What Is the Gospel of the Kingdom?

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What Is the Gospel of the Kingdom?

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Many people have opinions about what the Bible says. Look around and you'll find plenty of them.

The question, though, is whether those opinions are simply that—opinions—or are timeless truths based on sound, objective study of the Scriptures.

A primary purpose of The Good News is to present biblical teachings in an unbiased, unvarnished way. We continually focus on the context of scriptures, concentrating on what the original writers of the Bible meant when they wrote in their day rather than relying on the opinions of later authors and theologians 2,000 years and several cultures removed from the original.

We try to put ourselves in the shoes of the brave and faithful individuals who wrote the biblical books and inspired letters God preserved for us. Only then can we properly understand what the Scriptures really mean. (That's not to say that the Bible doesn't apply to every age and culture. Another continuing focus of The Good News is to show that the Bible is perpetually up to date, a timeless guide to the problems that confront us.)

At times the views we present aren't popular. This was certainly true of the biblical authors as well. As the writer of a letter published in this issue tells us: "Some of your teachings are good, others are controversial." He takes us to task on what we've written about one popular doctrine. We're glad he does. We don't ask readers to believe us without proof. We urge them to look into the pages of their Bibles to see whether what we say is true.

In the last issue we wrapped up one of our longest-running series, "The Bible and Archaeology." For five years we've gone through the Bible book by book to show that archaeological finds have illuminated the biblical record, confirming its startling historical accuracy while increasing our understanding of the background of the times in which its authors wrote. (Interested readers can review earlier articles in the series in our back issues on the Web at www. gnmagazine.org. Rest assured that we'll run similar articles on archaeology and the Bible in the future. We already have several planned.)

In this issue we start another series along similar lines, "The Surprising Sayings of Jesus Christ." In it we continue to present clear biblical truths as they were given and understood in the original context—in this case in the words and teachings of Jesus Himself. We explore what He said, what He did and what they meant against the backdrop of His life and times.

In the first article of this series we explore a central aspect of Christ's ministry that should be quite clear—but, regrettably, isn't. That aspect is the central message He brought and taught, popularly called the gospel. Mark 1:14-15 Mark 1:14-15 [14] Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, [15] And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent you, and believe the gospel.
American King James Version×
tells us that "Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.'"

What is this "gospel" Jesus proclaimed? What is "the kingdom of God"? What is it about His message that requires repentance—a total change in our outlook and behavior—and that we believe that message? Does His message affect our daily lives? Will it affect our future? If so, how? These are crucial questions. If the gospel of the Kingdom of God is the heart and core of Christ's teaching, shouldn't we be sure we properly understand what it is?

This teaching is so crucial, and so improperly understood by many, that it is the focus of much of this issue. It is, as discussed in this issue's lead article, a message about how and when human suffering will be eliminated. It is a message of how disease, famine, war, violence and grinding poverty will finally vanish. It is a message about how peace, fairness, justice and prosperity will eventually be poured out over the world, as covered in other articles.

Above all, it is a message of tremendous hope and an awesome future for all. And that truly is good news.