Gospel and Gospels

Jesus taught: “You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me…”  (John 5:39)

“There is an important difference between the gospel and the four texts that we have as the Gospels; the gospel is essentially a proclamation; it is not just a report about things that happened in the past, but the proclamation of the Good News of the work of God in Christ. This, of course, also goes for the four Gospels themselves: they are proclamation. But, as they are given as historical narratives, they need to be ‘interpreted’ to make them into a proclamation in the present. As Origen put it, the gospel is not simply the narrative of the deeds, sufferings, and words of Jesus, but that which ‘presents the sojourn of Christ and prepares for his coming (parousia), and produces it in the souls of those willing to receive the Word of God, who stands at the door and knocks and wishes to enter their soul.’ Christ is present throughout the Scriptures, ready to dwell in those who open themselves to him; it is the task of the homily to present, and effect, the coming of Christ, on the basis of the Scripture read.” (John Behr, The Cross Stands While the World Turns, pp 8-9)