Thursday, August 21, 2008

Historical Meaning of "Gospel"

Below is an excerpt from theoBlogian's blog post Progress on the Gospel that gives an understanding of how the Greek word for "gospel" was used at the time Jesus and the Apostles were alive. Sure makes sense in light of Mark 1:14-15 in which Jesus equated the gospel with believing that the kingdom of God was at hand. Here are the verses:
Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”. (NKJV)
From theoBlogian:
The word “gospel” has always meant “good news.” Today, even in secular conversation, gospel is synonymous with “truth” and “good news.” However, in the first century its connotations were hardly salvific and yet oddly religious. In those days, when a new Caesar or ruler came to power, he would send his proclaimers throughout the region to “preach the gospel.” Their gospel was: “a king sits on the throne.” Or “a new king is in power.” The gospel was also preached when reigning kings conquered regions and brought foreign lands under their rule. Sometimes the messengers preceded elaborate parades and rituals. For the native Roman, the smell of the sacrifices and incense that accompanied the loud proclamation was a sweet smell. For those who were conquered, the incense held only the smell of death and destruction.

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