This message is expounded upon as a narrative in the four canonical gospels, and as theology in many of the New Testament epistles. As theology it is expanded, and related to the death by crucifixion of Jesus. It perceives this as saving acts of God due to the work of Jesus on the cross and Jesus' resurrection from the dead which bring reconciliation between people and God.
Paul the Apostle's gospel is of Jesus's death on the cross and resurrection to restore people's relationship with God. Paul gave the following summary (translated into English) of this good news (gospel) in the First Epistle to the Corinthians:
Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures
Christian theology describes the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ not as a new concept, but one that has been foretold throughout the Old Testament and was prophetically preached even at the time of the fall of man as contained in , which has been called the "Proto-Evangelion" or "Proto-Gospel".
Gospel () is the Old English translation of Greek εὐαγγέλιον, meaning "good news". This may be seen from analysis of euangélion (εὖ eû "good" + ἄγγελος ángelos "messenger" + -ιον -ion diminutive suffix). The Greek term was Latinized as evangelium in the Vulgate, and translated into Latin as bona annuntiatio.
In Old English, it was translated as gōdspel (gōd "good" + spel "news"). The Old English term was retained as gospel in Middle English Bible translations and hence remains in use also in Modern English.
Christian writers and teachers often present the Good News set within the context of the storyline of the whole Bible. This discipline, of understanding the Christian message in terms of biblical salvation history, is known as biblical theology. This attempts to posit a connection between Old Testament and the Christian teachings of the good news about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
For example, the Roman Catholic Church promotes the teaching of the good news in the context of biblical salvation history as a "fundamental part of the content" of its instruction. There are numerous exponents of the biblical theology approach to understanding the Good News. Some Christian teachers and biblical theologians who have published descriptions of the Bible authors' message in terms of salvation history include Köstenberger and O'Brien (2001), who have published a biblical theology of mission; and Goldsworthy (1991), who writes from an evangelical Christian perspective. Many Bible scholars and Christian groups have placed similar descriptions on the internet. There is a degree of variation in perspective between such descriptions. However, the main focus is generally the same: the Bible storyline tells of God working throughout history to save a people for himself, and these saving acts are completed through the person and work of Jesus.
Generally speaking, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or the message of salvation, justification, and sanctification, is explained by the apostle Paul in his epistle to the Romans, especially in chapters 3 to 8.
The good news can be summarized in many ways, reflecting various emphases. Cambridge New Testament scholar C.H. Dodd (1964 ) has summarized the Christian good news as taught by the apostle Peter in the Book of Acts (see Kerygma; ; ; ):
The good news is described in many different ways in the Bible. Each one reflects different emphases, and describes part or all of the biblical narrative. Christian teaching of the good news — including the preaching of the Apostles in the Book of Acts — generally focuses upon the resurrection of Jesus and its implications. Sometimes in the Bible, the good news is described in other terms, but it still describes God's saving acts. For example, the Apostle Paul taught that the good news was announced to the patriarch Abraham in the words, "All nations will be blessed through you." (; c.f. ).
Liberation theology, articulated in the teachings of Latin American Catholic theologians Leonardo Boff and Gustavo Gutiérrez, emphasizes that Jesus came not only to save humanity, but also to liberate the poor and oppressed. A similar movement among the Latin American evangelical movement is Integral Mission, where the church is seen as an agent for positively transforming the wider world, in response to the good news. This can likewise be seen in black theology of certain African and African American Christians.
The Christian missions movement believes the Christian good news to be a message for all peoples, of all nations, tribes, cultures and languages. This movement teaches that it is through the good news of Jesus that the nations of humanity are restored to relationship with God; and that the destiny of the nations is related to this process. Missiology professor Howard A. Snyder writes, "God has chosen to place the [worldwide] Church with Christ at the very center of His plan to reconcile the world to himself ()".
Another perspective described in the Pauline epistles is that it is through the good news of Jesus' death and resurrection, and the resulting worship of people from all nations, that evil is defeated on a cosmic scale. Reflecting on the third chapter of Paul's letter to the Ephesians, theologian Howard A. Snyder writes:
God's plan for the [worldwide] church extends to the fullest extent of the cosmos. By God's 'manifold wisdom' the [worldwide] Church displays an early fullness of what Christ will accomplish at the conclusion of all the ages. The spectacle is to reach beyond the range of humanity, even to the angelic realms. The [worldwide] church is to be God's display of Christ's reconciling love".