If you were to ask most folk what their definition of the Gospel is, it would be something like "The Gospel is the good news about the death and resurrection of Jesus, and the hope of eternal life which it brings". However, that is fine as far as it goes, but it is not the full story.
In the first reference to the Gospel in the New Testament, in Matthew 4. 23 when Jesus himself began his preaching, we read that:
...Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
The Gospel record of Mark says:
Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. (Mark 1:14,15)
So it is interesting to note that Jesus, and the apostles, were preaching the Gospel before Jesus had been crucified and had died, so the Gospel must be concerned with more than the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Most of the references to the preaching of the Gospel refer to "the kingdom of God", so it seems that this is a central feature of the Gospel.
There are in fact quite a few references to the fact that the Gospel had been preached before the time of Jesus. Paul, for example, in introducing himself at the beginning of his letter to the Romans, says:
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord...(Romans 1:1,2)
And did you know that the Gospel was preached to Abraham, who lived about 1500 BC?
And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. (Galatians 3:8,9)
This is a reference to God's promise to Abraham recorded in Genesis 12:1-3, which, it can be seen if we follow the theme through Scripture, is referring to the blessings available to mankind through the forgiveness of sins by the death and resurrection of Jesus.
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