They [don't] focus on anything what we cal the Plan of Salvation, and they surely aren't shaped by our Method of Persuasion. No, all they are - and all four of them are like this - is story after story about Jesus and the power of God at work in and through him. So, as I sat there pondering that question of why they called Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John 'the Gospel,' the answer came rather quietly in stages:
Maybe they are the gospel.
Well, yes, they are the gospel.
Yes the Gospels are the gospel!
What clicked was that I suddenly realized that Paul's 'gospel' [1 Cor. 15] was the Story of Jesus completing Israel's Story, and the reason the early Christians called Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John 'The Gospel according to' Matthew and Mark and Luke and John was because they knew each of those Gospels told that very same Story. Paul and the Gospels tell the Story of Israel coming to completion in the Story of Jesus. The apostolic gospel, the tradition the apostles passed along, can be found in the Gospel of Matthew and Mark and Luke and John. It may seem patently obvious, but it's not to most: they called those books 'the Gospels' because they are the gospel.
If you want to read the gospel,
hear the gospel,
or preach the gospel,
read, listen to, and preach the Gospels." (King Jesus Gospel)
In the midst of a busy week, I continue to consider the gospel as my recent posts have done. Today I share this reflection from Scot McKnight that has had me thinking: