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The Kerygma, pronounced [kay-roog-mah], is a term that is largely unfamiliar to most Christians. κήρυγμα, Kērygma, is a Greek neuter noun. It comes from the Greek verb kēryssō, kā-rü’s-sō, κηρύσσω.
The Kerygma is, the very heart of the gospel [good news], the core message of Christianity that all believers are called to proclaim.
Note: all Scriptures used in this post are from the King James Version – KJV
Outline of Biblical Usage
I. That which is proclaimed by a herald or public crier, a proclamation by a herald
II. In the NT the message or proclamation of the heralds of God or Christ
κήρυγμα kḗrygma, kay’-roog-mah; from Strongs Concordance G2782; a proclamation (especially of the gospel [good news]; by implication, the gospel [good news] itself):—preaching.
The Greek word kēryssō, kā-rü’s-sō, κηρύσσω, corresponds to Strongs Concordance G2784.
Kērygma is used 8 times in the Bible:
1. Matthew 12:41- G2782
2. Luke 11:32- G2782
3. Romans 16:25- G2782
4. I Corinthians 1:21- G2782
5. I Corinthians 2:4- G2782
6. I Corinthians 15:14- G2782
7. II Timothy 4:17- G2782
8. Titus 1:3- G2782
Thayer’s Greek Lexicon
“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching G2782 of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,”
Romans 16:25 KJV
“But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith [Gr. pistis believing], which we preach; G2782“
Romans 10:8 KJV
“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher G2784 [The Greek word kēryssō]? “
Romans 10:14 KJV
“And how shall they preach, G2782 except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”
Romans 10:15 KJV
The Gospel of Peace = Glad tidings = Good Things. Things equal to the same thing, are equal to each other. The “feet” during these times were clad mostly with sandals. The feet were, for most people, the main mode of transportation. They were mobile. They were often dusty and dirty, but because they carried (figuratively), the literal gospel [good news], the good news and these glad tidings, they were beautiful in God’s sight. Today, we mostly wear shoes and socks and have many modes of transportation available to us, but when we speak God’s Word, The Kerygma as keryssos – kerusso (heralds), our feet are no less beautiful!
Imagine yourself as a herald or town crier. Although your job is important, it is the message you deliver, which is most important. The message is delivered publicly and will be received in three ways: accepted, rejected as being impossible or rejected as foolishness. The herald or town crier is not responsible for the message or how it is received. They are to just deliver the message (the information).
“But we preach G2782 Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;”
I Corinthians 1:23 KJV
The Kerygma is a “stumbling block” to the jews because, they do not believe the promised Messiah, has yet to come. The Kerygma is “foolishness” to the Gentiles because, they require “signs”, in order, for them to believe. But this Kerygma is not just mere words. It is God’s Word. It is the true word, It is the truth. And according to John 8:32 “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” KJV
This Word of God, this Kerygma is life and life-giving. It is the core of Christianity because, it takes the Jew (Israel), and the Gentile and makes them each, one new creature (created thing). And God has given us all, each Christian, this one right (of several rights), to His true children and the responsibility, to reconcile (bring together what was separated), men, women and children, by the ministry (service), of reconciliation.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;”
II Corinthians 5:17,18 KJV
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Acts 4:12 KJV
As contrary as this may seem to all religions, major world religions and all others, there is NO other name given under heaven among men [and women, “men” is a plural and all-inclusive pronoun; includes men, women and children], whereby there is salvation. The service of the herald is to deliver this truth. The message is so important because, salvation is in the Word of God and the power of God is behind His Word! It is believing the Word of God (not just believing in God, but to, believe Him). A herald’s job is to publicly declare this Word of believing. Believing is a verb and connotes action. The word “faith” in English may be thought of as a noun, but from the Greek word pistis, “faith” it is a verb and is always, always translated as, “believe”, “believing” or “faithfulness” (faithful to continue to believe), according to its context, as used in the Bible. Never in the Bible does God EVER require anyone to accept anything by faith! Never does the Bible say, one has lost their faith. Never does God’s Word say that anyone, does not have enough faith. God requires only one thing and that is to believe. Believe what? God requires one to believe His Word because, in it is the truth of salvation and the power behind His Word is to save. To save or salvation means to make whole or to be, made whole. Again, a herald’s job is to declare this Word of believing. So, what is this word of believing?
The book of Romans is an interesting doctrinal epistle [how to believe rightly]. It is the first of three in the New Testament: Romans, Ephesians and Thessalonians. All three are each and altogether, all doctrinal epistles. Parts of Romans is written to: Jews (Israel), Gentiles and the Church of God. Romans is a transitional doctrinal epistle because, it transitions the end of the Christ administration to the administration of Grace and the age of the Church, the Church in Christ, in which we are still in. Romans transitions the Jew (Israel), and the Gentiles to the new creatures (created things), out of both Jew (Israel), and Gentiles, to the “new creatures” or as we have come to understand, to be, Christians. The Church of God is made up of both former Jews (Israel), or former Gentiles. These two become a new creature in the Church of Christ.
God classifies all people as one of the following: Jew (Israel), Gentile or part of, the church of God.
“Give none offence, neither to the Jews (Israel), nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:”
I Corinthians 10:32 KJV
In the very first verse of Romans, chapter one, we read the following—
“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.”
Romans 10:1 KJV
One principle of Biblical research is to follow the nearest noun as its antecedent. An antecedent noun or a thing or an event, is that which existed before or logically precedes another. Another biblical research principle is that interpretation and application is, according to, to whom it is written. In this first verse of Romans, chapter one, it is crystal clear that this verse is, to the Jew (Israel). You can follow these nouns all the way down in chapter one from verse 1 through verse 10. From verse one, “Israel” , as a noun, leads to chapter one and in verses 9 and 10 and from there, it leads back to Israel [or the Jew], in verse one.
“But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith [Gr. pistis believing], which we preach; G2782“
Romans 10:8 KJV
According to what we have read, this word of believing, this Kerygma, this preaching, relates to “thee” (Israel) and “thy” (Israel) . Verses 1-8 of Romans, chapter 1, are all, written to Israel (the Jew). Now look at Romans 10:9
“That if thou [Israel], shalt confess with thy [Israel], mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine [Israel], heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou [Israel], shalt be saved.”
Romans 10: 9 KJV
“For [indicates purpose or reason], with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Romans 10: 10 KJV
So, from the above two scriptures, we see HOW both righteousness and salvation is possible. One has to confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord. No big deal right, anyone can do this? This should be understood that to confess Jesus as Lord, it is to truly or really say, that Jesus is Lord. To do so, one has to believe that Jesus is Lord.
Along with this confession, the same person has to believe, that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. How is that possible? Were you or I (those of us reading this in the year 2017), there? Did we see Jesus Christ being raised from the dead? NO!
So, somehow, one has got to get to the place that they confess Jesus Christ as Lord (really and truly say it because, they believe he is their Lord), and must believe, that God raised him from the dead. How? Remember, according to John 8:32 “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” KJV
The word “shall” is in the absolute tense of the word. This word of believing, the Word of God, the Kerygma, will absolutely not set, but absolutely (“shall”), “make” one free! What’s the difference between being set free and being made free?
If I were in prison and you had the keys to my cell, you may be able to unlock the door and set me free. I could walk out, get caught and put back into prison. I could, for whatever reason(s), decide to stay there, even though you set me free.
To be made free is to have the cell door opened yes, and to be set free, but prior to this, I have been prepared to live free. Then, because I have chosen to be made free, God by his Word, the word of believing, the Kerygma and His power in His Word, has prepared me to be free, unlocked my prison door, taken me to freedom and in Him, I can (He has given me the ability), and I may (my choice), live free!
This is how important it is for the herald, the messenger the kerusso to deliver the truth and nothing but the truth! For it is the power in and behind the message, the truth, the Word of God, the word of believing, the Kerygma, which shall truly, really, make anyone that believes, made whole!!!! Always, it is on one condition and that condition is, to believe (pistis)!!
God through His Word, per each person that wills to believe, must provide each individual with exactly whatever the person needs, to be able to believe! It is not the power of the herald which declares the Kerygma. The power is IN the Kerygma, the Word of God itself, which enables one to confess Jesus Christ as Lord (to really say and to really mean it), and believe that God raised him from the dead.
OK, so what? Didn’t I say that Romans 1:1-10 was written to the Jew (Israel)? NO, I just merely declared, I herald the Kerygma. The Word of God says this! Well, I don’t know about you, but I was a Gentile. If verses 1-10 were written to the Jew (Israel), and they were, what about me? Yes, what about me and all Gentiles? Look at the very next verse in Romans.
“For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. “[disappointed in their expectations].
Romans 10:11 KJV
Just one word in Romans 10:11 “Whosoever”, transitions away from the Jew (Israel), in Romans chapter one and verses 1-10, to anyone that will to believe, in verse 11. This is how important and how powerful, this word of believing, this Kerygma, declared by a herald is!!!
Contrary to what we may believe, have been taught, may one day believe or are taught, believe is a verb that connotes action. All people have the innate ability to believe. To believe is an active verb which ends in either results or consequences. We need proof(s) or evidence to believe. God both knows and understands this! It is our nature to believe, our pathos or pathology to believe. The Jews (Israel), saw and see the heralding (preaching), of the Kerygma as, a “stumbling block” because, they did not and do not believe in the first coming of the promised Messiah. The Gentiles saw and see the preaching (heralding), of the Kerygma as, “foolishness”, for they sought and seek “signs” that Jesus Christ was or is, ‘The One.’ Both the Jews (Israel), and Gentiles were and are, looking for proof(s), for “signs”; for evidence. Again, God knew, knows; understood and understands, the nature of humans. He has provided all the proof that anyone would require, to believe!
Proofs to the Jews (Israel)
To the Jew (Israel), these proofs were first written in the stars and taught to Adam & Eve by God and Adam & Eve passed this on to their children and on and on and on. The stars and their meaning were the Word of God, the word of believing, the Kerygma.
Next, the proofs to the Jew (Israel) were in the spoken and then the written records of God’s Word, the word of believing, the Kerygma. Many of the OT words were in the form of prophecies, by prophets and were about future events. In the OT, there was the prophecies of, the four aspects of, the coming Messiah.:
• My messiah “the branch”
• My servant “the branch”
• My man “the branch”
• My son “the branch”
These four aspects or characteristics of, the coming messiah— prophecies in the OT, were fulfilled in the four gospels of: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
So, the Jew (Israel), had to first know the Word of God, the word of believing, the Kerygma and THEN, they could see the proofs in the due course of time and WHEN they saw the life of Jesus Christ and the works that he did and how both lined up with the OT prophecies. The four gospels were written, so that they (the Jew or Israel), would not have to “stumble.”
Proofs to the Gentiles
To the Gentiles, these proofs were in the works done by men and women that had the spirit of God upon them, so that they could see the “signs.”
Since the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1), these proofs can be seen by both the inerrant accuracy and integrity of the Word of God, the word of believing, the Kerygma and in the works done by (and available to anyone— that is a Christian, who is, born again, saved, made whole), those in whom the spirit of God dwells within them.
There are numerous times in the Bible where God says (tells, commands), people to “prove” Him (God). What follows is just one example.
”…prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
Malachi 3:10b KJV
“Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.”
John 14:11 KJV
For anyone to believe that Jesus Christ was (is), ‘The One’ was/is, to know the OT prophecies about him and to see the proofs in the four gospels fulfilled or to believe, because of, the works he did. This is, the job or the work of a herald, to preach, to declare, to herald the word of believing which is, the Kerygma!
The importance of and the order of God may be understood by the next verses of scripture, the Word of God, the word of believing, the Kerygma.
“How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
“God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?”
Hebrews 11:3,4 KJV
First, there is the Word of God, the word of believing, the Kerygma—
• Written in the stars
Then, the signs, miracles and wonders, follow. It all begins with God, the Word of God, the word of believing, the Kerygma!
Of all of God’s creation, the one thing above all the rest is His Word, the word of believing, the Kerygma. God did NOT just merely set His word above all His creation, all his name (all his name represents), He magnified it, His Word, the word of believing, the Kerygma!
“…for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.”
Psalm 138:2b KJV
Look at all of this, like this. Social media is the world. It is facetime (face to face). The cell phones, communicators; telecommunication devices are the heralds. They are the messengers, the communication apps. Protective cases (if applicable), are the shoes or footwear of the messengers (the heralds, town criers, the kerysso). Used with socks and shoes or not, these mobile devices (the feet), are— “beautiful” (dirty or not), because, they carry and deliver the messenger with the message to the recipient, the content, across the whole of social media, one by one (person to person). The content, the message is, the word of believing, the Kerygma of God!
Now if you want to dispute any of this. Go for it, but I did not write the Bible. I am just…
Next time: Proofs of God