THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE

LUKE 1:1-4

 

In as much as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, 3 it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; 4 so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1-4).

THE TITLE OF THE BOOK

The title in most Greek texts is Kata Lucan, "According to Luke." It is unique among the four gospels in that this is the only Gospel Account that is followed by a sequel. The Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts are written as companion volumes. They are part one and part two of the work of Jesus.

 

THE PLACE OF LUKE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

The Bibles has four separate books which detail the life and ministry of Jesus. We customarily refer to these as the "Four Gospels." Luke is one of the four gospels. It is also a part of the Synoptic Gospels.

Matthew

Mark

Luke

John

Eye-witness

Associated with Peter and Paul

Associated with Paul

Eye-witness

Written to Jews

Written to Gentiles

Dedicated to a Greek official

Written to the World

Jesus is King

Jesus is a Servant

Jesus is a Teacher

Jesus is the Son of God

Sermons

Miracles

Parables

Doctrines

Synoptic Gospels

4th Gospel

 

THE SCOPE OF THE BOOK

1. Birth Narrative.

Luke and Matthew are the only two accounts which contain the birth narratives of Jesus. While Matthew seems to focus on these narratives from the point of view of Joseph, Luke seems to give us Maryís perspective.

Matthew gives us a genealogy that begins with Abraham.

Luke gives us a genealogy that traces the line of Jesus all the way back to Adam.

  1. Dates.
  2. Luke is unique in giving us the exact dates for the beginning of the ministry of John the Baptist. He does so by tying it into the reigns of the Roman emperors.

  3. Luke and the Old Testament.

does not speak much about Jesus having fulfilled Old Testament prophecies. Though a number of the prophecies are mentioned, they do not have the same emphasis of which we find in Matthew where we see the common formula: "This took place that it might be fulfilled..."

4. Luke presents the longest parables of Jesus.

Each of these parables are found only in Lukeís Gospel.

5. Luke tends to avoid the use of Hebraisms.

AUTHOR

The Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts are written as companion volumes. They are part one and part two of the work of Jesus.

Luke

Acts

The ministry of Jesus as He was on earth

The ministry of Jesus from heaven

Teachings of Jesus

Teachings of the apostles

Introduction of the Gospel

Progress of the Gospel

Christ revealed historically

Christ revealed mystically

Christ for us

Christ in us

Begins with the events surrounding the coming of Christ to earth.

Begins with the ascension of Christ into heaven

Ends with the disciples in Jerusalem

Ends with the apostle Paul in Rome

This two-volume set makes up 28% of the entire New Testament - more than all of the epistles of Paul combined.

1. The Early Church Fathers are uniform in attributing the 3rd Gospel and Acts to Luke.

Luke also, the companion of Paul, set down in a book the gospel preached by him. (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 3:1:1).

  1. Style of Writing.

Even a cursory reading of the 3rd Gospel with the book of Acts will show that they were written by the same hand.

  1. Luke the Physician.

Luke is described by Paul at the beloved Physician (Colossians 4:14). Both Luke and Mark relate the story of the woman with the longstanding issue of blood who was healed by Jesus.

Mark 5:21

Luke 8:43

She had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had

Had spent all her living upon physicians, and could not be healed of any

Is there a bit of professional understanding in Lukeís account as opposed to that of Mark?

When Luke speaks of the difficults of a camel going through the eye of a needle, he uses a different word to describe the needle; one that is used elsewhere by Greek writers to describe a needle used for medical purposes.

 

LUKEíS PURPOSE IN WRITING

In as much as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, 3 it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; 4 so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1-4).

Luke was not an eyewitness of the earthly ministry of Jesus. He came on the scene as a "2nd generation Christian." He evidently was permitted opportunity to interview some of those who had known Jesus personally.

There were others who had already written accounts of the life of Christ. Scholars have noted that nearly half of the events and statements found in the book of Mark can also be found in Luke. He makes no secret of having used these kinds of source documents in his research for writing his account.

Luke writes to Theophilus as well as to others so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught. This is a setting forth of the facts of the life and ministry of Jesus.

 

LUKEíS RECIPIENTS

Both Luke and Acts are addressed to an unknown person by the name of Theophilus. Yet there is a distinct difference in the manner in which they are addressed. In Luke 1:3 he is called, most excellent Theophilus. In Acts he is addressed simply as Theophilus. Why the change?

The title most excellent Theophilus is an honorific. It indicates that this person held some official political position within the Roman Empire.

We know both from the epistles as well as from other early church writings that honorifics were often dropped when a Christian addressed another Christian. You donít call your brother "mister" or "your Honor" and such titles were not used among believers. The implication here is that Theophilus read the book of Luke and became a Christian. Because of this, he is addressed at the beginning of the book of Acts simply as Theophilus.

On a larger level, Luke writes his narrative to Greeks who would have had little or no knowledge of the Jewish Scriptures or customs of the day.


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