The Importance of the Gospel in the New Teastament

Paul wrote to the Galatians how astonished he was that they so quickly departed from the gospel that they were taught.  Paul wrote to the Corinthian church that he wanted them to only know Christ and him crucified.  Paul praised the church at Philippi for being partners with him in the gospel.  And in what I think is the most obvious lesson of the importance of the gospel, in Mark chp. 1 Jesus preaches his first sermon, telling people to repent and believe the gospel. 

Gal 1:6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

1 Cor. 2:1 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

Phil. 1:3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.

Mark 1:14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

Jesus himself gave the example: the gospel is the most important thing that the world needs to hear.  His earthly ministry was very short, and he had no time to waste.  But in his very first sermon he preached the gospel (Greek for “good news” by the way).  Recall the words of the Great Commission: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”  His first and last words to an audience was the importance of the gospel. 

The Apostle Paul wrote about two-thirds of what we call the New Testament.  It is clear on several occassions that he believed sharing the gospel was the most important use of our time and energy.  I’ve said this before: If I could talk to every preacher, I would say above all else, “Preach the gospel.”  The world needs to hear more than anything else Christians have to say that Jesus saves!  He is the way, the truth and the life.  God doesn’t just judge the world, he provides escape from judgement.  God doesn’t just hand out rules, he provides grace because he knows we will all fail at the rules anyway.  Our God is an awesome God, and the only way to come to him is by believing in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Let’s make that what people see and hear when they listen to Christians or come into our churches, not all the other junk they see and hear and think we are about. 

Be the salt, be the light, let’s cut the crap. 

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10 thoughts on “The Importance of the Gospel in the New Teastament

  1. “…preach the gospel to every creature” is King James. I memorized that verse in like 2nd grade. The ESV says “proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” It’s Mark 16:15.

  2. Welcome back Eshu. I see you are up to playing some of your ridiculous games again.

    Well, a good way to determine what a word means in a piece of literature is to understand what it meant or how it was understood when originally written. So we would need to know what “every creature” or “to the whole creation” meant to the original hearers/readers of these words. I’m a student of church history, though by no means an expert. I know of no instance where any early christians ever baptized dogs, gave the Lord’s Supper to cats, preached to bunnies or taught their parrots to pray the Lord’s Prayer.

    So let’s consider 3 possibilities here:

    1. Mark’s gospel commands christians to preach the gospel to the animal kingdom (and I guess the plant kingdom also) and early christians knew this but were all deliberately disobedient to the command.

    2. Mark’s gospel commands this, and early christians didn’t do it because they misunderstood it, thinking it only meant humans.

    3. They understood “every creature” to mean only all humans because that is what Mark’s gospel intended. In other words they were correct in their interpretation.

    I think hardly needs debating that #1 is extremely unlikely. I don’t see anyone seriously saying that all the early christians deliberately disobeyed a command of Jesus in the gospels.

    So we have to ask ourselves is it likely that Mark records a command of Jesus that every christian misunderstood. Remember the early christians didn’t agree on everything, there were many disputes over doctrine, worship and church practices. But, at least as far as I can tell, no one believed the gospel should be preached to plants or animals.

    Obviously I believe #3 is correct.

  3. lonelypilgrim,

    Thanks for your thorough answer. I expect that you are correct in believing 3 and that the original author did not intend the gospel to be preached to animals.

    I apologise if my original question came across as facetious. However, I feel it raises an important point. If we can all safely assume that 3 is the correct interpretation, how did we end up with that English wording in the gospel should be preached “to all creatures”? Do we have any biblical or non-biblical evidence that “creatures” meant “only humans” at the time?

    If not, then your belief (3) is based not on the Bible, but the actions or early Christians (who must have ignored it or assumed that it couldn’t possibly mean “Preach to animals”) combined with modern common sense.

    If we do have evidence that “creatures” meant “only humans”, then presumably the fact that we ended up with this English wording is the result of naive translation – by people not aware of this evidence. In this case, as you pointed out, it’s fairly obvious which interpretation makes most sense, so the error introduced at some point has no effect (at least I doubt anyone has tried to preach to animals as a result of this). But if errors or misunderstandings like this can creep into the text through the copying or translation process it casts doubt on the accuracy of the rest of the text. In other areas such changes might not be so obvious.

    Your analysis above is well thought-out and seems quite reasonable. Do you apply the same level of scrutiny to all the beliefs you derive from the Bible? When asking whether people at the time took the same interpretation on other matters of doctrine, I imagine the answer may often be, “We don’t know”. In any case, are the actions of early Christians combined with modern common sense an infallible guide to God’s will?

  4. The problem is the English language in general. In the world of capitalism, our country has sort of forced people around the world to use English as the international language of business, so you find people around the globe using it. English is one of the most difficult languages of the world to learn, and is actually a terrible hodge-podge of many sources, all the way back to its Germanic – Old English roots. I make a living communicating in English, but I mean it when I say it’s not the best language to clearly communicte in. On top of the mechanics problems, and duplicate meanings of many words, it’s also abused. We add slang, vernacular, lingo, and just plain make up new words whenever we take a notion. To put it simply, our language is a mess. Try explaining to a high school student from South Korea the difference between to, two and too. Or perhaps their, they’re and there. I don’t envy ESL teachers (English as a Second Language). Consider this: you can learn Spanish in two years. Our kids study English for 13 years, graduate, and still can’t speak it correctly.

    The problem translating the scriptures into English isn’t in the translating; it’s in the English. Mark knew exactly what he meant, and so did his readers.

  5. You can learn more about me by clicking the “about” tab at the top of this page. It is divided between “about me” and “about this website.” You can learn more about the Bible by following this blog, clicking any of the links under “resources” on the right-hand sibebar, or most of importantly of all reading the Bible.

  6. there is no room for interpertation .to me means no one can tell you what you read and it means to you i think it means treat them all as christians but if you beleve it means to speak to them god will let them understand and i think it says not shure nit inantimate objects

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