What is “the Gospel?” The word comes from the Greek word εὐαγγέλιον. The word Gospel means “’news that makes one happy’ or ‘information that causes one joy’ or ‘words that bring smiles’ or ‘a message that causes the heart to be sweet.’ In a nutshell, the word Gospel just means “good news.” The Gospel is a particular kind of good news. The Gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ for sinful man. The Apostle Paul helps us understand what exactly the Gospel is. In his letter to the Corinthian Church the apostle wrote,
“15 Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel I preached to
you, which you received, on which you have taken your stand 2 and by which you are
being saved, if you hold to the message I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
3 For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our
sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day
according to the Scriptures”
The Gospel includes three very important elements. First, the Gospel teaches that Christ died for our sins. Modern day culture seems to preach that humans (at their core) are good people. Since humanity is “good” it doesn’t really matter what they believe because their “goodness” will outweigh any theological dogma. The Bible does not teach this but instead teaches that humans are sinners (Romans 3:23) who deserve judgement (Romans 6:23) and who can only be saved through a saving relationship with Jesus Christ (John 14:6)
The Gospel is good news because Jesus Christ died for us even while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). Jesus, God in flesh, came to this earth to die as a substitute for our sins. It was Christ who took our judgement upon himself. We deserve death and Hell because of our sins but it was Christ who went through death and hell to save us from our sins.
Second, the Gospel includes the fact that Jesus was buried. Often times we miss this in our gospel presentations but Paul seemed to indicate that this was a very important part of the Gospel. What does it mean that Jesus was buried? It means that he really did die! Jesus did not go into a comma or removed himself from the cross. His death indicates a complete payment for our sins. Our sins were not partially paid but totally paid through the death of Jesus Christ.
Third, the Gospel is good news because Jesus rose from the grave! If Christ did not rise from the dead then there would be no good news. It was his death, burial, and resurrection that demonstrated that he paid for our sins and that God the Father raised him back to life. The living Jesus stands ready to give life and forgiveness to the sinner who repents and believes.
Go back and look at Paul’s definition of the Gospel. In 1 Corinthians 15:1 (before he gives his definition of the Gospel) he remids the Corinthians that this was the Gospel that they had “received.” When a person is presented with the Gospel of Jesus Christ they must make a decision. Will they “receive” the Gospel or will they “reject” the Gospel? The Gospel is good news for all people but truly does not take root unless a person repents of their sins and receives the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Below is a short acronym to help you remember what the Gospel is. As you read through this acronym ask yourself if you have received these truths.
G — God loves us and created us in His own image to have a relationship with Him.
“So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female Ge 1:27.
O— Our sin (the wrong things we do, think, and say) separate us from God.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.Ro 3:23
S— Sin, like a stain, is not removed by good deeds we do, or churches we join, or rituals we undergo.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord Ro 6:23.
“For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s
gift—9 not from works, so that no one can boast”, Eph 2:8–9.
P— Paying the price for our sin Jesus died, as our substitute, on the cross, was buried, and raised back to life from the dead.
“But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us Ro 5:8.
“For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he
might bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the Spirit,
1 Pe 3:18.
E— Every person who willfully turns from their sin and trusts in Jesus as their Savior and Lord will be saved.
“If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God
raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in
righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. Ro 10:9–10.
L— Life begins the moment we trust in Jesus as our Savior and Lord and lasts forever.
“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” Ro 10:13.
 Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 412.
 The G.O.S.P.E.L. is a variation for the Dare2Share’s “Life in Six words” and is used by permission for the Kentucky Baptist Convention for the Gospel to Every Home intiative.