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What Is the Gospel? (Ixmarks)

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  4,625 ratings  ·  268 reviews

What is the gospel? It seems like a simple question, yet it has been known to incite some heated responses, even in the church. How are we to formulate a clear, biblical understanding of the gospel? Tradition, reason, and experience all leave us ultimately disappointed. If we want answers, we must turn to the Word of God.

Greg Gilbert does so in What Is the Gospel? Beginni

Kindle Edition, 130 pages
Published March 23rd 2010 by Good News Publishers/Crossway Books (first published March 9th 2010)
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4.20  · 
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 ·  4,625 ratings  ·  268 reviews

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Oct 19, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, 2017, kindle, gospel
My church gave my wife and I a copy of this as part of the membership process. I read it, expecting to feel as though I'd read it a hundred times before, as most every Christian writer feels the need to explain the gospel in their own way, in just about every book, so as to make plain to their readers any assumptions that go into the rest of the book. I did, in fact feel as though I'd read this material a hundred times before.

I have three main criticisms of the book. First, Gilbert begins the b
Adam Calvert
With all the endorsements, I expected this book somehow to be earth-shattering in its presentation of the good news. And it is a good presentation, but I don't think I quite understand the reason for all the accolades.

On a critical note one thing that really got my attention was his arguments against three "substitute" gospels as follows:
"Jesus is Lord" is not the gospel
Creation-Fall-Redemption-Consummation is not the gospel
Cultural Transformation is not the gospel

First, who is hearing these bei
Josh Morgan
This review first appeared on my blog, Jacob's Café.

The latest book I got to review for christianaudio's reviewer program (meaning I received a complimentary copy) was Greg Gilbert's What is the Gospel? This book is actually part of a series from 9marks, going in-depth about what that organization considers to be the nine marks of a healthy church, as argued by Mark Dever.

I actually finished this audiobook over a week ago, but I didn't feel any urge to get a review out quickly because I really d
Jeannette Garcia
Feb 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was excellently written. It was concise and pretty straight forward about what the Gospel really is. I think every Christian should read it at least once. It gives you a clear outline of how to present the Gospel without omitting crucial details. I believe there is much desperation to see those around us experience the grace of God that we tend to downplay consequences of sin and being unrepentant. This, in turn, causes many people to promote the rewards of the Kingdom in ord ...more
Gerald Koskinen
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great book to read on Christmas. Not a long book which is actually fitting to the title. A very clear and concise message to help understand the main focus of the Bible. It is refreshing and straight to the point. It challenges me to stress what is truly important to the people I interact with each and every day.
Mar 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is going on my list to read & re-read regularly. It is a clear, well-thought-out walk through the truths of the Gospel as explained by Scripture and an appropriately pointed challenge to the watered-down descriptions of the Gospel that are often espoused today.
Misty Harper-anderson
I don’t know that I learned anything new but this book ignited in me a new passion to share the Gospel message. This book is well-written and serves an audience of both new and “seasoned” followers of Christ. Greg Gilbert used personal anecdotes to create a relationship between theology and day to day experiences.

I read this as a seminary assignment. I found that it not only stimulated my intellect but my heart as well.
Erica Schrader
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“What Is the Gospel?” Is a powerful little book! Whether you are a Christian that wishes to codify and solidify the gospel in your personal evangelism or, you are not a Christian and you are wondering what “the gospel” is all about, this book is for everyone! I particularly appreciated Gilbert’s explanations of different heresies and false gospels that are being promoted today while he carefully pointed out where each one falls short of the biblical gospel.
Joshua Reichard
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very helpful and short book on the beautiful message of the gospel! Greg Gilbert does a fantastic job and putting the gospel into words that everyone can understand and communicate clearly!
Evan Templeton
Dec 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There seems to be a push in Christendom today to unite around Jesus and the gospel. Yet, across denominational borders, it seems hard to find clear exposition of that same gospel which unites us. It's easy to hear different aspects of the gospel emphasized in different circles, which could leave Christians torn between what they should lead with in presenting the gospel, how it should be presented, etc. This book takes a hard look at the root of the gospel and takes some time to uncover how diff ...more
I gave this book a 5 star because I think everyone should read it. Even if you think you know the Gospel, there is great insight and clarity. This book is a very fast read but it also is a book to chew on and think about as well. There is application because Jesus requires us to respond to the Gospel. One of the points the author made which is one that we all know as Christians, that God is the creator, and we are the created. It went further by saying that because God is the creator, he has rig ...more
Ryan Linkous
Dec 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A concise guide to the gospel meta-narrative. I would definitely recommend giving this book to people in churches because it communicates deep biblical truths at a lay-level.
Derek Iannelli-Smith
This is an excellent book for my yearly refresher list... going on 3rd year now... and still so good!
Jul 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own-this
"How I wish I could place this book in the hands of every pastor and church member."
C.J. Mahaney
Sammy Wood
Accessible and succinct. Much that needs to be teased out over time, but good as (a) a primer on the gospel, and (b) a refresher course when we get it muddled in our minds.
Chris Wray
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
This was solid and edifying, a fine reminder and summary of the gospel. Greg Gilbert has a very pleasant and straightforward writing style, and I enjoyed it very much.

Finding the Gospel in the Bible

For a basic explanation of the gospel, we need look no further than the Letter to the Romans:
- First, Paul tells his readers that it is God to whom they are accountable.
- Second, Paul tells his readers that their problem is that they rebelled against God.
- Third, Paul says that God's solution to hum
John Gardner
May 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What is the gospel? One would expect this question to have a short, simple answer, considering that Christians everywhere devote themselves to proclaiming "the gospel" (the word means "good news"). We proclaim the gospel because Jesus did it ( Mark 1:14-15 ). We proclaim the gospel because Jesus told us to do it ( Mark 16:15 ). We proclaim the gospel because Paul told us it is the power of salvation for all who believe ( Romans 1:16 ). We proclaim the gospel because Peter told us it is the means ...more
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When we received the book What Is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert in a gift bag from a church we visited, my first thought was, “It takes 121 pages to explain that?”

But, as he demonstrates in the first few pages, people have a variety of ideas about what exactly the gospel is, some odd, some close but not quite accurate. This, above anything else, is essential to know, because if we’re wrong about this, we’re in big trouble.

The first issue is our source of authority. After showing that reason, our o
Michael Boling
Mar 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The “gospel” is certainly a word most Christians are familiar with. After all, at some point we responded to the message of the gospel, we are commanded in Scripture to declare the gospel, and it is the gospel that is supposed to be preached and understood as a foundational element of the faith. With that said, is the “gospel” more of a theological buzzword or do we truly understand what this term is all about, how it shapes our lives as believers and more importantly, what we are supposed to be ...more
I loved reading this book. Although it is the first book written by Greg Gilbert I have read - and I have never heard of him before - I feel like I can hear him speaking the words. There is passion and energy in the writing.

Mr. Gilbert breaks the Gospel down into 4 major points: God, man, Christ, response.
God - The Righteous Creator
Man - The Sinner - This chapter was among the most impactful for me. Sin is definitely not sugar-coated. The difference between our sins (mistakes we make) and sin (
Mark Spencer
Jan 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
Faith Alone Isn't Enough - The Apostle John Forgot About Renunciation of Sin

Mr. Gilbert’s theology is energetic and insidious. His belief system does not allow him to rely upon the
Gospel of John to find the principles of justification salvation. God doesn’t love the world but only those select few who renounce sin in the name of Christ. Faith is insufficient and Christ is ineffective if providing justification. A person must also turn away from sin. On one hand God is holy and pure and will not
Michael Sanelli
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gospel
Great way to bring clarity to the gospel for so many different situations: someone who doesn't quite get it yet, or with someone who needs to work at being more clear with the gospel, or someone who is wishing to grow in how they communicate the gospel. We've used this in discipleship, evangelism, evangelism training, home group studies, Biblical counseling, and many other settings. It's a great way to get a large group of people clear with the gospel and on the same page as far as what the gosp ...more
Tim Counts
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anyone interested in the basic message of the Christian faith or wondering about Jesus should read this book! I also think all Christians should read this book! Why? Because there can be so much confusion on what the basics are & what the central message of the gospel is.

I read it years ago & it has helped me immensely for almost a decade in clearly explaining the gospel whether 1 on 1 or in preaching or writing. I just reread it to help me with preaching a series on the gospel and it wa
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is unfortunate that a book like this needs to be written, but people and the church have somewhat muddied the waters as to what is salvation and therefore, what is the gospel, and so we need to be reminded again what it is that sits at the foundation of our faith. This book does a good job from start to finish showing us that the message of the Gospel is a message that is central to the text of the Bible, both in the Old Testament and New Testament. But, at its core it must be about repentanc ...more
Dave Martin
Notwithstanding a good discussion of repentance near the end of the book, Gilbert generally follows the truncated "salvation gospel" model propounded in the evangelical church for many decades. The result is churches full of people who believe they're going to Heaven because they prayed a prayer or made a decision for Christ on some past date. While Gilbert correctly identifies the indispensable heart of the Gospel, we must preach and teach a more complete "discipleship gospel" of following Jesu ...more
Clayton Hutchins
Decent summary of the gospel. The low rating is not necessarily for his gospel summary being inadequate or piecemeal. Indeed, I think every presentation of the gospel is necessarily inadequate in some sense—so full and replete is the good news of Jesus Christ that we can scarcely even conceive it, let alone utter it. My low rating is more for how he unnecessarily sidelines other possible emphases that might be highlighted in sharing the gospel in its fullness. Also because toward the end of the ...more
Jim Lehman
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent little primer on the gospel. It succinctly unfolds the essence of the gospel in a clear and readable way, emphasizing the main aspects to the gospel without getting caught up in theological minutiae or arcane debates. My only criticisms would be (1) some of the illustrations (especially literary) are not very helpful if one doesn’t have a frame of reference for it (e.g., Pilgrim’s Progress; Lord of the Rings) and (2) there are aspects that might make it difficult for a lost person o ...more
Sep 23, 2017 rated it liked it
A great summary marred by colloquialisms

This book is a thorough, useful and biblically sound summary of the Gospel doctrine of redemption from sin and sanctification.
It does not deal with predestination or wether the response to the Gospel is a gift or a human decision.
The explanation of the atonement becomes deficient as soon as the author moves away from the text and tries to "explain" it using familiar examples. A lot of non sequiturs when the author adds his reasoning to the flow of scriptu
Doug Connell
Though you could read this in an evening or on a Saturday, it would almost be a shame. Gilbert’s examination of the gospel is devotionally-rich and biblically-reliable.

Read this to be encouraged about your identity in Christ. Read it to be informed regarding how you can summarize the gospel. Read it with other Christians for mutual edification. Read it with an interested nonbeliever so that you can help them understand as you go along.
John Rakshith
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best little book I've read in a long time on the most glorious news in all the world! Greg Gilbert does a fantastic job articulating the gospel in an engaging, clear, and yet a profound manner. He convinces the readers that the beauty of the gospel is the simplicity of the message. And yet goes to show that this simple message is rarely simply accepted with joy even by Christians, and frankly, myself included. Thank you, Greg! What a great first book! Highly recommended!
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Greg Gilbert (MDiv, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is senior pastor at Third Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He is the author of What Is the Gospel?, James: A 12-Week Study, and Who Is Jesus?, and is the co-author (with Kevin DeYoung) of What Is the Mission of the Church?.
“An emaciated gospel leads to emaciated worship. It lowers our eyes from God to self and cheapens what God has accomplished for us in Christ. The biblical gospel, by contrast, is like fuel in the furnace of worship. The more you understand about it, believe it, and rely on it, the more you adore God both for who he is and for what he has done for us in Christ.” 3 likes
“To put one’s faith in King Jesus is to renounce his enemies.” 2 likes
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