- the teachings of Jesus and the apostles; the Christian revelation.
- the story of Christ’s life and teachings, especially as contained in the first four books of the New Testament, namely Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
- (usually initial capital letter) any of these four books.
- something regarded as true and implicitly believed: to take his report for gospel.
- a doctrine regarded as of prime importance: political gospel.
- glad tidings, especially concerning salvation and the kingdom of God as announced to the world by Christ.
- (often initial capital letter) Ecclesiastical. anextract from one of the four Gospels, forming part of the Eucharistic service in certain churches.
- gospel music.
- of, relating to, or proclaiming the gospel or its teachings: a gospel preacher.
- in accordance with the gospel; evangelical.
- of or relating to gospel music: a gospel singer.
Origin: before 950; Middle English go(d)spell, Old English gōdspell (see good, spell2); translation of Greek euangélion good news; see evangel1
As you can see, depending upon whether the word is singular, plural, or different context, the meaning of the term seems to vary.
The term by itself means as you see in the origins section – good news. The good news of the Scriptures would be the first 4 books of the New Testament (NT) which include Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Each of these books is named after their writers. Each tells the story of Christ. Matthew and Mark are the most alike. Luke has much in common with the first two, but it includes the perspective of a physician as Luke was what we call today a doctor.
These first 3 books of the Gospels are often called the Synoptic Gospels because of their commonalities.
John is unique. This becomes immediately obvious upon reading just the first few verses of John 1. You see an immediate emphasis on the deity of Christ and this continues throughout the book. As such, the story of Christ as God is what you read in John resulting in not all of the same events as in the first 3 being told.
Theology is commonly defined as the study of God.
[mid-14c., “the science of religion, study of God and his relationship to humanity,” from Old French theologie “philosophical study of Christian doctrine; Scripture” (14c.), from Latin theologia, from Greek theologia “an account of the gods,” from theologos “one discoursing on the gods,” from theos “god” (from PIE root *dhes-, forming words for religious concepts) + -logos “treating of” (see -logy). Meaning “a particular system of theology” is from 1660s.] https://www.etymonline.com/word/theology
Why do we (particularly as Christians) study God?
- We study Him to approve ourselves to God (2 Timothy 2:15). This includes coming to know more about God. This action reflects a valuing of Him in our lives and is another way we bring God glory.
- We study God to stand for our faith. We cannot live our faith or even point others to it without first studying to understand Him and the basis of our faith more. We study to become more transformed into the likeness of His son, Jesus Christ.
- We study for the ultimate reason – to point others to God. This is all the more clear when reading in the Gospels, the Great Commission. (Matthew 28:16-20) It is God’s intent to spread His truth to those who would follow Him.
Some writers of the faith may add more to this list, but to me, this is a good start as many of the things we will be looking at going forward (including the follow-up to this post) will effectively be looking at subcategories within the realm of theology.
(Click here to continue to part 2)
Note: this is the first in a series – “-ologies & Key Terms“. The first post was broken into two pieces – the first laying the groundwork and the next digging a little deeper into a key question regarding division.
In addition: I covet your prayers as I continue forward with this blog and other ministry opportunities. Thank you!