What Does “Gospel” Mean?

Philippians 1:27–28


We hear the word “gospel” used all the time. But what does it actually mean? In the lab, John Piper gives a refresh of one of the greatest words in the world.

Some questions to ask as you read and study Philippians 1:27–28:

  1. If you come across a word in the Bible that you want a definition for, how do you go about getting one?
  2. How do you define “the gospel of Christ” in Philippians 1:27–28? If all you had was the Bible, how could you find the definition?
  3. Write out a definition for the gospel. Then watch the video and compare it with John Piper’s, noting how he went about defining it from Philippians.


Principle for Bible Reading

Search in Concentric Circles

When seeking for answers concerning how a biblical author uses a word or phrase in a verse, it is often helpful to start by seeking answers in the immediate context and then moving outward. Good Bible reading, like a stone dropped in a pond, starts at the word or phrase in question and ripples out to other places in the Bible to get help for understanding. Starting your search in the immediate verse and moving outward is often called searching in concentric circles.

After searching in the immediate verse, it is key to look for the author’s meaning in:

  • The paragraph which contains the verse
  • Then the chapter
  • Then its book as a whole
  • Then other books written by the same author
  • Then the same Testament (New or Old) as a whole
  • Then the whole Bible

Note: This order may be rearranged depending on the verse. If you are dealing with the meaning of a verse cited from the Old Testament for example, going to the Old Testament would move up in priority.