What is the content of the Gospel?

Jesus taught the apostles, some of these teachings were written and some weren’t. He then sent the Holy Spirit to teach them all things.

The apostles went and preached and taught the Gospel.
But, there is no book of the bible that claims to be a summary of what they taught. The whole Gospel that the apostles taught and preached is not written anywhere in the bible. All we have is part of some of the teachings of Jesus. How can we know the rest of the Gospel?

So, what is the basic content of what they taught? What exactly did the apostles teach and preach when they taught the Gospel?

In other words, what is the content of the Gospel?

I think a good place to look is John 20:19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” 24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

26 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.
This passage is so nice for many reasons. It starts off with the people who got to see Jesus while He was on earth, it turns into the doubting Thomas story where he needs “proof” that Jesus came back. It turns into Jesus leaving us with the blessing for those who believe in Jesus without demanding “proof”. I put proof in quotes because there are many ways people prove to themself these things are true, eg fulfilled prophecy, miracles, etc. In a sense proof is not always a guarantee of “seeing is believing”, in fact there were many people who saw Jesus do many miracles right in front of them and they still didnt believe!

The chapter ends with the statement that this book wasnt intended to be an exhaustive 25 volume encyclopedia type book. It gave enough info for anyone to believe in Jesus and know why He did what He did.

As for the “whole” Gospel claim.
-Every Sacrament is recorded in Scripture,
-we have 4 books devoted to the life of Jesus,
-Acts of the Apostles showing people and converting them.
-early Christian writings
-Apostolic Tradition
to name a few.

Also we need to remember that you cant understand everything using just a book, the Bible is one of billions of books out there, what made you pick it out of that ocean of books? You need people who have learned from earlier Christians and had that information passed on to them, ie traditions. Another thing is that the Bible cant Baptize you only a human can. One thing that most protestants dont realize is that Jesus established a Church, He didnt write a book. That doesnt mean the Bible is bad it means that Scripture and Tradition are both authorities and go hand in hand.

But, the book of John still does not claim to be a summary of the Gospel that the apostles taught and preached. And the four Gopsels make it clear that there was a lot the Jesus preached that was not written down. And Jesus said to the apostles that He would send them the Holy Spirit who would teach them all things.

Thus, my question again. What is the content of this Gospel that the apostles went to teach and preach? Where do we find the information of what they taught and preached. If man is to live by every word of the mouth of God, and most of what Jesus and the Holy Spirit was not written, but taught, not written, but preached, then how can we know exactly what they taught and preached? How can we learn their Gospel?

[quote=dcdurel]But, the book of John still does not claim to be a summary of the Gospel that the apostles taught and preached. And the four Gopsels make it clear that there was a lot the Jesus preached that was not written down. And Jesus said to the apostles that He would send them the Holy Spirit who would teach them all things.

Thus, my question again. What is the content of this Gospel that the apostles went to teach and preach? Where do we find the information of what they taught and preached. If man is to live by every word of the mouth of God, and most of what Jesus and the Holy Spirit was not written, but taught, not written, but preached, then how can we know exactly what they taught and preached? How can we learn their Gospel?
[/quote]

DCDurel,

And over the hill, like the cavalry riding to the rescue, comes Mother Church (“terrible as an army with banners”) with everything we need to know for our salvation.

To answer your specific question of what the apostles taught, you will find some very good summaries of sermons in the Book of Acts. I believe some of the Early Church Fathers also wrote down some of what they heard from the Apostles, but again it won’t be complete. For example, if St. John asked Mary please to pass the salt, nobody wrote that down.

I would put it as obvious that if God requires something of us, He will give us the means to achieve it. If we are supposed to live by “every word that comes forth from the mouth of God,” then that passage will mean something that is possible for us to do. God is not going to tell us “live by everything I said” and then not let us hear everything He said. As such, you may want to recheck your interpretation of that requirement.

  • Liberian

[quote=Liberian]DCDurel,

I would put it as obvious that if God requires something of us, He will give us the means to achieve it. If we are supposed to live by “every word that comes forth from the mouth of God,” then that passage will mean something that is possible for us to do. God is not going to tell us “live by everything I said” and then not let us hear everything He said. As such, you may want to recheck your interpretation of that requirement.

  • Liberian
    [/quote]

I agree with you totally.

I never answered my own question, because for years I was confused and I wanted to see if everyone is also confused.
I have never been able to find any book on what the content of the Gospel the apostles taught was. No book at all. Not even a book that has speculation.

It seems to me that everyone in this country is confused on exactly what the Gospel is. In other words, if we have no idea of the content of what the apostles taught, how do we know what the Gospel is today? What they taught should be the basic foundation of the Gospel today.
Since evangelization is the preaching of the Gospel, or the introduction of people to Christ and if all Catholics are supposed to evanglize then how can they do so if they do not know what the Gospel is? Part of evangelization is catechesis, that is, teaching the Gospel. How can we catechize, if we don’t know what the Gopsel is?

I finally figured out how to know what they preached. Simply learn what their first disciples believed. In other words, the early Fathers of the Church learned the Gospel entirely from the apostles or their direct successors. And it turns out that the early Fathers believed the same basic teachings of the Catholic faith today found in basic catechisms. In other words, since the apostles were Catholic, the Gospel they taught is the same teachings we learned in basic Catechisms. Catechisms are simply a summary of the teachings of the apostles.
When the apostles taught and catechized, it had to be in a systematic way, because by definition catechesis is an eduction in the faith given in an organic (fundamental) and systemic way.
The apostles learned the Gospel in a non-systematic way, which is they learned some teachings of Jesus before He died, some after He died and before He rose, and some through the Holy Spirit, so it would be impossible to remember. So Jesus said He would also send the Holy Spirit so they could remember everything they were taught. But, since ordinary Christians don’t have that gift, they have to be taught in a organic and systematic way. The form general accepted was that they taught in the Gospel in the form of explaining the articles of the creed, the sacraments, the commandments and prayer. Wherether they deviated from this form or not really doesn’t matter. What matters if that the content of what they taught is the exact same content contained in this form today. In other words, the content of the Gospel that the apostles taught and preached, which is NOT written in the bible, is contained in basic catechisms today.
Of course there has been developement of doctrine. But the bacis teachings of apostles are all in the catechism.
Thus, to introduce people to the basic teachings of the Church in the Catechism is to present that same Gospel the apostles taught, thus to evangelize. To teach people the teachings in the Catechism is to teach people the same Gospel the apostles taught, thus to catechize. That is why the Catechism is a “sure norm for teaching the faith” as the Church teaches. And it is a living Gospel that grows in understanding, thus Catechisms grow in understanding the faith.

And I finally found a required Church document that says the same thing. It is the Directory for Catechesis, found at the Vatican Web site. It was approved by the Pope. It is the last of a line of documents ordered by the Pope to correct errors in this country regarding the teaching of the Gospel, (the Catholic faith).

It is tremendously important. It is long, because there are so many errors in this country. There are so many errors, because for years we have taken our direction for teaching the faith from “experts”, scholars, theologians, etc, instead of from ROME, from the Popes, who alone have authority to guide us to the truth.

Do a search for Gospel, then towards the end you will see that the Gospel and the heirarchy of truths are the same as the basic teachings in basic catechisms.

Thus, at mass we are supposed to receive teachings on the Gospel, from the Catechism, “the sure norm for teaching the faith”. The written Gospels that we read are only PART of the Gospel that apostles taught and preached and they are in the form of salvation history, and because of these two reasons they are totally unsuited for a basis for teaching the Gospel the apostles handed down. The four Gospels can nourish, and illuminate the basic teachings in the Catechism, but they are NOT the foundation for teaching the Gospel the apostles handed down.

In other words, it is Church teaching that the homily is "therefore the privileged place for catechizing the People of God." 1074
and it is "obligatory" that this catechesis is to be based on the Catechism, the “sure norm for teaching the faith”.
In other words, the homily is not primarily a place to give an explanation of all the readings. It is a place to teach the teachings of the Catechism, (the teachings of the living Gospel)
and use the readings or a a topic of the prayers of the mass as a launching point to connect to the teaching given based on the catechism.

[quote=dcdurel]Jesus taught the apostles, some of these teachings were written and some weren’t. He then sent the Holy Spirit to teach them all things.

The apostles went and preached and taught the Gospel.
But, there is no book of the bible that claims to be a summary of what they taught. The whole Gospel that the apostles taught and preached is not written anywhere in the bible. All we have is part of some of the teachings of Jesus. How can we know the rest of the Gospel?

So, what is the basic content of what they taught? What exactly did the apostles teach and preach when they taught the Gospel?

In other words, what is the content of the Gospel?
[/quote]

I been asking myself “what is the Gospel of Jesus Christ” and asking other people the same for the past 2 months. I feel i have to read the NT a few more times b4 i answer that question on a message board. But in my thoughts/prayers i have realised this IS by far the most important topic of Christianity. As to whether or not the Bible has everything in it that ever happened we know that cant be possible. But we can read what the authors said about the Holy Scriptures. Paul then Peter…
2 Timothy 3,4
14 But continue thou in those things which thou hast learned and which have been committed to thee. Knowing of whom thou hast learned them:
15 And because from thy infancy thou hast known the holy scriptures which can instruct thee to salvation by the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work.
1 I charge thee, before God and Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead, by his coming and his kingdom:
2 Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine.
3 For there shall be a time when they will not endure sound doctrine but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers having itching ears:
4 And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables.
5 But be thou vigilant, labour in all things, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil thy ministry. Be sober.

But heres the kicker. Saint Peter himself said this…
2 Peter 1:16
16 For we have not by following artificial fables made known to you the power and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ: but we were eyewitnesses of his greatness.
17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, this voice coming down to him from the excellent glory: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye him.
18 And this voice, we heard brought from heaven, when we were with him in the holy mount.
19 And we have the more firm prophetical word: whereunto you do well to attend, as to a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day star arise in your hearts.
20 Understanding this first: That no prophecy of scripture is made by private interpretation.
21 For prophecy came not by the will of man at any time: but the holy men of God spoke, inspired by the Holy Ghost.

Other versions translate verse 19… And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place…
If Saint Peter himself attests in the word of God as being MORE FIRM than even his eyewitness account of God the Father speaking audibly to our Savior Jesus Christ… well i think you get the picture/point. IMO if it was good enough for Peter and Paul, the Word is enough for me too. We do have summaries of the Gospel taught. Not only the four accounts of the Gospel as preached by Jesus. Paul when he spoke with King Agrippa in Acts 26:19 summed up his preachings to “Damascus and at Jerusalem, and unto all the country of Judea, and to the Gentiles” in that verse. James speaks of the Gospel, the letters of John, its in there. Since “the holy men of God spoke, inspired by the Holy Ghost.”, its only logical that if there were some other significant part of the Gospel to be deemed important, would it not be included by the workings of the Holy Spirit - inspiring that it should be in there?

oops, i took a long time to post so your last two posts went before my last one. i see you have come to a conclusion not in line with what i said. i try not to get into arguments, especially online, so i hereby bow out of this discussion.

DC Durel,

That is an excellent resource.

vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cclergy/documents/rc_con_ccatheduc_doc_17041998_directory-for-catechesis_en.html

Thank you for pointing it out.

  • Liberian
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