Tuesday, March 16, 2010


The Gospel of Luke

“THE four walls and the twelve gates of the Seer looked in different directions, but together they guarded, and opened into, one City of God. So the four Gospels look in different directions; each has its own peculiar aspect and inscription; but together they lead towards, and unveil, one Christ, "which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." They are the successive quarterings of the one Light. We call them "four" Gospels, though in reality they form but one, just as the seven arches of color weave one bow; and that there should be four, and not three or five, was the purpose and design of the Mind which is above all minds.

“Turning to the third Gospel, its opening sentences strike a key-note unlike the tone of the other three. Matthew, the Levite Apostle, schooled in the receipt of custom—where parleying and preambling were not allowed—goes to his subject with sharp abruptness, beginning his story with a "genesis," "the book of the generation of Jesus Christ." Mark, too, and John, without staying for any prelude, proceed at once to their portrayals of the Divine Life, each starting with the same word "beginning"—though between the "beginning" of St. Mark and that of St. John there is room for an eternity. St. Luke, on the other hand, stays to give to his Gospel a somewhat lengthy preface, a kind of vestibule, where we become acquainted with the presence and personality of the verger, before passing within the temple proper.” --- Expositor’s Bible Commentary.

Luke’s “intimate acquaintance with Jewish customs, and his facility in Hebraic Greek, seem to show that he was an early convert to the Jewish faith;… His fluency in classical Greek confirms his Gentile origin. The time when he joined Paul’s company is clearly indicated in the Acts by his changing (at Acts 16:10) from the third person singular ("he") to the first person plural ("we"). From that time he hardly ever left the apostle till near the period of his martyrdom (2 Timothy 4:11).” --- Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary.

Writer: Luke, the beloved physician, Colossians 4:14, author of Acts; both books being addressed to the same person. Luke was a close friend and traveling companion of Paul, as is shown in his personal allusions recording the journeys of the apostle. See in the book of Acts where the author changes the pronouns to "we" and "us," indicating that he himself was present at these times, Acts 16:10; 20:6; 27:1; 28:16.

Many students see something of the stamp of Paul’s doctrine in Luke’s gospel. The exact date of the writing of the gospel is unknown. But if it were written after Luke came under Paul’s influence, it would be quite natural that the latter should give some coloring to the narrative.

To Whom Addressed: To Theophilus, an unknown person. Internal evidence indicates that the book was written especially for the Gentiles. This is inferred from the fact that the writer takes pains to explain Jewish customs and sometimes substitutes Greek names for Hebrew.

Purpose: To give a connected and orderly narrative of the life of Christ as seen by eye witnesses, Luke1:1-4.

Key Verse: Luke 1:4, “That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.”

Distinctive Features:

1) It is a Gospel of the Universal Grace of God, Luke 2:32; 3:6; 24:47.

2) It is the Gospel of "The Son of Man." It emphasizes Christ’s sympathetic attitude toward the poor, the lowly, and the outcasts. The Poor disciples, Luke 6:20, the sinful woman, Luke 7:37, Mary Magdalene, Luke 8:2, the Samaritans, Luke 10:33, publicans and sinners, Luke 15:1, the deserted beggar, Luke 16:20-21, the lepers, Luke 17:12, the dying thief, Luke 23:43, etc.

3) It is a Devotional Gospel; it especially emphasizes prayer.

a. It contains three parables on prayer not found in the other gospels:

1. The friend at midnight, Luke 11:5-8.

2. The unjust judge, Luke 18:1-8.

3. The Pharisee and publican, Luke 18:9-14.

b. It contains Christ’s prayers:

1. At his baptism, Luke 3:21.

2. In the wilderness, Luke 5:16.

3. Before choosing the disciples, Luke 6:12.

4. At the transfiguration, Luke 9:29.

5. Before giving the Lord’s Prayer, Luke 11:1.

6. For Peter, Luke 22:32.

7. In the garden of Gethsemane, Luke 22:44.

8. On the cross, Luke 23:46, etc.

4) In its early chapters it strikes the note of joy and praise:

a. The words of the angel to Mary, Luke 1:28-33.

b. Mary’s song, Luke 1:46-55.

c. Of Zacharias, Luke 1:68-79.

d. Of the heavenly angels, Luke 2:13-14.

e. The rejoicing of Simeon, Luke 2:29-32.

5) It greatly honors womanhood. Women appear prominently in Luke’s narrative.

a. In Luke 1, Mary, Elisabeth; Mary and her sister Martha.

b. In Luke 10, the daughters of Jerusalem.

c. In Luke 23:27, several widows are mentioned. See also Luke 2:37; 4:26; 7:12; 18:3; 21:2.

6) The Biography of Christ is more complete in Luke than in either of the other Gospels. About one half of the material in this book is not in the others. Many of the most important utterances of our Lord, and striking incidents of his life are recorded in this one gospel. Examples of this are:

a. The draught of fishes, Luke 5:6.

b. Raising the widow’s son, Luke 7:11-15.

c. The ten lepers, Luke 17:12.

d. Malchus healed, Luke 22:51.

Other incidents and saying recorded only by Luke:

1) Christ weeping over Jerusalem, Luke 19:41;

2) Reference to the conversation of Moses and Elias on the Mount of Transfiguration, Luke 9:30,31;

3) the bloody sweat, Luke 22:44;

4) Christ before Herod, Luke 23:8;

5) Christ’s words to the women of Jerusalem {#Luke 23:28;

6) the penitent thief, Luke 23:40;

7) the walk to Emmaus, Luke 24:13-31.

A Brief Summary of the Book:

1) The introduction, Luke 1:1-4:44. The birth of Jesus and incidents connected with his early life up to the time of his baptism and temptation, Luke 1:5--4:13.

2) The beginning of his public ministry, mainly in Galilee, Luke 4:14--9:50.

3) The journey toward Jerusalem, through Samaria and Perea; the ministry mainly in Perea, Luke 9:51--19:28.

4) The last days, including the events of Passion Week and the crucifixion, Luke 19:29—23:55.

5) Events connected with the Resurrection and the Ascension, Luke 24:1-51.

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