The Greek word kerugma is found in eight places in the New Testament (Matthew 12:41; Luke 11:32; Romans 16:25; I Corinthians 1:21; 2:14; 15:14; II Timothy 4:17; Titus 1:3). The King James Bible translates it “preaching” in each place, but “preaching” is not an adequate definition. The New American Standard Bible translates it “preaching” four times, “message” two times, and “proclamation” two times. “Proclamation” comes much closer to the real meaning.
Strong’s Concordance defines kerugma: “A proclamation” (especially of the Gospel; by implication the Gospel itself). The root word is kerusso, which means “to herald,” especially divine truth. Young’s Concordance gives the definition: “A cry of proclamation.” W. E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary says that kerugma is “a proclamation by a herald, denotes a message, a preaching (the substance of what is preached as distinct from the act of preaching).”
Notice Vine’s comment, “The substance of what is preached as distinct from the act of preaching.” The apostle Paul said, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or drink, or in respect of a holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body (substance) is of Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17). Jesus said, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).
It becomes obvious, then, that when the Greek word kerugma is used in the Scriptures it is not speaking of the kind of preaching that is prevalent today (a preaching or message about Christ), but it is speaking of a proclamation which enhouses the life of Christ.
A message that is preached about Jesus Christ comes from a man’s intellect and contains man’s precepts and opinions about Him. That kind of preaching brings very little or no spiritual change at all to the listener. The kerugma, on the other hand, is a proclamation that carries with it the life and attributes of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by it hearers can experience His life. The Gospel, then, is not a message about Jesus Christ, but an impartation of Him to the hearer. Thus, Jesus said, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 2:7).
Are you content with the prevalent preaching of our day, to listen to sermons that only carry man’s opinions of the Lord? That is, doubtless, the reason why so many are not getting what they need. I’m not content with that kind of preaching. I want a Word from God, a kerugma that transfers His life to me. I don’t want to know man’s opinions about Him – I want to know Him!
Titus 1:3 (God) has in due times manifested His Word through preaching (kerugma), which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Savior.
God wants to reveal Himself to us. And He has chosen His Word as the medium by which He manifests Himself. Let’s pray and have faith for God to replace the ineffective preaching with the proclamation of the Gospel (kerugma), that we may know Him and experience His life.
Copyright © 1999 by Henry DuBose