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Kerygma Part 2

(continued from Part 1 )

The fourth passage, I Corinthians 15:1-8, expounds that Christ’s death was for humanity’s sins as was foretold. “These verses, the heart of the gospel, were an early Christian confession which Paul described as of first importance. It was really a twofold confession: Christ died for our sins and He was raised from the dead. The reality of this was verified by the Scriptures (e.g., Ps. 16:10; Isa. 53:8-10) and by historical evidence verified by time in the grave and out of it, in the presence of the living. The fact that He was buried verified His death, and the fact that He appeared to others verified His resurrection.”[1]

The last passage is Ephesians 2:1-10. This passage makes it clear that everyone is dead in their transgressions and sins and is by default a part of Satan’s kingdom because of disobedience. Paul makes it clear that this means that all people are naturally deserving of wrath. However, because of God’s love for mankind, he has provided a way for anyone who is will to believe the gospel to be made alive in and through Christ. This salvation is not earned through works, but given as a gift by God through grace. “Salvation is based on God's attitude of mercy and motivated by his agape love. Ephesians 2:5 contains the solution to the state of spiritual death set forth in 2:1.”[2] For those who accept the Gospel of Christ, they become partakers of “a finished, accomplished redemption.”[3] In verse 8, when it mentions the “gift from God,” it “refers to the salvation promised to all who believe. Salvation is provided through God's grace and received on the basis of faith in God's promise of forgiveness because of Christ's shed blood.[4]

Kerygma is a Greek noun. “Kērygma refers to the content of the proclamation of God's word in the Old Testament and the gospel of Christ in the New.”[5] The main component of the kerygma is referring to the preaching of Jesus Christ “and to the apostolic preaching of the gospel”[6] The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines it as “the content of what is preached”; “the message”; closely connected with the act of preaching.”[7] The word occurs eight times in the NT (Matt. 12:41; Luke 11:32; Rom. 16:25; 1 Cor. 1:21; 2:4; 15:14; 2 Tim. 4:17; Titus 1:3).[8] The International Standard BIble Encyclopedia defines the kergyma as the “proclamation of the death, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus that led to evaluation of His person as both Lord and Christ, confronted man with the necessity of repentance and promised the forgiveness of sins.”[9] The kerygma is not limited to the verses that reference it, but rather

“it is the rich, powerful and comprehensive proclamation of what God has done in Christ.”[10] The kergyma also has implications. The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary explains this well. It states: “All who hear ‘all about this life [the life of Christ]’, ‘the message of this salvation’, are called on to ‘pay attention’, to ‘listen’ and ‘know with certainty’ their truth. The only option is to ‘repent’; 3:19, ‘be baptized’, ‘and turn back.’ The call of the kerygma is ‘listen’ and ‘beware’, for to reject Jesus is to perish.”[11]

The Greek root word for Kerygma is kēryssō. Kerysso is a Greek verb which means “preaching.”[12] The underlying sense of the word is “that of making proclamation after the manner of a herald.”[13] It is found in around sixty contexts throughout the Bible. Some of the well known passages in which this verb is found are Mark 13:10; Luke 24:47; Rom. 2:21; 10:8, 14 ff.; Gal. 2:2; Col. 1:23; 2 Tim. 4:2; 1 Pet. 3:19.[14] Kerysso describes John the Baptist’s preaching, Jesus preaching, and the apostolic preaching of the Gospel.[15] So in essence, kerysso is the Greek word for preaching and kergyma is the Greek word for the preaching of the Gospel.

The foundational call of the church is the proclaiming of the Gospel, thus the kerygma is the foundational call of the church. The Church is on the earth to proclaim the message of Christ to the ends of the earth. If the Church is not “kerysso,” preaching, the kerygma, the good news about Jesus Christ, it misses its purpose and does not fulfill its calling. Hence, the modern church is meant to be kerygma-centered, just as the early apostolic church was. In the current day and age, the modern church is very concerned with social issues, church programs, and church growth. These can easily become a distraction from the kerygma, since the modern church has the same fundamental responsibility as the early church had: the proclamation of the message of Jesus Christ and bringing souls to salvation through the proclamation of the gospel. To the extent that it does that, it fulfills its calling. To the extent to which it is diverted, or distracted, from the essential kerygma, it fails to accomplish its mission and purpose.

[1] Walvoord and Roy Zuck, ed., The Bible Knowledge Commentary 542.

[2] Robert B. Hughes and J. Carl Laney, Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1990), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 593.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Stephen D. Renn, Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Word Studies for Key English Bible Words Based on the

Hebrew and Greek Texts, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Pub., 2005), s.v. “PREACH, PREACHING,

PREACHER,” WORDsearch CROSS e-book.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] International Standard BIble Encyclopedia, Revised Edition – Volume Three: K-P, (Chicago, IL: Howard-

Severance Company, 1915; repr., Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1979), WORDsearch CROSS e-book,


[10] Chad Brand, Charles Draper, Archie England, ed., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, (Nashville: Holman Bible

Publishers, 2003), s.v. “,” WORDsearch CROSS e-book.

[11] Chad Brand, Charles Draper, Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary.

[12] Renn, Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Word Studies.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.


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