Sunday, September 10, 2017

ELL vocabulary - gospel

Gospel means, literally, good news.  It comes from the roots god, good, and spel, speech.

The original meaning of the word is a religious meaning from Christianity.  The Oxford English Dictionary gives this meaning as "The glad tidings (of the kingdom of God) announced to the world by Jesus Christ."

But gospel can mean more than the preachings of Jesus Christ.  In a broader context, it can mean

  • Something as ‘true as the gospel’; a statement to be implicitly received (because it comes from God).
  • An expression that is short for "gospel music."  Gospel music is music originated by African-Americans that comes from African-American Christian Churches.
There is an expression "the gospel truth," which uses the first definition above; namely, it means a truth to be implicitly received (because, one imagines, it comes from God.)  I did not know that "The Gospel Truth" is the title of a song in Disney's film Hercules.  Here are other examples of this expression:

That news anchor sounds so trustworthy you take everything she says for the gospel truth.


My mother reads the opinions of Paul Krugman in the New York Times as if they were the gospel truth.

Just remember that gospel means "good news that is delivered as holy preaching" and you will remember what gospel means in all senses.

Where have you heard the words gospel or "the gospel truth" before?  Or are you a fan of gospel music?  Let me know in the comments.

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