Survey of the Bible - Luke

Text: Luke 1:1-4


I.         Luke states his purpose up front in his gospel account, to set forth an orderly or chronological account of Jesus based on interviews of eyewitnesses - Luke 1:1-4

            A.        In other words, Luke is written as an historical account.

            B.        He states there have been other attempts at accounts – whether theses were inspired accounts (referring to Matthew and Mark) or just secular writings is not known.

            C.        Author

                        1.         Both Luke and Acts are a two volume work, being addressed to the same person and written in the same style.

                        2.         The sections of Acts where “we” is used, indicating that the author was a part of the group, tells us that it was a close associate of Paul.

                                    a.         Only two associates of Paul are not named in Acts: Titus and Luke

                                    b.         Luke was a close companion of Paul - Colossians 4:14; Philemon 24

                                    c.         He was with Paul at the end - II Timothy 4:11

                        3.         The earliest manuscript of Luke that includes the title, Papyrus Bodmor XIV, dated A.D. 200, has “The Gospel According to Luke.”

                        4.         The early Christian writers all attribute the book to Luke

                        5.         Luke is believed to be a Gentile because in Colossians 4:10-14, Paul lists three fellow Jews and then three others, of which one is Luke.

                                    a.         “In their own language” in Acts 1:19 also hints that Luke was not Jewish.

                                    b.         Luke was with Paul when he last visited Jerusalem - Acts 21:15-17

                                                (1)       It was suggested that Paul bring four men to the temple for their purification rites so that Jews would see that Paul wasn't hostile to the Old Law. But the idea backfired - Acts 21:27-29

                                                (2)       Though Luke was a well known companion of Paul, it was the Gentile Trophimus who got the crowd riled, assuming he came with Paul into the Temple (though he had not been there).

                                                (3)       Thus by inference we suppose that Luke was possibly a proselyte.

                                    c.         The quality of the Greek in Luke and Acts hints that he was Greek.

                                    d.         Traditions say Luke was from Antioch of Syria, never married, and died at the age of 84.

            D.        Dating

                        1.         “Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia.” [Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3.1.1]

                        2.         “Again, in the same books, Clement gives the tradition of the earliest presbyters, as to the order of the Gospels, in the following manner:  The Gospels containing the genealogies, he says, were written first. The Gospel according to Mark had this occasion. As Peter had preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had followed him for a long time and remembered his sayings, should write them out. And having composed the Gospel he gave it to those who had requested it. When Peter learned of this, he neither directly forbade nor encouraged it. But, last of all, John, perceiving that the external facts had been made plain in the Gospel, being urged by his friends, and inspired by the Spirit, composed a spiritual Gospel” [Eusebius Pamphilius, Church History, 6.14.5-7]

                        3.         Acts ends with Paul’s first imprisonment, about A.D. 62. Luke was written prior, so it would probably come about A.D. 60.

II.        Purpose

            A.        As mentioned, Luke states he is writing an historical account of Jesus using eyewitness accounts.

                        1.         There are several references to people who remembered the events, such as Mary in Luke 1:66; 2:19, 51.

            B.        It is written to Theophilus, which means “Friend of God.”

                        1.         Unfortunately it was a common name, so we don’t know who.

                        2.         The title “most noble” would be for someone of high social standing

            C.        Luke translates Aramaic terms to Greek

            D.        He explains Jewish customs and geography

            E.        Luke alone records several events that are of interest to Gentiles

                        1.         Jesus came for all the world - Luke 2:10, 32

                        2.         Historical details - Luke 3:6

                        3.         God had interest in the Gentiles - Luke 4:25-27

                        4.         Parables and events where a Samaritan was the hero - Luke 10:25-37; 17:16

            F.        All of this indicates that Luke was aiming to a Greek audience.

III.       Character of the Book

            A.        Emphasizes the humanity of Jesus, spending more time on Jesus’ lineage and childhood - Luke 2:40, 51-52

            B.        More emphasis on women, children, the poor, sinners, etc.

            C.        Records more about Jesus’ prayers, giving 11 of the 18 instances of Jesus praying.

            D.        Records more parables (23). 18 parables in Luke are not found in the other gospels.

IV.      Outline

            A.        The childhood of Jesus - Luke 1-3:23

                        1.         Birth of John - Luke 1:5-80

                        2.         Birth and childhood of Jesus - Luke 2

                        3.         John preparing the way for Jesus - Luke 3:1-22

            B.        The ministry of Jesus - Luke 3:23-9:50

            C.        The growing belief and growing opposition to Jesus - Luke 9:51-19:27

            D.        The crucifixion of Jesus - Luke 19:28-23:56

            E.        The proof of Jesus - His resurrection - Luke 24

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