The Difference Between The Gospel and Bible

The Difference Between The Gospel and Bible

When you first start reading the Bible on your own, it can be incredibly confusing. You don’t know where to start, what to read, or what the Bible includes. 

The Bible is one book, but there are multiple books within the Bible. In total, there are 66 books in the Bible, and 1,189 chapters. That’s a huge book, and understandably a bit confusing and overwhelming. After attending church for a few months, I remember trying to figure out the Bible. I decided to start on the first page, but I didn’t make it very far before I was feeling lost and confused.

Thankfully, I had other people around me who could answer my questions as a new Christian.

One of my questions was: what is the Gospel?

We hear that word a lot in church, but it can be confusing.

Is the gospel the Bible? Is the Bible the gospel? I thought gospel was a type of music?

Hopefully this article can answer some of those questions.

What does “The Gospel” mean?

The term “Gospel” has two meanings in Christianity:

  1. First, the Gospel or Gospels are the books in the Bible that tell us about the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The four gospels are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. In this sense, the term “Gospel” is used to designate these four books as distinct from the other books in the Bible. Based on this definition, the Gospels are one part of the Bible.
  2. The Gospel also means “The Good News.” This is why someone might tell you Jesus preached the Gospel, or someone shared the Gospel with them. They’re talking about the Good News. That “Good News” is that God forgives sins and has conquered death. The term originated in Rome. The “Good News” was an announcement of victory that soldiers would proclaim when they returned from a battle.

The first definition is used to talk about four specific books within the Bible. The second definition is referring to the overall message that we read about throughout the entire Bible, including the details of man’s rebellion against God, and God’s desire and attempt to redeem man.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Luke 4:18-19 NKJV

So, the Bible is primarily focused on sharing the Good News or Gospel, but there is more stuff within the Bible that isn’t necessarily the Gospel. For example, the Proverbs are full of wisdom that’s helpful for running a business and having healthy relationships with people. That’s good and valuable, but I wouldn’t call that the Gospel. 

The four books in the Bible called the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are the beginning of the New Testament. Reading these books is commonly the recommended starting point for new Christians. The four books share the same story of Jesus’ life and ministry. Each of them brings a different perspective, and includes different stories. 

Someone told me the four gospels are like four men describing an elephant while they’re blindfolded.

The Old Testament takes place hundreds of years before Jesus came to earth. But, it still contains prophecies and promises of the Gospel or Good News that God will redeem humanity and offer us a path to forgiveness and right standing with Him.

If you want to get started reading the Bible, I recommend starting with the New Testament. The entire Bible is valuable, but the New Testament is usually easier to understand and apply to your life.

I’ve created a 30-day New Testament reading plan that I recommend to new Christians, or people less familiar with the Bible. The 30-day plan takes ~30 minutes to read each day.  Of course, you can take however long you need to read—I’ll never know if it takes you 100 days to complete.

30-Day NT Reading Plan
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