Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Gospel 25

On Jesus Creed blog we do a Bible study M-Th and our current series is on the meaning of the word “gospel.” We looked at how the term is used in two Old Testament texts, then at how it is used in the Gospels, and this is our last series on how it is used in the book of Acts. We turn to Paul tomorrow. Acts 20:

17 From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders
of the church. 18 When they arrived, he said to them: “You know how I
lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the
province of Asia. 19 I served the Lord with great humility and with
tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews. 20 You
know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful
to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. 21 I have
declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in
repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.


22 “And now,
compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will
happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit
warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I
consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and
complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to
the gospel of God’s grace.

25 “Now I know that none of you among
whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. 26
Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of
all men. 27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will
of God. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the
Holy Spirit has made you overseers. [fn1] Be shepherds of the church of
God, [fn2] which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I
leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the
flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the
truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your
guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of
you night and day with tears.


First, Paul embodied his gospeling by the way he lived (v. 19).
Paul’s gospeling was a public act of summoning folks to turn to God by
repenting from sin and by faith in the Lord Jesus (v. 21): and this
summons was for all — Jews and Greeks.
Third, Paul’s life was at stake in gospeling — but he trusted in God’s Spirit for guidance (vv. 22-24).
Fourth, Paul’s gospel was about the “grace of God” (v. 24).
Paul sums up his gospeling in the word “kingdom” (v. 25) and that means
all of the above and some details that follow are about “kingdom” —
that is, repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus and grace and the blood
of Christ and the whole will of God.

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posted November 3, 2008 at 6:22 am

Good stuff as always.

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posted November 3, 2008 at 6:24 am

Good stuff as always. My first comment here didn’t show up?

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posted November 3, 2008 at 6:25 am

Or just something of a delay?

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posted November 3, 2008 at 7:51 am

Great start to your move.
As you pointed out, so many elements of the gospel are found in this passage.
v. 27, “For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.”
Some versions also use “whole purpose of God”, or “whole counsel of God”.
Is the “will”, “purpose”, “counsel” of God more, less, or different than “the gospel”?
If it is referring to the gospel, does it not then stress the importance of covering the full (all aspects) gospel?

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Scot McKnight

posted November 3, 2008 at 7:59 am

Thanks for your comment. It would be hard to know with any degree of certainty what Paul means by “whole will of God” without more references to such an expression. But, in context, it appears to be the fullness of the gospel — so that points 2, 4 and 5 need to be factored as dimensions of the “whole will of God.” Calvinists have liked this expression and used it to refer to the deeper (even more difficult to embrace) mysteries of grace. I suspect they are moving in the right direction, even when I disagree with specifics, in seeing at as the full implications of the gospel.

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posted November 3, 2008 at 11:28 am

I’ve always liked this passage, but I’ve never noticed its “gospel” diversity and completeness. It’s an amazing ‘both/and’ passage for the gospel: the preaching of repentance and trust in Jesus, of God’s grace, of kingdom, of the whole will/purpose of God, of the life and death (blood) importance, Paul’s own actions, etc. I love that Paul is clearly thinking of all these as different aspects to the same “gospel.” Great passage for understanding “gospel.”

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