Christianity in the Apostolic Age

By George T. Purves | Go to book overview

IV RISE OF HISTORICAL NARRATIVES

301. DURING the whole period of the rise and progress of Christianity the apostolic reports of the career and teaching of Jesus had been in constant circulation among the churches. Apostolic teaching had never been disassociated from the story of Christ's life, but was regarded as only the inspired amplification of his instruction and explanation of his mission. Hence by "the gospel" was meant the glad tidings which God had sent through Jesus and his apostles. Jesus had himself begun by proclaiming "the gospel of the kingdom" (e. g. Matt. iv. 23; Mark i. 14, 15). Later he had spoken of his entire message, including the report of his life and acts, as "the gospel" ( Mark viii. 35; x. 29; xiii. 10; xiv. 9; xiv. 15), and to Mark (i. 1) this was "the gospel of Jesus Christ" which the Baptist's ministry introduced. After Pentecost this was naturally the term used to describe the revelation contained in the history and teaching of Jesus ( Acts xv. 7; I. Thess. i. 5; ii. 2, 4, 8, 9; iii. 2; II. Thess. i. 8; I. Cor. iv. 15; ix. 12, 14, 18, 28, etc.) which the apostles proclaimed. It was mainly the recital of his works and sayings, his death and resurrection ( Acts i. 21, 22; ii. 22-24; x. 37-43; I. Cor. xv. 1; Rom. i. 1-4). The term, however, also came to include the apostolic explanations of Christ's mission; and this usage appears

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