Besorah, Good News, Gospel

Paul spoke of “my gospel” and said “I am not ashamed of the gospel.” Yeshua said “the gospel must be proclaimed to all nations.” Peter warned people who were “disobedient to the gospel of God.”

What is the basic concept of the word gospel? Should we think of circus tent revivals and greasy-haired evangelists? Is gospel an un-Jewish word? Could there be a “Jewish gospel”?

I spent an hour this morning reading through a compilation of thoughts about the meaning of besorah (the word in the Hebrew Bible) and evangelion (the word used in the New Testament). The common English translations are good news and gospel.

Scot McKnight has a book coming out called In the Beginning Was the Gospel and the search for the meaning of the word began on his blog in 2008, in a series of posts which were all compiled in February 2009 into one very long post on his blog. If you have some time on your hands and enjoy thorough word studies, you will enjoy reading McKnight’s post here:

To make a very long story short, the meaning of the word gospel ends up being the life, death, resurrection, ascension, exaltation, and return of Yeshua.

This may sound like a humdrum conclusion, but if you’ve been let down somewhere in your past by pop-Christianity, if you’ve been disappointed by shallow religion, a lot of it is due to an insufficient understanding of the word gospel.

The popular understanding of the word gospel is about the benefits of the gospel and not the gospel itself. The gospel has been reduced to a benefits package. In this popular understanding, there is nothing about the gospel to be obeyed. There is no depth. And that is why a little reading on the breadth and depth of the good news is worthwhile. We need a bigger picture.


About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
This entry was posted in Bible, Gospel, messianic, Messianic Jewish, Messianic Judaism, Scot McKnight. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Besorah, Good News, Gospel

  1. drschiffman says:

    I like what you said about people treating the Besorah as if its a benefits package. When you don’t consider the depth of meaning of the Gospel, you won’t get anything out of it.

  2. benicho says:

    Recently I’ve been attending several churches (aside from the Messianic Congregation I attend on Saturdays) to get rooted in and all sermons so far convey a message that preaches the gospel is the good news that the law was abolished so that we could be saved by grace.

  3. benicho:

    Yes, that is sad. There is so much confusion. I don’t believe Christians are bound to the whole Torah (never were required to keep Sabbath, circumcision, dietary law, etc.).

    But this is not what the gospel is about. It is not the message that the law was difficult and thank God grace is now here and we don’t have to keep the law.

    I have no idea why people buy such a theology. When someone says something like this to me, I simply say, “Then why is it wrong to murder?” Their confusion generally prevents them from giving an answer or if they do, they can usually see that they must have something mixed up in their minds.

    Thank you for sharing that and here’s to hoping a lot of pastors will explore the meaning of gospel, the actual view of the apostles about the law, and what being “under the law” really means.

    Derek Leman

  4. waltonbill says:

    You correctly stated that the gospel is good news and specifically that of the life death and victory over death through Christ. But with that is the good news from Genesis that this redeemer from the beginning of sin has come. The gospel is the proof of God’s faithfulness. It is the good news that all his promises have been fulfilled.

    Thank you for blogging about this it has encouraged me today.

  5. jrickardj says:

    This is my first time here, and I really haven’t spent much time on blogs, but a friend of mine was telling me about this site, so here I am. I like what I read about the gospel, it is about Yeshua, but I do want quote Romans 1. Romans 1:1 Paul a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.
    The reason I write this is sometimes God, or the Father gets left out of some writings or messages on the gospel. Yes I know we come to know God through Messiah Yeshua, but this is God’s message, God’s Gospel.

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