[Please note that I’m including my scriptural references in the links, and that they also link to articles with extended exegesis that I couldn’t fit into this post, so please be sure to click all the supporting links in order to get the full picture, as well as all the Scripture references. Please also keep in mind, however, that I don’t necessarily agree with everything that all of the writers of the articles I link to believe and/or teach (aside from the ones I myself wrote, of course). Some of them just happen to have some good supporting material on the specific point I’m making in this article.]
While those of us in the body of Christ discover pretty quickly that there are at least two Gospels taught in Scripture, the vast majority of the members of the Christian religion have somehow missed this fact, and many are extremely insistent that there’s only one Gospel taught in the Bible. In fact, even after one shows them just how clear it is that there is more than one Gospel, many of them still feel like they aren’t allowed to accept the possibility that this could be true.
Now, there are a number of reasons they feel they have to deny the existence of two Gospels in Scripture, but one of the major reasons is due a misunderstanding of the warning Paul gave in his epistle to the Galatians about preaching any other Gospel to the body of Christ than the one they’d already received. Unfortunately, most Christians not only read more into this passage than it’s actually saying, they also don’t pay close attention to the specific wording of the passage either, leading them to believe a whole doctrine that wasn’t what Paul was getting at there at all.
You see, Paul wasn’t saying there is only one true Gospel there, or that nobody could ever preach a Gospel to someone other than the one he taught the body of Christ. Most people who base their assumption on this passage have likely only read translations of Scripture which say things like “another gospel which is not another” in the verses before his warning. The problem is, if one doesn’t look beyond this figurative translation, they can easily get confused. Is it another Gospel or is it not another Gospel? It can’t be both another Gospel and not another Gospel at the same time, at least not if we’re reading that literally.
What most Christians aren’t aware of is that Paul actually used two distinct Greek words rather than one (which means a literal rendering of the passage is more along the lines of “a different gospel, which is not another”) in order to differentiate between a legitimate Gospel that wasn’t his but was still perfectly okay to be taught to certain people and an illegitimate “gospel” that shouldn’t be taught by anyone at all, speaking of both a “different” (ἕτερος/heteros) gospel and “another” (ἄλλος/allos) Gospel. “Heteros” basically means “other of a differing sort” while “allos” means “other of the same sort,” so one was “another/allos” (fully legitimate, just like Paul’s) Gospel being preached by Peter, and one was a “different/heteros” gospel, that wasn’t even “another/allos” actual Gospel at all like Peter’s was, but was rather a bastardized mix of Peter’s Gospel and Paul’s Gospel that couldn’t save anyone.
Likewise, Paul wasn’t saying people who taught that there were other Gospels were under a curse, since he did so himself just 24 verses later; he was only teaching that those who would preach any other Gospel to the body of Christ than the one they had already received as something they should follow were, but Peter and the rest of the apostles could preach their particular Gospel as something to be followed to anyone that they wanted to without fear as long as it wasn’t to members of the body of Christ, based on the words “unto you” in verses 8 and 9 since Paul was writing to those who had already believed his Gospel, not those who hadn’t. Unfortunately, the evangelists and teachers of the Christian religion today aren’t even proclaiming that one, but instead are the very people who are guilty of preaching the adulterated “different/heteros” gospel that isn’t even “another/allos” legitimate Gospel at all like Peter’s or Paul’s was, bringing the curse Paul warned about upon themselves.
And on the off chance that anyone ever tries to claim that “different” and “another” actually mean the same thing, here are some sentences to consider: 1) “the word ‘different’ is different from the word ‘another,’” 2) “the word ‘another’ is another from the word ‘different,’” 3) “the word ‘another’ is different from the word ‘another,’” and 4) “the word ‘different’ is another from the word ‘different.’” Read those, then ask yourself if those sentences all mean the same thing, or if the last three even make any sense at all. And to really drive the point home, if the two words truly did mean the same thing, the verse could also be translated as “a different Gospel which is not different,” but that might be the most nonsensical one of them all.
And if the words “different” and “another” don’t mean the same thing, as those examples I just gave prove, there’s literally no way to interpret the passage as meaning Paul is saying there’s only one legitimate Gospel, because he’s clearly allowing for at least three separate messages called gospels in this passage, 1) his own Gospel, 2) another Gospel, and 3) a different “gospel,” which means the only way he could have been talking about only two messages called gospels — 1) his own Gospel, and 2) a different “gospel” — with only one being legitimate, is if “another” and “different” actually did mean the same thing.
Besides, Scripture tells us about other Gospels (or Evangels, or proclamations of good news — these are all translated from the same, or cognates of the same, Greek word — and all mean the same thing: “glad tidings” or “positive proclamation,” even if the “positive proclamations” aren’t always the same message, or the same news, each time the word euaggelion was used in Scripture) than just Paul’s Gospel and the different “gospel” he’s warning about, and even though only two of the “positive proclamations” are connected directly to how one is saved (the Gospel of the Circumcision and the Gospel of the Uncircumcision), there’s no way Paul could be saying there’s only one message allowed to be called the Gospel in existence or else we’d have to remove those verses discussing the other positive proclamations from the Bible altogether (unless those various positive proclamations are all a part of a larger, all-encompassing “Gospel” we have to believe in so we can be saved, but I doubt that anyone thinks that belief in John the Baptist’s birth is necessary in order to be saved, so right off the bat we already have multiple Gospels in the Bible even before we get to the Gospels that one can believe when they get saved).
A misunderstanding of this warning isn’t the only reason that most Christians assume there’s only one Gospel taught in Scripture, however. There are a number of other passages they also misinterpret, one of the most important ones being the statement about there how there is “neither Jew nor Gentile,” and if this is something that also has caused you to assume there can only be one Gospel, I urge you to read my next article now, where I explain why that statement doesn’t mean what most Christians assume it does any more than what Paul wrote about the different ”gospel” he condemned does.