Theological Dictionary word of the day: the Gospels
Books in the new testament referred to as the Gospels:
In Christianity, gospel means "good news". Received opinion holds that the word gospel derives from the Old English god "good", and spell "news", a translation of the Greek word ευαγγέλιον, euangelion (eu good, -angelon message) (from this word comes the term "evangelist"). However, the word corresponding to "good" in Old English had a long vowel, and would normally develop into a MnE *goospel, leading some scholars to hold that the Old English term was not a translation of the Greek "good news," but rather a fresh coinage, "message concerning God."
Gospel has generally been used in three ways:
- To denote the proclamation of God's saving activity in Jesus of Nazareth or to denote the message proclaimed by Jesus of Nazareth. This is the original New Testament usage (for example Mark 1:14-15 or 1 Corinthians 15:1-9, see also Strong's G2098).
- More popularly to refer to the four canonical Gospels, which are attributed to the Four Evangelists: (Gospel of Matthew, Gospel of Mark, Gospel of Luke and Gospel of John); and sometimes other non-canonical works (eg. Gospel of Thomas), that offer a narrative of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
- Some modern scholars have used the term to denote a hypothetical genre of Early Christian literature (cf. Peter Stuhlmacher, ed., Das Evangelium und die Evangelien, Tübingen 1983, also in English: The Gospel and the Gospels).