Luke

Luke

Λούκα

Reading 2,23 - 24 Chapters - 1,151 verses -25,944 words

Vital Statistics

Author

The author's name does not appear in the book, but much unmistakable evidence points to Luke. This Gospel is a companion volume to the book of Acts, and the Ianguage and structure of these two books indicate that both were written by the same person. They are addressed to the same individual, Theophilus, and the second volume refers to the first (Ac 1:1). Certain sections in Acts use the pronoun "we" (Ac 16:10-17; 20:5-15; 21:1-18; ac 27:1-28:16), indicating that the author was with Paul when the events described in these passages took place. By process of elimination, Paul's "dear friend Luke, 'the doctor" (Col 4:14) and "fellow worker" (Phm 24), becomes the most likely candidate. His authorship is supported by the uniform testimony of early Christian writings (e.g., the Muratorian Canon, A.D. 170, and .„ the works of lrenaeus, c. 180). Luke was probably a Gentile by birth, well educated in Greek culture, a physician by profession, a companion of Paul at various times from his second missionary journey to his final imprisonment in Rome, and a loyal friend who remained with the apostle after others had deserted him (2Ti 4:11). Antioch (of Syria) and Philippi are among the places suggested as his hometown.

Recipient and Purpose

The Gospel is specifically directed to Theophilus (1:3), whose name means "one who loves God" and almost certainly refers to a particular person rather than to lovers of God in general.The use of "most excellent" with the name further indicates an individual, and supports the idea that he was a Roman official or at least of high position and wealth. He was possibly Luke's patron, responsible for seeing that the writings were copied and distributed. Such a dedication to the publisher was common at that time. Theophilus, however, was more than a publisher.The message of this Gospel was intended for his own instruction (1:4) as well as the instruction of those among whom the book would be circulated. The fact that the Gospel was initially directed to Theophilus does not narrow or limit its purpose. It was written to strengthen the faith of all believers and to answer the attacks of unbelievers. It was presented to displace some disconnected and ill-founded reports about Jesus (see 1:1-4). Luke wanted to show that the place of the Gentile Christian in God's kingdom is based on the teaching of Jesus. He wanted to commend the preaching of the gospel to the whole world.

Date and Place of Writing

The two most commonly suggested periods for dating the Gospel of Luke are: (1) A.D. 59-63, and (2) the 70s or the 80s. The place of writing was probably Rome, though Achaia, Ephesus and Caesarea have also been suggested. The place to which it was sent would, of course, depend on the residence of Theophilus. By ts detailed designations of places in the Holy Land, the Gospel seems to be intended for readers who were unfamiliar with that land. Antioch, Achaia and Ephesus are possible destinations.

Style

Luke had outstanding command of the Greek language. His vocabulary is extensive and rich, and his style at times approaches that of classical Greek (as in the preface, 1:1-4), while i at other times it is quite Semitic (1:5-2:52)---often like the Septuagint (the pre-Christian Greek translation of the OT),

Characteristics

The third Gospel presents the works and teachings:of Jesus that are especially important for understanding the way of salvation. its scope is complete from the birth of Christ to his ascension, its arrangement is orderly, and it appeals to both Jaws and Gentiles. The writing is characterized by literary excellence, historical detail and warm„ sensitive understanding of Jesus and those around him.

Since the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) report many of the same episodes in Jesus' life, one would expect much similarity in their accounts.The dissimilarities reveal the distinctive emphases of the separate writers. Luke's characteristic themes include: (1) universality, recognition of Gentiles as well as Jews in God's plan (see, e.g., 2:30-32 and notes on 2:31; 3:6); (2) emphasis on prayer, especially Jesus' praying before important occasions (see note on 3:21); (3) joy at the announcement of the gospel or"good news" (see note on 1:14); (4) special concern for the role of women (see, e.g., 8:1-3 and notes); (5) special interest in the poor (some of the rich were included among Jesus' followers, but he seemed closest to the poor; see note on 12:33); (6) concern for sinners (Jesus was a friend to those deep in sin); (7) stress on the family circle (Jesus' activity included men, women and children, with the setting frequently in the home); (8) repeated use of the Messianic title "Son of Man" (used 25 times; see 19:10; Da 7:13 and notes); (9) emphasis on the Holy Spirit (see note on 4:1); (10) inclusion of more parables than any other Gospel (see chart, p. 2130); (11) emphasis on praising God (see 1:64; 24:53 and notes).

Sources

Although Luke acknowledges that many others had written of Jesus' life (1:1), he does not indicate that he relied solely on these reports for his own writing. He used personal investigation and arrangement, based on testimony from "eyewitnesses and servants of the word" (1:2)—including the preaching and oral accounts of the apostles. His language differences from the other Synoptics and his blocks of distinctive material (e.g., 10:1-18:14; 19:1-28) indicate independent work, though he obviously used some of the same sources (see essay, P.1943).

Plan

Luke's account of Jesus' ministry can be divided into three major parts: (1) the events that occurred in and around Galilee (4:14-9:50), (2) those that took place in Judea and Perea :9:51-19:27), and (3) those of the final week in Jerusalem (19:28-24:53). Luke's uniqueness pis especially seen in the amount of material devoted to Jesus' closing ministry in Judea and Perea This material is predominantly made up of accounts of Jesus' discourses.Twenty-one of the 28 parables that occur in Luke are found in 10:30 - 19:27. Of the 20 miracles recorded in Luke, only 5 appear in 9:51 - 19:27. Already in the ninth chapter (9:51), Jesus is seen anticipating his final appearance in Jerusalem and his crucifixion (13:22). The main theme of the Gospel is the nature of Jesus' Messiahship and mission, and a key verse is 19:10.

How to read Luke

Each gospel has its own particular flavor as each author portrays unique aspects of Jesus’ life and ministry. Luke, one of Paul’s disciples, was a non-Jewish physician from the Roman province of Macedonia. He did not experience the gospel events first-hand, but carefully researched the facts from those who had been eyewitnesses (Luk 1:1-3). His keen investigation brings to light some priceless stories that are not told in the other gospel accounts. Luke wanted to be sure he told the full story, including rich details of Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection.

Luke’s is a very personal gospel. We observe many individuals meeting one-on-one with Jesus in transformational encounters—people who were often marginalized and cast off by religious society: women, foreigners, the sick, the lost, the broken, the poor, the needy, the suffering, the powerless, and the despised. Only Luke records the parable of the Good Samaritan. Only Luke includes three more parables and places them at the heart of his story, in chapter 15. They are the parables of a lost coin, a lost sheep, and a lost son. All three highlight the central message of the book that can best be summed up in the words of Jesus: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luk 19:10).

Luke Interpretive Challenges

Luke, like Mark, and in contrast to Matthew, appears to target a Gentile readership. He identifies locations that would have been familiar to all Jews (e.g., 4:31; 23:51; 24:13), suggesting that his audience went beyond those who already had knowledge of Palestinian geography. He usually preferred Greek terminology over Hebraisms (e.g., “the Skull” instead of “Golgotha” in 23:33. The other gospels all use occasional Semitic terms such as “Abba” (Mk 14:36), “Babbi” (Mt 23:7, 8; Jn 1:38, 49), and “Hosanna” (Mt 21:9; Mk 11:9, 10; Jn 12:13) — but Luke either omits them or uses Greek equivalents.

Luke quotes the OT more sparingly than Matthew, and when citing OT passages, he nearly always employs the LXX, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. Furthermore, most of Luke’s OT citations are allusions rather than direct quotations, and many of them appear in Jesus’ words rather than Luke’s narrations (2:23, 24; 3:4-6; 4:4, 8, 10-12, 18, 19; 7:27; 10:27; 18:20; 19:46; 20:17. 18. 37, 42, 43; 22:37).

Luke, more than any of the other gospel writers, highlights the universal scope of the gospel invitation. He portrays Jesus as the Son of Man, rejected by Israel, and then offered to the world. As noted above, Luke repeatedly relates accounts of Gentiles, Samaritans, and other outcasts who found grace in Jesus’ eyes. This emphasis is precisely what we would expect from a close companion of the “apostle to the Gentiles” (Ro 11:13).

Yet some critics have claimed to see a wide gap between Luke’s theology and that of Paul. Ot os true that Luke’s gospel is practically devoid of terminology that is uniquely Pauline. Luke wrote with his own style. Yet the underlying theology is perfectly in harmony with that of the apostle’s. The centerpiece of Paul’s doctrine was justification by faith (Ro 3:24). Luke also highlights and illustrates justification by faith in many of the incidents and parables he related, chiefly the account of the Pharisee and the publican (18:9-14); the familiar story of the Prodigal Son (15:11-32); the incidente at Simon’s house (7:36-50); and the salvation of Zacchaeus (19:1-10).

Outline

Luke Horizontal

God's character in Luke

  1. God is accessible - 23:45

  2. God is holy - 1:49

  3. God is long-suffering - 13:6-9

  4. God is merciful - 1:50, 78

  5. God is powerful - 11:20; 12:5

  6. God is promise keeper - 1:38, 45, 54, 55, 69-73

  7. God is provident - 2:1-4; 21:18, 32, 33; 22:35

  8. God is wise - 16:15

Christ in Luke

Luke , a physician himself, present Jesus as the Great Physician (5:31, 32; 15:4-7, 31, 32; 19:10). Luke examines Jesus' interaction with tax collectors, women, children, Gentiles, and Samaritans, demonstrating His unique ministry to the outcasts of society. Luke also describes Jesus as the Son of Man, emphasizing His offer of salvation to the world.

Notes