Good News' is that Christ is the way to be 'healed' from your sinful nature, I believe you called it HCS. Where I agree that there have been many that have hijacked the 'good news' to mean worldly prosperity, I don't believe this is the central message given in good theologically sound institutions.

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