What is the Gospel in a Nutshell?

You can give the Gospel in under 30 seconds. It is such a simple message that even children can understand it. It is a message that has endured across generations and cultures.

Given these facts, it seems most Christians should be clear on knowing “What is the Gospel?” However, it seems there is a lot of confusion around this message that we are eager to clear up. If you are really interested to learn more look for information about our interactive training course below.

So, What Is The Gospel in a Nutshell?

Paul passed on the “good news” of the Gospel in very simple terms when writing to the church in Corinth:

“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you – unless you believed in vain. For I deliver to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then He appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:1-6, emphasis added).

This Gospel presentation was likely the first Christian creed (possibly in use less than 3 years after the Crucifixion). By repeating the word that, Paul calls our attention to the four main aspects of the Gospel:

  1. Christ (the “Anointed One”) died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures.
  2. He was buried.
  3. He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.
  4. He appeared.

Let’s break down these four points.

What is the gospel in a nutshell 4 points graphic

Understanding These Four Points of the Gospel

While this format does a great job of giving us the Gospel in a nutshell, we could ask, “What is the logic of this four-point outline?” In particular, “Why does this early creed mention that Jesus was buried (point 2) and that He appeared to many people (point 4)?” We don’t often hear people preach the Gospel this way.

Here is what we think is going on. These points to drive home the idea that the Gospel is a real, historical, and evidence-based event which can be verified. Notice that point two is evidence for point one, and point four is evidence for point three as seen in the graphic above:

  • Christ died for our sins.
    • His burial is evidence that He died.
  • He was raised on the third day.
    • His appearing to people is evidence that He was raised.

In the simplest form we could say this:

Jesus died for the forgiveness of sin and rose from the dead proving He had power of sin and death. This Gospel is historically true and verifiable.

If you want to learn more about how to share this Gospel through natural conversations in everyday life, check out our interactive online course. The next session starts March 9th.

Why Do We Need the Gospel in a Nutshell or Otherwise?

If the Gospel is the good news about our salvation it is reasonable to ask, “Salvation from what?” This gets into what we call the context of the Gospel. We live is a broken world and the evidence is all around us. We are in broken relationship with God and our fellow humans. This is the consequence of sin and what Jesus came to restore. So we the context of the Gospel (broken relationship) and the content of the Gospel (Jesus died for the forgiveness of sin rising victorious over sin and death) but the story does not end there.

How do we accept the Gospel?

Once someone understands their need for the Gospel and the hope that the Gospel offers, there must be a response. Knowing the Gospel is not what saves. A response to the Gospel message involves a few different aspects that are intimately tied together. To respond, we:

  • Agree with God that we are in need of His help and that we cannot save ourselves.
  • Recognize what Jesus Christ has done in our place and accept the gift that He offers us by trusting in Him alone for salvation.
  • Are given the ability to turn away from our sin and towards God because of His help.

You may have heard of this response summed up by the biblical words of faith and repentance. Faith in the Gospel means believing what God says about our need for salvation, accepting the authority of Jesus over sin and death, and trusting that He can accomplish the forgiveness that He offers us. Repentance is agreeing with God that we cannot earn salvation on our own and turning away from sin through God’s power. We do not believe that genuine faith and repentance can be separated into sequential steps. They are really two sides of the same coin. We simultaneously accept the gift of salvation by faith and turn from our sin and towards God through repentance. Read more about what the word faith actually means in this blog post.

The Rest of the Story

Now that we have the context, content, and response to the Gospel; we can discuss the results of accepting the Gospel in a nutshell. Through the grace of God given by the Gospel, we:

  • Can have our relationship with God restored.
  • Receive the promise of an eternity with God and with all those who accept the Gospel by faith.
  • Receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
  • Become ambassadors of God to the world.
  • Will be empowered to grow in Godliness and empowered in our fight against sin.
  • Become a part of the family of God.


The Gospel is a powerful message of hope in a broken world. If you are one of the many Christians who would like to learn how to:

  • Better share the Gospel in natural ways
  • Start spiritual conversations in everyday life.
  • Apply biblical evangelism techniques in the modern world
  • Or better answer questions people ask about Christianity

To learn more about how the Apostles shared the Gospel, check out our podcast series looking at the techniques and strategies used in the evangelistic encounters recorded in the Book of Acts.

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