Another early Christian tradition is the “kerygma”.
Kerygma (from the ancient Greek word κήρυγμα kérugma) is a Greek word used in the New Testament for “proclamation” (see Luke 4:18-19, Romans 10:14, Gospel of Matthew 3:1). It is related to the Greek verb κηρύσσω (kērússō), literally meaning “to cry or proclaim as a herald” and being used in the sense of “to proclaim, announce, preach”. Amongst biblical scholars, the term has come to mean the core of the early church’s teaching about Jesus.
Transliteration of the Greek word that means proclamation or preaching. Depending on the context, it may refer to either the content proclaimed or the act of proclaiming. The word is used once in Matthew ( 12:41 ), once in Luke ( 11:32 ),and six times in Paul’s letters ( Rom 16:25 ; 1 Col 1:21 ; 2:4 ; 15:14 ; 2 Tim 4:17 ; Titus 1:3 ). All of these New Testament occurrences appear to refer to what is being proclaimed.
Kerygma is a borrowed term from the Greeks.
The Greek word kerygma describes what was a well-known practice in the ancient world. When a king wanted to publicize his decrees throughout his realm, he would send a kerux, what we know in English as a town crier or herald. Often a trusted advisor or confidant of the king, the kerux or herald would travel throughout the empire announcing the kerygma–the news the king wanted delivered. This was especially important in the context of war. When the king’s army won a great battle thereby conquering new territory, the herald would travel within the newly acquire regions announcing the victory and proclaiming the order of the newly expanded kingdom.
The New Testament apostles quickly adopted this imagery and language to describe their roles as heralds traveling through the earthly realm announcing the arrival and victory of King Jesus and explaining the order of his kingdom. They were declaring a kerygma–a proclamation they were called to deliver to the world. The essence of this proclamation is the good news (euangelion). It is the announcement that the time all of history was waiting for had come; the king had arrived; and through his death, resurrection and exaltation, he had won the victory and was enforcing his kingdom. This message animated the early church. It drove Paul and the other apostles to risk–and ultimately give up–their lives for just another opportunity to make the announcement.
The main message of the kerygma is the foundational message of the gospel of Christ. It does not encompass deeper teachings of the Bible.
The content of the kerygma is the gospel of Christ (cf. Mk 1.14), what is to be believed (Rom 10.18), or simply the logos, or word (Acts 17.11; 2 Tm 4.2). Jesus had announced the coming of the kingdom with His call for repentance (Mk 1.15). The central object of the apostolic kerygma was Christ (Acts 8.5; 19.13; 1 Cor 1.23), in whom, according to the prophecies, is salvation (2 Cur1.19–20). It was the cross with the implication of the Resurrection (1 Cor 1.23; Rom 8.17) and Christ’s return as judge (Acts 10.42).
The earliest exponents of the Christian faith had worked out a distinct way of presenting the fundamental convictions of their religion. The Christian preacher thought of himself as the divinely authorized announcer, or herald, of very important news after the manner of John the Baptist (Mt 3.1–2; Mk 11.30–33). The preacher recounted the life and work of Jesus Christ in brief form, demonstrating that in Christ’s conflicts, sufferings, death, and Resurrection, the divinely guided history of mankind had reached its climax. God Himself had now most personally intervened in the history of mankind to inaugurate His kingdom on earth. This announcement was bracketed between that of the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies and the new Christian community’s, or Church’s, eschatological destiny in the Second Coming of the Savior to reader judgment. The preacher sought to convince his hearers that they were now confronted by God Himself as represented in His kingdom and that they stood liable to immediate and inescapable judgment. They had only to accept His invitation to embark on a new life wherein through God’s mercy they would be unburdened of past delinquencies and have the opportunity of enjoying a new relationship with God, in the Lord Christ Jesus.
The book of Acts indicates that the Apostles and other Christians followed a two-step process in reaching the world for Christ. Generally, it seems that they preached a basic gospel message with a simple outline focused on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus (see Acts 17:1–3, for example). This core gospel message, sometimes called the kerygma, or “proclamation,” did not contain everything Jesus taught His disciples but only the basics of salvation. After people believed the kerygma, however, the Apostles would remain for some time and give further in-depth teaching in God’s Word. Acts 19:1–10, for instance, tells us that Paul spent two years in Ephesus instructing people in “the word of the Lord.” Discipleship followed evangelism.
What is the message of the kerygma?
Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron writes, “The ‘kerygma’ is the New Testament word for the simple, radical, countercultural and joyful message of the Gospel — that ‘initial ardent proclamation by which a person is one day overwhelmed and brought to the decision to entrust himself to Jesus Christ by faith.’”
The Kerygma is the declaration that:
1. The coming of Jesus Christ fulfills all the promises of history and inaugurates the kingdom of God on earth;
2. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection accomplishes the forgiveness of sin;
3. From his exalted position as ascended Messiah, Jesus rules all things;
4. The presence of the Holy Spirit signifies his present reign and empowers believers to fulfill their destiny as image-bearers; and
5. This declaration demands a response of repentance and complete trust.
Though kerygma contains the message of Christ, the core of the kerygma is his crucifixion.
“Kerygmatic” is sometimes used to express the message of Jesus’ whole ministry, as “a proclamation addressed not to the theoretical reason, but to the hearer as a self”; as opposed to the didactic use of Scripture that seeks understanding in the light of what is taught. The meaning of the crucifixion is central to this concept.
Kergyma is from kēryssō (κηρύσσω).
preach (51x), publish (5x), proclaim (2x), preached (with G2258) (2x), preacher (1x).
1) to be a herald, to officiate as a herald
a) to proclaim after the manner of a herald
b) always with the suggestion of formality, gravity and an authority which must be listened to and obeyed
2) to publish, proclaim openly: something which has been done
3) used of the public proclamation of the gospel and matters pertaining to it, made by John the Baptist, by Jesus, by the apostles and other Christian teachers
Some passages that use the word:
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching G2784 in the wilderness of Judaea,
From that time Jesus began to preach, G2784 and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching G2784 the gospel of the kingdom of God,
And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching G2784 the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;
And he commanded us to preach G2784 unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.
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
But we preach G2784 Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
For we preach G2784 not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.