Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Wednesday 04 August |
Saint of the Day: St. John Vianney
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

What does the word “gospel” mean?

GOSPEL

Pascal Deloche | GoDong

Philip Kosloski - published on 07/03/20

The word "gospel" comes from the Greek "euangelion" and referred to a messenger bringing "good tidings" or "good news."

One of the most well-known terms from Christianity is the word “gospel,” but what does it actually mean? What does “gospel” refer to?

While it is true that gospel can be loosely defined as “good news,” it also has a rich history behind it.


TETRAMORPHOS

Read more:
Ox, eagle, lion, man: Why and how are the Evangelists associated with these creatures?

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia“[The English word gospel] is very likely derived from the Anglo-Saxon god (good) and spell (to tell), and is generally treated as the exact equivalent of the Greek euangelion (eu well, aggello, I bear a message), and the Latin Evangelium, which has passed into French, German, Italian, and other modern languages. The Greek euangelion originally signified the ‘reward of good tidings’ given to the messenger, and subsequently ‘good tidings.'”

This meaning is confirmed by 19th-century scholar Frederic William Farrar in his commentary on the Gospel of Luke.

The word Gospel is the Saxon translation of the Greek Euangelion. In early Greek (e.g. in Homer) this word meant the reward given to one who brought good tidings…In later Greek, as in Plutarch and Lucian, euangelion meant the good news actually delivered. Among all Greek-speaking Christians the word was naturally adopted to describe the best and gladdest tidings ever delivered to the human race, the good news of the Kingdom of God.

The Greek word euangelion is even used in the Gospel of Luke when describing the “glad tidings” given to the shepherds that Jesus, the Messiah, was born (cf. Luke 4:18).

Subsequently, “gospel” refers to the “good news” of the incarnation. Most commonly it is used to designate the four “gospels” of the New Testament, within which the story of Jesus is related.

Above all else, it is meant to refer to the truly “good news” that the gospel of Jesus Christ gives to us and should be a source of great joy.


THE FOUR EVANGELISTS

Read more:
Who wrote the four Gospels?

Tags:
BibleCatechism
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
Saint Mary of the Angels
Bret Thoman, OFS
All your sins will be forgiven if you go to a Franciscan church o...
2
Ignacio María Doñoro
Francisco Veneto
The military chaplain who pretended to be a criminal to rescue a ...
3
CARLO ACUTIS
Violeta Tejera
Carlo Acutis’ first stained glass window in jeans and sneak...
4
JEDZENIE
Theresa Civantos Barber
The one thing we all should do before this summer ends
5
Philip Kosloski
Most priests can’t absolve these sins
6
ANTENUCCI
Ary Waldir Ramos Diaz
1st Feast of Our Lady of Silence is August 1
7
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.