A Question I Was Asked:

What is the Kerygma?

The Question:

Several times I have heard, or read, the expression 'kerygma' in connection with the Gospel. What exactly is this "kerygma"? Is it simply the Gospel? If so, why is this extra word needed?

UK Apologetics Reply:

This is the Greek word used in the New Testament for preaching. It's related to the Greek verb 'kerusso'; meaning: to cry or proclaim as a herald, so it is concerned with proclamation, announcement, or preaching.

So substantially 'kerygma' indeed refers to the preaching of the Gospel, but there is a subtle difference. The difference is: kerygma is somewhat less interested in the specific content of the Gospel, but very interested in the act of preaching and communication, whether that preaching is oral or written. It is the proclamation, or communication of the good news, which principally concerns 'kerygma.' The term emphasizes the manner and act of delivery just a little more than the message; however, it assumes the message will be correct but is not primarily concerned with that area. Today we would mostly speak of preaching, gospel communication, or prophecy (prophecy, that is, in the looser New Testament sense, that is, not necessarily predictive prophecy).

All Christians have a duty and responsibility to be involved in the kerygma, but that does not mean we all have to be preachers or writers; even giving an answer in due season (1 Peter 3:15), or allowing our lights to shine (Matthew 5:16) are ways of proclaiming the Christ!

Robin A. Brace. April 29th, 2013.