The Word “Gospel” in the Old Testament

“Gospel” is one of those words found in the New Testament that people sometimes don’t realize is actually an Old Testament word.  The term “gospel” means “good news,” and that’s how it’s usually translated in the Old Testament…and sometimes in the New Testament.

That the concept of gospel or good news is found in the Old Testament can be quickly recognized by these two New Testament passages:

Galatians 3:8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.”  [quoting Genesis 12:3]


Hebrews 4:2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.  [alluding to the deliverance from Egypt and inheritance of the promised land]

Therefore, recognize that when New Testament writers use the term “gospel” or “good news” they are using a term first used by the prophets, and normally translated as “good news,” “glad tidings,” or “good tidings” in the NASB Old Testament.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

6 Replies to “The Word “Gospel” in the Old Testament”

  1. Your spot on with the beginning of your blog . . . but readers are left hanging. We want source material or texts that give us what the good news was for Abraham, the prophets and Israel. It was not the evangelical message they call the gospel – a death, resurrection and then heaven. Can you email me some more articles where i can find some more details of the OT gospel. Thanks

  2. Colin,

    The limited OT understanding of the good news is not a concern of mine, since I am focused on the good news for us today. That said, I think you should allow that the OT saints had a greater understanding of the good news than you are perhaps crediting to them. For example, Jesus said, “Abraham saw My day and was glad” (John 8:56). Further, the OT hope for resurrection was much greater than many people seem to think. The reason Abraham was willing to put the knife to Isaac was that he thought God must be planning on launching resurrection through the act (Hebrews 11:19).

    As for what I have written, be sure you survey all I have written (find links to all of my blogs at, including the books, before you conclude that I haven’t sufficiently addressed a particular topic. That said, I do not claim to have written all that could be written about our glorious Savior. Even the world could not contain the books that He deserves to have written about Him (John 21:25; Hebrews 5:11).

    1. Thanks for your quick reply. My comment was not suppose to be a negative comment, but just someone looking for more deeper material to study. I will follow the link you suggested thanks and blessings

  3. Colin,

    Your interest in the Lord will be rewarded, for He rewards those who seek Him.

    For you, for me, and for everyone who is seeking the Lord today…things are looking up!

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