Barry Newman's Blog

July 13, 2012

The Gospel and its Proclamation (part XIX)

Filed under: Proclaiming the gospel,The Gospel — barrynewman @ 10:13 pm

The proclaimers as messengers

What is clear both within the New Testament and in the Greek literature external to the New Testament is that a messenger (an “aggelos”) proclaims, announces or declares something of moment, something of importance.  And in the Greek literature outside of the New Testament it appears to be always a reference to “good news”.  The same is nearly always true in the New Testament. However, in the case of the New Testament, except say with respect to Timothy bringing the good news of the faith and love of the Thessalonians, it is God’s message that is being proclaimed and it fundamentally concerns his son.  And those who announce it, declare it or proclaim it, do so simply as his messengers.

Again, in case we need reminding, we are not announcing what emanates from us.  We are the messengers.  We are not the message.  We carry it with sincerity, with sobriety, with jubilance and with dignity on behalf of another – the one who sends us, God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Good News”, “Great News”, “Sober News”, “Gospel”?

I have suggested that sometimes “good news” may be better replaced with “great news” or even “sober news”. Why not often replace it with the one word, “gospel”?  There is some sense to that suggestion and many a translation will use the word, “gospel” freely as though it were a technical word.  I have chosen to use it from time to time.  Yet it needs to be recognised that “gospel” is simply an old English word, meaning “good news”.

None the less it seems that, “euaggelion” in the New Testament often seems to carry with it a technical connotation.  It is the content of the message that is being proclaimed and this message is unique.  As the New Testament emphasises, it is “the Good news”.  And it is the dominant use of the definite article alongside of the noun that undoubtedly contributes to its technical character.  Understandably therefore, “the gospel” which now by common usage has taken on technical overtones, conveys what the New Testament sees in some places as, that special that specific message, “the word” that comes from God and is about God (1 Thess 2: 13).

I have chosen largely to use the words, “good news” or “great news” even when dealing with the verb, in order to convey that essentially this message is indeed “good news” or perhaps even better, “great news” and even sometimes “sober news”.  But “the gospel” is a very appropriate rendering, provided we understand what is being conveyed by that term in its varied contexts.  Overall, it is “awesome news” to appeal to a modern idiomatic expression, an expression which captures both the wonderful and the very sober aspects of its nature.

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