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For almost two years now, I have been steadily gathering a number of definitions of “the gospel” in an ongoing series entitled “Gospel Definitions.” As far as I know, this is the largest grouping of gospel definitions on the internet today.

This post includes links to dozens of definitions of “the gospel.” I have alphabetized the ones that are by name, and I have separated the ones that come from groups, ministries, and confessions of faith. (See a PDF version of all of them.)

Definitions from Christians in the Past

Gilbert Beebe

F.F. Bruce

Jeremiah Burroughs

W.A. Criswell

C.H. Dodd

Robert A. Guelich

J. Hampton Keathley

George Eldon Ladd

Martin Luther

M.F. Sadler

Richard Sibbes

William Tyndale

Zacharias Ursinus

Definitions from Christians in the Present

Danny Akin

Craig Bartholomew

Alistair Begg

Jim Belcher

Pope Benedict XVI

Michael Bird

John Blanchard

Lorraine Boettner

C.C. Broyles

Robert F. Capon

D.A. Carson

Knox Chamblin

Andy Crouch

Mark Dever

David Dockery

Millard Erickson

Graeme Goldsworthy

Tim Keller

A.B. Luter, Jr.

Rick McKinley

Scot McKnight

Mike Mercer (Chaplain Mike)

Josh Moody

Roger Nicole

J.I. Packer

Darrin Patrick

Michael Patton

John Piper

Jeff Purswell

R.C. Sproul

Ed Stetzer

Sam Storms

Tullian Tchividjian

Derek Thomas

Joe Thorn

Steve Timmis

Allen Wakabayashi

Derek Webb

Michael Wittmer

N.T. Wright

Organizational and Corporate Definitions

Antioch Network

Evangelical Celebration

The Gospel Coalition

Evangelical Dictionary of Theology

Heart Cry

IVP Dictionary of the New Testament

Sovereign Grace Ministries

Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia

Kingdom People Articles on “The Gospel”

The Trinitarian Gospel: Why We Need All Three Parts

The Gospel of God: Personal Atonement or Christ’s Kingdom?

Don’t Replace the Substitute

Gospel Confrontation and Gospel Comfort

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17 thoughts on “Gospel Definitions”

  1. Jason says:

    Great post, but you forgot the Osteen definition of the gospel–that I would like to know! ;-)

  2. Dan says:

    I’m not going to lie…that would be pretty interesting. I can’t imagine I would agree with it, but I would admit to being curious! I’m glad you got all of these in one spot. I’ve enjoyed these posts.

  3. John MacArthur in Ashamed of the Gospel:

    The gospel—in the sense Paul and the apostles employed the word—includes all the revealed truth about Christ (cf Rom. 1:1-6; 1 Cor. 15:3-11). It does not stop at the point of conversion and justification by faith, but embraces every other aspect of salvation, from sanctification to glorification. The gospel’s significance therefore does not end the moment the new birth occurs; it applies to the entire Christian experience. And when Paul and the other New Testament writers spoke of “preaching the gospel,” they were not talking about preaching only to unbelievers (cf v.15).

  4. gary says:

    It’s good that we reflect over and over on what is central to the gospel in terms of the gospel message, but these days I am concerned how many preachers when thinking they are explaining a text of Scripture use the term gospel as a kind of shorthand label.
    It’s as if they are too lazy or unable to exposit the text and revert to “christianised terms” such as “the gospel”.

    Some Preachers need to wake up and explain the text to their hearers so they can truly apply it in the way it is inteneded by our Lord.
    Let’s keep this great term for where it does crop up and let it fill out our message of truth.
    In Christ

  5. Justin says:

    Where is your definition?

  6. Trevin Wax says:

    Check today’s post.

  7. Drew says:

    Do you have a pdf that contains all of these? If so, would you make it available?

  8. Trevin Wax says:


    That’s a good idea. Let me get it together and then I’ll attach it to this post.

  9. Yes it would be GREAT to see all this in one PDF. Let us know when you do. Thanks Trevin!

  10. Daniel says:

    Do you ever heard the Dallas Willard’s definition:
    “trust Jesus”.

  11. Phillip says:

    Great work on collecting the above.
    May I suggest that you furnish that of Dr. John Piper, from a pastoral point of view.

  12. Phillip says:

    Oops, the greying hairs of memory wins again.

  13. David Philpott says:

    You’re missing John Stott, one of the greatest Evangelists of the last century!

  14. Could you make a twitter version? List Gospel Definitions with a 140-character limit

  15. Leslie Jebaraj says:


    Now that Dr. Bock has written a book on the gospel, you could consider asking him to write a gospel summary. Please do. Thanks.

  16. theoldadam says:

    I like Luther’s:

    “We are declared righteous, for Jesus’ sake.”

  17. Chris Ritter says:

    John Wesley: “The gospel, (that is, good tidings, good news for guilty, helpless sinners,) in the largest sense of the word, means, the whole revelation made to men by Jesus Christ; and sometimes the whole account of what our Lord did and suffered while he tabernacled among men. The substance of all is, “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners;” or, “God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, to the end we might not perish, but have everlasting life;” or, “He was bruised for our transgressions, he was wounded for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (from his sermon “The Way to the Kingdom”

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Trevin Wax

​Trevin Wax is Bible and Reference Publisher at LifeWay Christian Resources and managing editor of The Gospel Project. You can follow him on Twitter or receive blog posts via email. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

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