What Does “Gospel” Mean?


March 23, 2020
The word gospel reflects the Greek word for “good news” or “momentous news.” The good news is what God has done in Jesus Christ, supremely in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. This God did in fulfillment of all that he had promised to do (Luke 24:44) to reconcile lost and guilty human beings to himself, powerfully transforming them by his Spirit in anticipation of their resurrection existence in the new heaven and the new earth.


When Christians used the word “gospel” in the first century AD, it always referred to this message about Jesus; it did not refer to the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John — books that tell the story about Jesus. At that time, Christians spoke of the gospel according to Matthew, Mark, or the others. Only in the second century and beyond did Christians start talking about these books themselves as Gospels — Matthew’s Gospel (or the Gospel of Matthew), Mark’s Gospel, and so on. In the first century, “gospel” referred to the message, not the book that conveyed it.


Honoring Mom and Dad


“Honor your father and your mother.” Exodus 20:12

Who do you think is most responsible for establishing a child’s opinion of his mother or father? The other parent, that’s who! Each wields tremendous influence over what the children think of the other. Early in my marriage to Shirley, I learned that occasional irritation between us quickly reflected itself in the behavior of our kids. They seemed to think, If Dad can argue with Mom, then we can, too. In short, my attitude became the attitudes of my children. I realized how important it was to openly express love and admiration for my wife, even when there were issues that we needed to iron out in private.

If you’re the father in the home, I encourage you to remind your kids how hard their mother works and how wonderful she is. And if you’re the mother, praise your husband’s courage and principles in front of the children. Kids will quickly recognize and mirror the respect fathers and mothers give each other. Showing honor now will pay off for years to come.

Just between us…

  • How did your parents show respect to each other?
  • Have we done a good job of honoring each other, and the Lord, in front of our children? In which situations are we most likely to fail?
  • How could we improve?
  • Do we know a couple that sets a good example in this area? What do they do that seems to really work?

Almighty God, we want to be good examples of honoring each other so that our children will grow up to honor their father and mother. We ask for Your wisdom and grace as we seek to excel in honoring one another in our home. Thank You for Your love. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

A New Attitude


The lips of the righteous nourish many. Proverbs 10:21

It’s difficult to maintain an encouraging spirit when you’re overwhelmed by problems with your child. We know of a family that faced this predicament. Jenny was a three-year-old who was still acting like a child in the “terrible twos”; nearly every interaction between parent and child was marked by conflict. Yet the father decided that this was as good a time as any for a first “date” with his daughter: breakfast at a local restaurant. As the hot pancakes melted his butter, he felt his own disappointment with his daughter melting away. He began to tell Jenny how much she was loved and appreciated, that he and her mother had prayed for Jenny for years, that they were so proud of her.

The father stopped to eat, but never got the fork to his mouth. In a soft, pleading voice, Jenny said, “Longer, Daddy. Longer.” For a second time he told Jenny why she was special…and a third time…and a fourth. Whenever he stopped, he heard the words, “Longer, Daddy. Longer.”

To follow Christ is “to be made new in the attitude of your minds” (Ephesians 4:23) so that every action and word is “helpful for building others up” (v. 29). It is true with children of all ages, too. Sometimes a problem with misbehavior or rebellion can be lessened by simply taking the time to have fun together and to speak of love in very warm terms. Kids need to hear that they are respected and appreciated. And guess what—so do moms and dads.

Before you say good night…

Are you displaying a loving, appreciative attitude toward your kids?

What can you do this week to express this attitude to your children?

Lord, You always see the hunger for affirmation and attention and love in the hearts of our kids. Awaken us, we pray, so that we see it, too. Help us to pour out encouragement to our children as You continue to pour it into us. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Illustration adapted from Leaving the Light On by Gary Smalley and John Trent (Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah Publishers, Inc., 1994).