Our Gospel

Tom Burke

October 2021
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Shortly before his ascension, our Lord Jesus Christ gave one simple, specific command to his disciples: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”1 In the Book of Acts, as well as in other New Testament writings, we see men and women obeying this command and sharing the gospel “in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”2

The word “gospel” literally means “good news.” What was the good news that the disciples were to deliver? It is briefly summarized in 1 Corinthians 15:

1 Corinthians 15:1–4Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.

This is the message that was consistently preached, because this message – and only this message – is the power of God unto salvation, and in it the righteousness that God offers in Christ is revealed.3 In particular, the apostle Paul makes frequent reference to the essential nature of the gospel, for both the saved and unsaved alike.

2 Timothy 2:8Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:

You will note that in the above verse Paul refers to this good news as “my gospel.”4 Why would he do so? The gospel certainly did not originate with him, since we can clearly read that Jesus instructed his followers to preach the gospel long before Saul the Pharisee had become one of them.

One reason, perhaps, is that although the message of salvation was indeed preached before Paul was a follower of Christ, the scope of its meaning was not known until it was revealed to Paul by the risen Christ.5

Galatians 1:11–12 (New International Version)I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin.

I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

However, there is another very simple reason why Paul could lay claim to the gospel in this way: he esteemed it to be more true and more vital than any alternative message, and he embraced it as his only message. Considering Paul’s background and education, he certainly could have expounded on any number of subjects, but instead he chose to make the gospel his only subject.

And Paul was not alone in this determination. Consider what he wrote to the Thessalonians:

2 Thessalonians 2:13–14But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 1:5For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

In both references, while speaking of himself, Silas, and Timothy, Paul clearly specifies that which was preached as “our gospel.”6 He expresses the same truth in 2 Corinthians (again speaking of himself, Silas, and Timothy).7

2 Corinthians 4:1–3Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.

You will note something highly significant about these three individuals who are specifically recorded as spokesmen for “our gospel:” they didn’t simply preach the gospel in their homes or from a familiar lectern. Jesus’ command in Mark 16 was twofold: to preach, but also to go. These men did both.8

In light of this, perhaps it is significant that in speaking of those who preach the gospel, Romans 10 emphasizes the fact that rather than waiting for needy ones to come to them, these messengers went to the place of need. It attributes beauty not to their mouths, but to their feet.

Romans 10:13–15 (New American Standard Version 1977)For “Whoever will call upon the name of the LORD will be saved.”

How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?

And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things!”

Though sent, perhaps not all chose to go. Perhaps not all chose to preach. But some did, and therefore, even to this day, the gospel is being made known and is transforming those who embrace it, carrying them from darkness to light, from death to life. And this is exactly what our Lord prayed for in the final days of his earthly mission.

John 17:15–18 (New International Version)My prayer is not that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one.

They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.

The world still desperately needs this truth, this gospel. Consider the often-heard expression, “No news is good news,” which suggests that any news is bad news. How saddening to think of being so beaten down that I expect any new message will only add to my misery. I was there once, as were you.

I am so thankful that someone went out of their way to speak to me. And I’m so thankful that when they did, they chose to give me not their own thoughts, but the good news. I want to do the same. I want to be able to confidently declare that the gospel is my gospel.


[1] See Mark 16:15.

[2] See Acts 1:8.

[3] See Romans 1:16–17.

[4] See also Romans 2:16 and 16:25.

[5] This full message is often referred to as “the mystery” (or, more accurately, “the secret”) in the epistles of Paul. For more detail on this topic, the reader can refer to the January 2020 Scripturally Speaking article, “My Gospel”.

[6] Paul, Silas, and Timothy were the men who first brought the good news to Thessalonica (see Acts 15:40–16:3 and 17:1–4).

[7] Note that the context of 2 Corinthians 4 begins in 2 Corinthians 1:19.

[8] Some scholars have pointed out that the command to “go” in Mark 16:15 can legitimately be translated “as you go.” Not all Christians have the ability or the calling to take the gospel to far-flung places for extended periods of time, but all of us go somewhere and thus all of us face the same choice.