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Trying to come up with a list of essentials to center a gospel message on. I've seen the "Roman road of salvation" used before, but I am wondering if there are any specific summaries in the Bible I can use to create my own approach.

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    Were we expected to 'come up with a list of essentials' would we not have been provided with such, do you think ? Rather, we are given more than threescore volumes in general and more than two dozen in particular - because that is how much the Lord has to teach us that we might be sound in the faith. Is there any purpose served by minimising the gospel ?
    – Nigel J
    Feb 11 at 8:59
  • However you decide to present the message of God's reconciliation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, I would recommend that the end result effectively uses Paul's approach, as he is our "pattern" (1 Tim 1:16). Paul clarifies that all humanity is born into the sin-nature and therefore guilty before God (Rom 3:9-10). Paul confirms that God still loves the world (Rom 5:6-8), and who Christ is (Col 1:15). He then states the 'good news' (1 Cor 15:1-4), and how one receives salvation (Eph 1:12-13). He reassures the eternal peace found with now being "in Christ" (Eph 4:30, Rom 5:1, Rom 7:24-25). Feb 12 at 16:04
  • @ Rich - Two other common presentations are (1) the Bridge to Life (illustrated by the Navigators org), and (2) The Four Spiritual Laws (written by the Cru org.). They cover the basics of the Gospel (or Kerygma).
    – ray grant
    Feb 24 at 0:46
  • @Rich - But if you "want to come up with your own approach" as you desire, just memorize Romans 3:21-26, and go over it with the seeker you encounter. (See Answer below which shows All the essentials of Christian salvation.)
    – ray grant
    Mar 7 at 21:37

7 Answers 7

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Yes! 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, "Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, vs2, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

Vs3, For I delivered to you as the first imp0rtance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, vs5, that He appeared to Cephas/Peter, then to the twelve."

It should be noted that these text are considered to be a "creed." A Creed is a summary of what the Church teaches, and what Christians together believe, rather than a detailed statement of individual and personal belief.

Also, there are various essential teachings of the Christian faith. 1) The Trinity; There is one God in three persons, with each person possessing all the attributes of deity and personality; 2) The Person of Jesus Christ: Jesus is the unique God-man, possessing full humanity with undiminished deity; 3) The Second Coming; Jesus will one day personally return. 4) Salvation by grace according to Ephesians 2:8-9. 5) Salvation through Jesus Christ alone. 6)The resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Other essentials include "Monotheism" or the Virgin birth. You can look this stuff up yourself but I pretty much covered them.

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  • The extra biblical trinity doctrine not essential
    – Kris
    Feb 12 at 15:22
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    @Kris The eternal relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the fundamental basis of the Gospel. Get that wrong (such as claiming the pre-mortal Jesus was created by Jehovah and is known in heaven as Michael the Archangel) and you get everything about sin and salvation wrong.
    – Lesley
    Feb 24 at 15:04
  • @Lesley. Fundamental since the Creeds were written. But op asks for biblical
    – Kris
    Feb 25 at 13:36
  • @Kris, I know that Jehovah's Witnesses are anti-trinitarian and from many discussions I've had with them, I know they reject any and all biblical arguments in favour of the Trinity. I disagree with them that the Trinity doctrine is extra-biblical. I also disagree with them that there is any biblical basis for claiming the pre-mortal Jesus is the created archangel Michael. However, comments are not the place to pursue this.
    – Lesley
    Feb 25 at 14:45
  • Kris The Trinity is NOT the subject. But I have stated for years now that the Trinity is not a requirement for salvation. It's the RESULT of salvation. You can't know Jesus and somehow miss the fact that he is God. (not a god). You can't have experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit of God (not an active force), and somehow miss He is God. Read Romans 8:9-11. Also, Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." This relationship is akin to being married. I've been married 55 years, I know my wife intimately and she knows me intimately, we are one.
    – Mr. Bond
    Feb 25 at 14:58
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In addition to the 1st Corinthian verses already quoted, here are some from 2nd Corinthians:

"But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto the. For we preach not ourselves, but Jesus Christ the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake." (4:3-5)

"God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them... we pray you in Christ's stead, Be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (5:18-21)

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul warned of the danger they were in of being lured astray by a false gospel, so this helps expose what to look out for:

"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel which is not another, but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed... it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen... Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified... For if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (1:3-9, 15-16 &2:16-21) All. A.V. translations

The danger that Paul warned of, that was luring people away from the gospel of Christ, was how some insisted they had to retain legalism - performing legalistic 'works'. That corruption of the gospel is still at work today - legalism. Watch out for it.

The Gospel of Christ is all about the Christ of the Bible, who was born sinless of the virgin Mary, gave himself a sacrifice to God to reconcile sinners to God, and because he died sinless and death could not hold him, he arose in triumph over the grave, and it is because he lives that his resurrection power flows to believers. He is returning in great glory to usher in the Day of Resurrection and Judgment. That also belongs to the gospel message.

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  • @ Anne - The last paragraph is a good summary of Christianity...but several of those ingredients are not found in the Scriptures quoted. I think the Questioner was seeking "a Summary in the Bible". Is there a passage of Scripture that contains all those ingredients, and also shows how to make them real in a seeker's life? (I enjoy reading your many Answers on S.E.!)
    – ray grant
    Mar 7 at 22:03
  • @raygrant The OP asks for 'scriptures', plural, that give a summary of the gospel. Some were given in other answers, I added 3 more. They were chosen by me as being fairly brief. But serious studying is required to collate ALL verses that show, between them, ALL the 'ingredients' of the gospel. It saddens me that many people today want sound-bite answers that do their homework for them. If the gospel message is treated like that, no satisfying answer will be found as the fulness of the gospel is combined via hundreds of Bible verses. Anything taken away or left out from it corrupts the gospel.
    – Anne
    Mar 8 at 10:49
  • "are there any specific summaries in the Bible?" is what was asked. Romans 3:21-26 is one such summary that is comprehensive and all inclusive of the ingredients of coming to salvation. It showed that one does not have to flip pages in order to present the complete Gospel (Kerygma). Indeed, there probably are other summaries in the N.T. too. Peace! (Acts 2:37-40 could be another such "summary".)
    – ray grant
    Mar 8 at 20:31
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The core teaching of the Gospel, traditionally known as the Kerygma, is probably what you're looking for. It's more of something someone has to internalize and use in evangelization (i.e. it's what you can say when someone asks you what does it mean to be a Christian). It's the central four ideas, that the world was created good, then we fell from grace, Jesus came to redeem us and what is our response.

The wikipedia article on the Kerygma has a number of Biblical references. Most notably is St. Peter's proclamation in Jerusalem on Pentecost referenced in the beginning of Acts.

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  • I've learned something new today. Glad you posted that link.
    – Lesley
    Feb 24 at 15:11
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Gospel (Good news, "ev angelos") is sometimes generalized as the entire message that constitutes the New Testament,as seen in the synonym list found in 1 Timoty 1:5-8 (law = doctrine = gospel). We also see it states very simply in Galatians 3:8 when it tells us that the Gospel was preached to Abraham, and that was in the message that "all nations would be blessed"

One of the best syntheses of the Gospel has already been mentioned, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, speaking of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. There are some other passages that also are summary statements of the message of the Gospel.

Hebrews 6:1-2 mentions six "Fundamental Principles of Christ"

    Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about 
    the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a 
    foundation of (1) repentance from dead works and of (2) faith 
    toward God,(3) of instruction about washings and (4) laying on 
    of hands, and the (5) resurrection of the dead and (6) eternal 
    judgment. (numbers added for emphasis)

As well, another such simple summary is found in 1 Timothy 3:16-17 called the "Mystery of Godliness":

    1 Timothy 3:16 By common confession, great is the mystery of 
    godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in 
    the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, 
    Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.
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    – Community Bot
    Feb 13 at 4:39
  • @Brainardo - Your listing of two more summaries of the Christian Gospel, for use in evangelizing, are good choices! But make sure after you have "them" read them, that you ask them if they have any questions about them. Discussions are much better than preaching at them. Keep studying the Bible; it's great for the soul!
    – ray grant
    Mar 13 at 19:53
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Romans Road? We are aware of the use of the Romans Road where evangelists hop around the chapters to present a full story of salvation. However this is quite unnecessary. The very first verse has a context that supplies all the info necessary!

Now a righteousness from God apart from the Law has been made known, to which the Law and Prophets (Holy Bible) testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in His blood. He did this to demonstrate His justice, because in His forbearance (merciful patience) He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished--He did it to demonstrate His justice at the present time, so as to be just and the One who justifies those who have faith in Jesus! (Romans 3:21-26)

In this passage of Scripture we have the presentation of the essentials of Salvation:

  • Righteousness
  • Holy Bible as the Source
  • Faith in Jesus Christ
  • Believing as necessary
  • All inclusive salvation
  • Sin as a problem
  • Free justification
  • Grace of God
  • Redemption
  • Sacrifice and Atonement
  • Blood of Jesus
  • Merciful patience (forbearance of God)
  • Justice in the universe
  • A Just God!

There is no need to flip pages back and forth in the book of Romans; just read the famous passage, "for all have sinned," in its contextual setting! Romans 3:21-26

Another Summary A summary of the Gospel for salvation that can be used in evangelizing is the block of verses in Romans 10:

This is the word of Faith we are preaching: That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, leading to righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, leading to salvation.
For the Scriptures say, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame." For there is no distinction between the Jew and Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him, for "Whoever calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:8-13)

In this short summary, we have the major doctrines that lead to a certain salvation:

  • Confession with the mouth
  • Believing in the heart
  • The Lordship of Christ
  • The Resurrection of Jesus
  • Righteousness
  • Holy Scriptures as a resource for truth
  • Inclusive salvation for all peoples
  • Abounding "riches" available

Having the seeker read this summary himself is most beneficial. Then ask if there are any questions he may have. This gives an opportunity to explain fully and adequately the way of Salvation, without pressure or intimidation.

Deep in the heart of many people is the question about going to heaven when we die. So most are open to a non-offensive dialog that's based on an objective source: the Bible--not me or you, or any man, philosopher or guru.

Here again, the evangelist does not have to spend time flipping back and forth from one scripture to another. Just open the Book of Life and share a piece of Bread with the starving soul!

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The Lord's Prayer, if you interpret God's will in its two senses:

  • what God wants to do in us, which I call his super-creative will, namely the creation and growing of a super-natural life - which is a partaking of the divine nature (2 Pe 1:4) - in us, and

  • what God wants us to do (including not to do), his normative will.

This double sense applies also to the Kingdom of God in the NT, for whose advent we ask in the previous petition. Whereas a human kingdom extends over those who do what the king commands them to do, the kingdom of God in the NT extends over (actually into) those who, first of all, allow God to do within them what God wants to do, and then do what God commands them to do.

This summary is in line with the summary by Jesus Himself of the purpose of his coming: "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly" (Jn 10:10), which together with "Now this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent" (Jn 17:3) explains the first place of "hallowed be your Name": the Name in question is "God the Father", and knowing (and thus hallowing) that Name requires knowing the consubstantial Son.

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There can be many formulas or focus of the Gospel message other than the Western "road to salvation" Rom 3:23,6:23 Isa 64:6 which exaggerates the "all are sinners" snippet, and eliminates any natural immunity and also contradict the overall scripture, especially Rom 2. The need to find an alternative could be driven by from the fact that many do not accept a kind of negative picture of sinfulness, especially when they have not committed any. You can create a versatile approach (like Acts 17) that focus the specific need and context of your target or immediate audience, just like any marketing strategy. And focus on a positive message that liberates people from their sickness, suffering, gives them hope, peace, truth, and relationship with God, a message that touches real practical life rather than a mental gnosis or enlightenment mindset of a religion. Search for relevant verses for your key starting points.

  • Luke 4:18-19 ESV “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, ​to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”
  • Exo 15:26 saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, your healer.”
  • Ps 34:8,16-17 ​Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!... The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. ​When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.
  • John 10:9-11 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. ​I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
  • [1John 2:16-17 NRS] for all that is in the world-- the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches-- comes not from the Father but from the world. And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live forever.
  • 1Cor 2:9 But, as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him"

The parables of Jesus is often overlooked though they are very succinct gist of the Gospel message you are looking for, as they are meant to convey the Gospel truth in an analogous way.

Matthew 13:32-36 ESV [32] It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches." [33] He told them another parable. "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened." [34] All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable. [35] This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet: "I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world." [36] Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field."

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