What do we mean by “gospel”? This question shapes the current Bible we are discussing on the Jesus Creed blog. We are not offering (right now) a definitive answer but looking at all the major passages and sketching observations. These are the steps we have to take to build a comprehensive understanding of the word “gospel.” We look today at several important passages in Thessalonians.
1 Thessalonians 2:
1 You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure. 2 We
had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but
with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of
strong opposition. 3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4 On
the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the
gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. 5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed-God is our witness. 6 We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else.
As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, 7 but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. 8 We
loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the
gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to
us. 9 Surely
you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day
in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of
God to you. 10 You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. 11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. (See 3:2 as well.)
Another important passage:
1. Paul’s gospel preaching created intense opposition.
2. Paul’s understanding of “gospelers” is that they need to be entrusted by God to carry out this gift, which leads to a direct responsibility to God for the gospel. (Too many people abuse this by not being responsible to churches; too many people also abuse this by not being responsible to the God of the Bible in how they frame their “gospeling.”)
3. Paul’s manner of life made the gospel more compelling. His wasn’t a strike and fly away method; it was a gospel in the context of living out the gospel with others.
Yes, Paul lived before God because he had been entrusted with the gospel but he did not use that entrust-ment as an excuse to be mean-spirited. Instead, Paul’s gospel had a life that backed it up and made it more compelling. Gospeling needs good gospelers.