Gospel — that’s what Elvis sang after he got out of the Army and gained all that weight, right? You know, devotional music, like that old-timey Appalachian stuff by The Louvin Brothers or Johnny Cash. Is Gospel just the music that some Christians listen to?
“Ain’t that the gospel truth?” we say. Or, actually, is “gospel” the truth itself? Is it simply what Matthew, Mark, Luke and John wrote down? Did Jesus preach the gospel? Is “gospel” just any good news? If we open the Bible anywhere and start reading, are we receiving the gospel?
As with so many words, once we begin asking ourselves what, in fact, the term “gospel” means, so many definitions and ideas begin to crowd in that we lose precision, until it can appear to signify everything and nothing. Language, undefined, becomes a slippery thing, especially in common parlance. “That guy’s word is gospel!” We’ve heard such sayings, but should we accept them as inconsequential — just a quirk of speech? Certainly, we should be clear about God’s word and what it means to us, and for us.