In Biblical and theological discussions, the term kerygma has come to denote the irreducible essence of Christian apostolic preaching. Rudolph Bultmann is credited with identifying and giving voice to the “Kerygma” of the New Testament. Bultmann contended that only faith in the kerygma, or proclamation, of the New Testament was necessary for Christian faith, not any particular facts regarding the historical Jesus
The Kerygma of the New Testament
- The promises of God made in the OT have now been fulfilled with the coming of Jesus the Messiah (Book of Acts 2:30; 3:19, 24, 10:43; 26:6-7, 22; Epistle to the Romans 1:2-4; 1 Timothy 3:16; Epistle to the Hebrews 1:1-2; 1 Peter 1:10-12; 2 Peter 1:18-19).
- Jesus was anointed by God at his baptism as Messiah (Acts 10:38).
- Jesus began his ministry in Galilee after his baptism (Acts 10:37).
- He conducted a beneficent ministry, doing good and performing mighty works by the power of God (Mk 10:45; Acts 2:22; 10:38).
- The Messiah was crucified according to the purpose of God (Mk 10:45; Jn 3:16; Acts 2:23; 3:13-15, 18; 4:11; 10:39; 26:23; Ro 8:34; 1 Corinthians 1:17-18; 15:3; Galatians 1:4; Heb 1:3; 1Peter 1:2, 19; 3:18; 1 Jn 4:10).
- He was raised from the dead and appeared to his disciples (Acts 2:24, 31-32; 3:15, 26; 10:40-41; 17:31; 26:23; Ro 8:34; 10:9; 1Co 15:4-7, 12ff.; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1Tim 3:16; 1Peter 1:2, 21; 3:18, 21).
- Jesus was exalted by God and given the name “Lord” (Acts 2:25-29, 33-36; 3:13; 10:36; Rom 8:34; 10:9; 1Tim 3:16; Heb 1:3; 1Peter 3:22).
- He gave the Holy Spirit to form the new community of God (Ac 1:8; 2:14-18, 33, 38-39; 10:44-47; 1Peter 1:12).
- He will come again for judgment and the restoration of all things (Ac 3:20-21; 10:42; 17:31; 1Co 15:20-28; 1Th 1:10).
- All who hear the message should repent and be baptized (Ac 2:21, 38; 3:19; 10:43, 47-48; 17:30; 26:20; Ro 1:17; 10:9; 1Pe 3:21).
The ancient Christian kerygma as summarized by Dodd from Peter’s speeches in the New Testament Book of Acts was:
- The Age of Fulfillment has dawned, the “latter days” foretold by the prophets.
- This has taken place through the birth, life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- By virtue of the resurrection, Jesus has been exalted at the right hand of God as Messianic head of the new Israel.
- The Holy Spirit in the church is the sign of Christ’s present power and glory.
- The Messianic Age will reach its consummation in the return of Christ.
- An appeal is made for repentance with the offer of forgiveness, the Holy Spirit, and salvation.
Comments on The Kerygma
All most all of the biblical references contained in The Kerygma were Paul’s writings. Many scholars believe that Paul was a Pharisee and thus was a student of the Old Testament. We have completely discredited anything Paul says in previous writings so it is understandable that we view the truth of The Kerygma with doubt. Having changed his mind about Jesus, Paul now goes full out to “prove” that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah that was prophesied in the Old Testament.