What is the Good News?

Is there a different meaning when Jesus mentions it and when Paul does?


I'll clarify my question. Jesus mentions the Good News (or "gospel" in some translations) in Mark 1:15:

And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

It seems that His gospel is that "the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand." Does that relate to the time of His laying down His life for the sin of men, as the term "gospel" is understood after His death, or does the term have another meaning in Jesus' mouth?

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The "Good News" in the Bible refers specifically to the Gospel of salvation. Simply that.

As you stated, it is sometimes translated as "gospel". This is because, the Greek word it came from, can be translated as "good news", "glad tidings", or "gospel", etc.

(from Koine Greek euangélion — also translated as "gospel", "glad tidings" and variants

  • 2
    some citations would make me want to +1 this even faster ;) – James Mertz Aug 31 '11 at 7:29

I do not think Good News was a new term when Jesus used it. He uses it first quoting prophet Isaiah 61:1.

In Old Testament Isaiah uses it four times in the same sense as Jesus used in Gospels. ( Ref Is 41:27, Is 52:7, Is 61:1, Nahum 1:15) Jesus talks Good News as something the world changing concept, some thing which will be a good news for entire humanity, one entire humanity waited for and now arrived as Kingdom of God.

Luke in Acts uses it in same sense. Same way Paul really quotes from the same prophets when he uses this word in Romans 10:15 and Romans 10:16. Another reference I could see while looking at NIV as source version is using the term in general sense of a good news (1 Thessalonians 3:6).

Author of Hebrews (many believe this is Paul himself) also uses the term Good News in same sense as Jesus used. (Hebrews 4:2 and Hebrews 4:6). So I do not see a conflict in meaning when Jesus uses it and when Paul uses it.


I have been told that the sense of the word "gospel" or "glad tidings" in the original is a message from the king or emperor that he has won victory over the enemies of the state, all the kingdom is now under his control, he is safely seated upon his throne, he has an heir to ensure a safe transition of the monarchy, and so on. The people were required to hear this message, and to hear it as good news indeed. Those who didn't were obviously regarded as seditious.

From Jesus's mouth, this news would be that the King has finally come to your province of His (Earth, and Judea specifically) to conquer the enemy (not Rome, but even Satan and death itself), so pledge your allegiance back to the King (repent and be baptized) if you have defected. After Christ's victory, the Good News would refer to all of the above: death is by death overcome, and Satan bound, all by Christ; all power in heaven and earth is under Christ's control; he is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven; He is the eternal Heir of the Father; and so on. We too are required to hear this message, and to hear it as good news.

In fact, Christ went so far in this analogy as to enter Jerusalem on a colt. This was (I have been told) traditional entrance for a conqueror. I am no scholar, though, so I can't verify this.


In Mark, "the time" being reference is a period of time.

From Marvin R. Vincent's study of Mark 1:

The time (ὁ καιρὸς)

That is, the period completed by the setting up of Messiah's kingdom. Compare the fulness of the time, Galatians 4:4.

Also, if you compare your translation to other translations you can see that "at hand" is also often translated as "is near", meaning it has not yet arrived, but is coming soon.

Paul seems to define the Good News as "What God promised our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus." In Mark, Jesus could be referring to his resurrection and rising to Heaven which will be happening in the near future, and not necessarily his birth and initial time on Earth.

I like Acts 13:32-35 for a definition of the Good News by Paul. Here he is actually referencing Psalms and Isaiah.

Acts 13:32-35 (NIV) (Paul speaking)

32 "We tell you the good news: What God promised our ancestors 33 he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm:

"'You are my son; today I have become your father.'

34 God raised him from the dead so that he will never be subject to decay. As God has said,

"'I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.'

35 So it is also stated elsewhere:

"'You will not let your holy one see decay.'

Acts 13:38-39 tells how through Jesus we are forgiven and freed from sin.

Acts 13:38-39 (NIV)

38 “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.

  • Yes, that is the definition according to Paul, after Jesus' death and resurrection. My question is about whether it might differ from what Jesus meant (in Mark 1:15 for example). – ℝaphink Aug 24 '11 at 13:58

The Good News

As stated by the Catechism of the Catholic Church is as Fallows:

The Good News: God has sent his only Son

422 'But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.'1 This is 'the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God':'2 God has visited his people. He has fulfilled the promise he made to Abraham and his descendants. He acted far beyond all expectation - he has sent his own 'beloved Son'.

It is easy to suggest that Christ came to die for us, he did not, this was a unfortunate situation made necessary by our sins. The fact that Christ sacrifice was predestined and unavoidable because of our making it so does not change the fact that Christ having to die was on us, not him. Christ came not to die for us, but to give himself to us fully as he did. Although his sacrifice on teh cross was our Redemption and his reserection our Justification, these things are the ways the Good News which was the Incarnation carried out his mission. Surely it is not Good News that we (Yes, you and I) made his sacrifice necessary.

Again from the CCC

425 The transmission of the Christian faith consists primarily in proclaiming Jesus Christ in order to lead others to faith in him. From the beginning, the first disciples burned with the desire to proclaim Christ: "We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard."'11 It And they invite people of every era to enter into the joy of their communion with Christ:

Then the wisdom of the Church, quoting 1 John in the same section of the CCC.

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life - the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us- that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing this that our joy may be complete. (1 Jn 1:1-4)

This is the Gospel. The Incarnation, God amoung us. When you consider how the Creator of the Cosmos took on human flesh, humbling himself to be a helpless infant in the hands of a human woman, saved by her! Yes, protected and saved by Mary and Joseph together from the hands of Harod and other trials of this vail of tears, humbled all the way to death and then at the end, when Christ could not humble himself any more in our eyes. Testing our faith and understanding of how amazing our God is, he became at the hands of our Priests, that which was once formally and now resembles Bread and Wine.

God with us Still.

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