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The title almost says it all:

  • What's the difference between the Gospel and the Bible? Does one contain the other or what?

  • What does each one include?

  • Where did each one come from (or who authored each, if possible)?

Please forgive my ignorance; if the question is encyclopedic then answering the first item is enough.

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First, the Bible is the entire collection of Jewish scripture (known by Christians as the "Old Testament") and Christian scripture (which also includes the "New Testament") as recognized by modern Christian groups. Most Christian groups recognize 66 "books" (or individual pieces of literature) as their Bible. Some Christian groups add additional "books". See the Wikipedia entry for Bible for a more in-depth look of what is contained within the Bible, and how various groups have different definitions.

Now, moving on to the term "Gospel." The term "Gospel" has two meanings within Christianity.

  1. One of the books of the Bible which tells the story of Jesus' life. The four gospels are Gospels of (or according to) Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. In this sense, the term "Gospel" serves to designate these four books (and some groups include additional gospels) as distinct from the other types of books contained in the Bible.

    In this sense, the Gospels (plural) are part of the Bible.

  2. "The Gospel" also means simply "The Good News." So when someone says "Jesus preached the Gospel," they don't mean "Jesus told the story of his life," but they mean "Jesus preached the Good News." That "Good News" is essentially that God forgives sins. It can also be considered the entire story of the Bible, including the details of man's rebellion against God, and God's desire and attempt to redeem man.

    In this sense, the Gospel (singular) is either:

    • specifically, the message that Jesus came to redeem man.
    • generally, the entire message of the Bible. In this sense, The Bible is to "The Gospel" as Moby-Dick is to "the story of Captain Ahab's quest for the White Whale." That is, the former is the title of the book, and the latter is a description of the story the book tells.
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From an Evangelical perspective, "The Gospel" means "The Good News". The news, specifically that even though we are sinners, hopelessly separated from God, unable to save ourselves, Christ dies for us, to pay the penalty for our sins.

It is the good news that is revealed to us in the Bible. The Bible is the collection of 66 books (Genesis-Revelations), written over a long period, by different authors, from different backgrounds, yet revealing one unified message, and the Gospel is the message they tell.

I suppose a good analogy would be in standard literature, you have the book (the Bible) and you have the plot (the Gospel).

To muddy the waters, the first four books of the New Testament are called "the Gospels". Each is an account of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ told from the perspective of one of the disciples, who knew Him personally. (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John)

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"and the Gospel is the message they tell." are you certain of this sentence? it makes me so confused. What I understood (if I omit this sentence) is that a gospel is the story of the life of Christ, and the Bible is everything that we understand from it or so, isn't that right? – Tamer Shlash Aug 11 '12 at 3:43
Yes. There's a distinction, at least from an Evangelical understanding between a gospel (one of the four) and the Gospel (the good news message). It's the same root English word with two distinct meanings. Christianity has another with the word "spirit" in which a spirit can mean "a living thing" or "an attitude", etc, but The Spirit always refers to the Holy Spirit - one of the three aspects of God in the Trinity. – David Aug 11 '12 at 3:59
A gospel is the telling of Christ's life. The Gospel is the message. – David Aug 11 '12 at 5:11
Can you provide a reference for your statement that Luke "knew [Jesus] personally?" Calvin, Henry, Clarke -- and many more -- all taught otherwise. See Luke 1:1-4. But maybe you mean "knew" in a "spiritual" sense. – Philip Schaff Aug 13 '12 at 1:10
Is that really relevant to this particular question/answer? I really don't want to go off an a side issue if it's not something that is relevant to the question, which is about the distinction of the Bible and the Gospel, not the authorship of one of the gospels. – David Aug 13 '12 at 1:28

The Gospel starts at Genesis and ends at Revelation. The bible is dispensational. This is the key to understanding it. God's, word shows us in the shadow of things. (Types and shadows) our need for a Savior. Jesus Christ is mentioned in the first chapter of Genesis, his coming is also foretold in Genesis 3, God's children are the seed of Abraham. The bible in each story points to Jesus. Then as Isaiah the greatest prophet foretells the coming of Jesus through the last of the greatest prophets "John the Baptist" and how John would clear the way for Jesus and the new covenant. "Behold the Kingdom of heaven is at hand" Many of the prophets foretell of Jesus Christ over 300 times in the Old testament. So even though the "words and life" of Jesus is considered the Gospel of Jesus. it can be said that the entire cannon of scripture is indeed "the good news" The apostle Paul is referred to as "The minister of grace". Paul's letters are instrumental to bringing a clear understanding that distinguishes the new covenant from the Old Covenant that Moses received for the nation of Israel. Peter, James perhaps even Helena also wrote a portions of the new testament as well.

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Saying the whole thing is the Gospel is pretty far outside of the traditional view. – fredsbend Jan 10 '15 at 15:59
Welcome to the site. We are glad you decided to participate. Please see What this site is about and How this site is different to help you learn how the site works. Also see the help center and take the tour to learn the site functions. I hope to see you post again soon. – fredsbend Jan 10 '15 at 16:00

The Gospel is the good news "We have a new identity in christ which is the sinless man/god". The Bible is simply a package containing: { the gospel<- and ->the reason for the gospel }. (and not in that order)

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Welcome to the site. We are glad you decided to participate. The community here prefers longer answers. Please see Guidelines for writing effective answers and What is a well-sourced, dispassionate answer? After that, please edit this post to make it better. I hope to see you post again soon. – fredsbend Oct 9 '14 at 19:41

protected by David Jan 10 '15 at 13:52

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