Gospel: A Focal Point in the Roman Epistle (2)

< Part One

Within the book of Romans, the usage of gospel (euangelion and euangelizo) can be discussed in three major venues: The portrait of the gospel, the procedure of the gospel, and the purpose of the gospel.

The first major venue is the portrait of the gospel. That is, the personality of the gospel is fabricated by its primary characteristics. The portrait of the gospel, then, can be subcategorized into three component parts. The first component part is the quality of the gospel. Paul, for example, begins the letter to the Romans outlining what the gospel is all about.  After matching Jesus, the one who enables grace and obedience by the (euangelion) gospel of God (1:1-5), he later calls it the power of God (1:16).  The gospel is made up of glad tidings and good things (10:15,16). The gospel is about the glad tidings of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (16:25). Paul is concerned about ministering (the good news of) Christ to the Gentiles (15:16). The portrait of the gospel is formed first, then, by the quality of its message; what better message than the saving power of Christ?

The second component part is the owner of the gospel. The gospel, according to Romans, is owned by several people. Paul book-ended his message, giving ownership of the gospel to God (1:1; 15:16). He also calls it the gospel of His Son (1:9). By far, however, Paul most frequently refers to the gospel as his own (1:1; 2:16; 16:25). This is significant because Paul is placing emphasis on quality of ownership. He is saying his gospel is the gospel of truth because it is from God the Father and God the Son. He is not saying he came up with this gospel, but that his gospel holds no error. Therefore, the portrait of the gospel is upheld sufficiently by no better owner than by the one Almighty God.

The third component part is the history of the gospel. Paul’s prominent focus is in two areas: A) on the gospel promised and B) the gospel preached. First, he comments that the gospel was “promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures” (1:2). In addition, the content of 10:15 is especially noteworthy as Paul recites the words of Isaiah who said, “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness” (Isaiah 52:7). Therefore, on one hand, Paul recognized that the gospel had not been fulfilled when Isaiah wrote that passage; on the other hand, he also understands that the gospel was fulfilled in Christ (1:2-3). The promise of the gospel was given, and fulfilled.

Second, Paul not only implies that the gospel was preached in the past (in accordance with evidence above), but also states that the gospel is preached in the present. As a result of having made the decision at one point to preach the gospel (15:20), Paul endeavors to (euangelizo) preach the gospel in the present tense (1:9,15; 15:19). Paul is doing his part to fulfill peace and happiness by preaching the same good news foretold by the inspired prophet. The history of the fulfilled gospel clearly provides an enduring and unchanging piece to the portrait of the gospel. The portrait of the gospel has never altered in form because of how it has been given.

Part Three >

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