"All that Jesus began to
do and teach."
Luke’s Gospel is the
longest book in the New Testament. Matthew's Gospel
contains more chapters, but less text; however,
Luke's chapters are longer. About one-half of the
information found in Luke is not found in the other
Luke was uniquely equipped to be the author of the
history of the Great Physician. Luke was not a
disciple of Jesus during His earthly ministry.
However, he had excellent opportunities to acquire
all the authoritative information necessary for his
two books because he was an intimate friend and
traveling companion of the Apostle Paul. Luke was a
Greek Christian and Gentile Medical Doctor (Acts
16:10-17; 20:5-21; 27:1-28:16) whom Paul addresses
as "the beloved physician" (Colossians 4:10, 14;
Philemon 24). He was a close companion and friend of
the Apostle Paul who apparently stayed with him
several years in Rome (2 Timothy 4:11), and Luke was
with Paul when he was taken to Rome as prisoner of
the Roman Emperor, and later was with Paul at the
apostle's death (2 Timothy 4:11). Therefore, he had
rich opportunities to obtain firsthand knowledge of
the information contained in the Gospel as well as
the Acts of the Apostles. He is probably the only
Gentile (non–Jewish) author in the New Testament.
DATE & PLACE:
Luke wrote around A. D. 60, possibly at Caesarea
during Paul's imprisonment (Acts 24:27), and before
the fall of Jerusalem. Another possibility was at
Rome while Paul was awaiting trial before Nero (A.
D. 64). Luke would have had ample time to put the
finishing touches on the Gospel before writing Acts.
Luke is a scholarly, careful writer, with detailed
observation, a cultured man with an unusually rich
vocabulary, and is people-oriented. Luke 1:1-4 is
the best Greek in N. T. From this passage we know he
was not an eye-witness of what he wrote. However, he
carefully sought out and evaluated the material he
gathered. He contacted eyewitnesses (1:2), evaluated
his evidence (1:3), and wrote under the guidance of
the Holy Spirit with the goal that his friend
Theophilus might be instructed in the truth about
Jesus (1:4). Luke was an earnest research student
who carefully and meticulously documented his
writing. Luke wrote to fellow Greeks and made a
great effort to provide explanations for various
Jewish customs and feasts. He frequently substitutes
Greek equivalents for Hebrew names. The author also
comes across as unusually sensitive toward women, a
man of prayer, a kind and humble man with a
sympathetic heart for all people in need. The Gospel
is saturated with an atmosphere of joy and praise.
The rich vocabulary,
style and language of the Greek originals of Luke
and Acts conclusively prove that the tradition is
correct in ascribing both the Gospel of Luke and
Acts to the same author. Acts 1:1 states the author
of Acts is the same person as the author of the
trustworthiness of Luke is beyond question. No other
historian of antiquity has been proven to be so
remarkably reliable as this Greek physician. Luke
attests to the fact that our Christian faith is
based not on speculations of theories but on
definite historical facts. Tradition could hardly be
stronger. No doubts were ever raised towards Luke.
Luke would have had many
opportunities to discuss the work of the Gospel of
Mark with its author because he knew Mark personally
(cf. Colossians 4:10 and Philemon 24). Luke had
access to a very wide range of reliable written
material as well as oral sources of information. The
discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls attests to the
abundance of writings among religious Jewish circles
about the time of the beginning of our Christian
era. At Jerusalem, Caesarea and elsewhere, Luke with
his inquiring mind and training would have made the
best use of these unique opportunities to gather as
much information as possible from the original
sources and eyewitnesses of the life, death and
resurrection of Christ. As a result we have in
Luke's Gospel the most extensive and comprehensive
account of the life of Christ.
The Gospel of Luke is universal in its appeal, and
directed especially to Gentiles and Greeks in
particular. Matthew, on the other hand, wrote
primarily for the Jews, and Mark for the Romans.
Jesus the Son of Man came to offer salvation to the
whole world (19:10). Luke presents Christ as the
savior of the world. Luke applies the term "servant"
of God in the sense in which Isaiah spoke of the
Messiah as the Ebed JHVH.
Luke 19:10 reads, "The Son of Man has come to seek
and save that which was lost."
The book is addressed to Theophilus, whose name
means "friend of God" (1:3; Acts 1:1). He was
probably a well-educated and important person,
perhaps another physician. Luke realized that only
when the Christian faith was based on absolutely
reliable facts would it be able to win its way in
the world. Luke fulfilled this urgent need for a
firmly established truth in the field of religion
among the highly educated people of his day.
Religious men like Luke and Theophilus yearned for
reliable knowledge regarding things eternal and
Luke's purpose is clearly stated in 1:1-4; 19:10.
Here is the historical account of how the living God
in His redeeming grace through Jesus Christ entered
into the life of mankind, seeking to save the lost.
This is not an ordinary detailed biography of our
Lord. He only made use of material that served his
purpose. His aim was to proclaim as clearly and
powerfully as possible (in the limited space
available in a parchment roll) Jesus Christ, the Son
of God, as the all-sufficient Savior of the world.
He progressively reveals the Son of God and Savior.
Watch for words like Son of Man, love and sinners.
UNIQUENESS OF LUKE'S
1. Jesus is our Kinsman
redeemer. He is our next of kin who came to save us.
2. Christ is more than
human; He is the Son of God.
3. Luke's Gospel is
universal. This Gospel has a broader world vision
than any other Gospel. It is a Gospel for all men
everywhere. The Greeks' culture, concern for the
body, and human beauty comes through in Luke. He
presents Jesus as the Perfect Man who reveals the
folly of sin and the beauty of holiness.
4. Luke is interested in
people: individuals, social outcasts, women,
children, social relationships, poverty and wealth.
Jesus cares for the outcasts and oppressed. It has
been called the "Gospel of Womanhood" (chapters 1
and 2; 7:11-13; 8:1-3; 10:38-42; 21:1-4; 23:27-31,
49). The ministry of women in the life of Christ is
demonstrated. Luke has more to say about the poor,
the neglected, and outcast than any other Gospel.
Some examples are: Zacchaeus (19:1-10), the penitent
thief (23:39-43), the prodigal son (15:11-32), the
publican (18:9-14), the Good Samaritan (10:29-37),
5. The author has a
special interest in medicine (4:38; 7:15; 8:55;
14:2; 18:15; 22:50).
6. Luke places special
interests on prayer and joyfulness. It is the Gospel
of song, praise, and prayer. The prayers of Jesus
are reported, along with parables that show the
results of prayer, and commands by Jesus. Cf. 3:21;
5:16; 6:12; 9:18, 28-29; 10:21; 11:1; 22:39-46;
23:34, 46. This Gospel is full of song (1:46-55;
1:67-79; 2:14; 2:29-32).
7. More references are
found in Luke to the Holy Spirit than in Matthew and
Mark combined. The Holy Spirit is seen empowering
John the Baptist, Mary, Elizabeth, Zacharias,
Simeon, and Jesus. With the ascension of Jesus at
the end of the Gospel, the emphasis on the Spirit is
further developed in the book of Acts beginning with
chapter two. Luke's Gospel must always be considered
with its sequel, the book of Acts.
8. Luke's purpose is
theological: Jesus moves toward Jerusalem in order
Title: Introduction to
Gospel of Luke
Series: Introduction to