I am not sure if this will further the discussion, but as I was reading Hebrews 4:2 I noticed a interesting use of “gospel” which should inform this wide vs. narrow view of the gospel. Hebrews 4:2 says:
καὶ γάρ ἐσμεν εὐηγγελισμένοι καθάπερ κἀκεῖνοι
For good news came to us just as to them
Two things are evident from this passage.
First, the author of Hebrews uses “gospel” in the wide sense. The wilderness generation did not hear the good news of justification by faith. They heard the good news that God would deliver them from slavery and bring them to Canaan (Exod. 3:16-17; 4:27-31). This was in fulfillment of the promises made to the fathers, especially Abraham. Therefore the writers of Scripture are not fearful of using gospel in the wider sense even after the cross.
But secondly, in the scope of redemptive history, the promise to Abraham was fulfilled ultimately in Jesus. Jesus is the seed, he is the ultimate blessing. So the good news sometimes is focused on the restoration of God’s kingdom, but on this side of salvation history we can see that this is accomplished through the cross. In fact the author of Hebrews says that his hearers are “more responsible” than the previous hearers because of the revelation of the Son.
The revelation of the Son is better, more complete, more perfect.
So in summary we can learn the following from this passage and use of the term gospel.
- The writers of Scripture used the Gospel in both the narrow and wide sense.
- After the cross, the fundamental aspect of the Gospel is lost if one focuses on the gospel in the broader sense, without getting to Jesus’ sacrifice.