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Overview Of Luke's Gospel (part 1)

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St Luke (Part 1) 

What do we know about Luke? 

  • Scholars agree that there is no reason to doubt the tradition that Luke wrote the third Gospel after 70A.D. but we do not know where it was written.
  • Luke was a Gentile possibly from Macedonia and the only non-Jewish New Testament writer. He was a doctor by profession who travelled and suffered imprisonment in Caesarea with Paul .

What do we know about his Gospel? 

  • His Gospel is the first of a two-volume work. The Acts of the Apostles is the second volume.
  • The sources he used for his Gospel were Mark; a common source largely made up of the sayings of Jesus and his own material.
  • That his Greek is good; that he dates his events he considers important carefully; that he uses the literary conventions of Greek historians indicates a fair degree of literary style. 

Why did he write his Gospel? 

  • If Theophilus (ch.1:3) was a Greek who had become a Christian then Luke was giving him further instruction. If he was not already Christian then Luke was commending Christianity to him.
  • It may be Luke was defending Christianity against the charge of being treasonable. 

How does the Gospel unfold? 

  • One subject is treated at a time.
  • The transition from subject to subject is smooth and so the narrative flows.
  • Jesus is depicted as a healer and preacher who is on a journey.
  • Luke's version of Jesus' teaching is directed towards the moral guidance of men and women.
  • The theme of the Spirit and the Apostles being the chief recipients of Jesus' teaching links the Gospel with the Book of Acts. 

What should we notice about Luke's Gospel? 

  • His particular interest in the healing acts of Jesus. He was after all a doctor.
  • His portrayal of Jesus as sacrifice for and saviour of mankind - both Jew and Gentile.
  • His Gentile friendliness - his use of Greek to explain Hebrew words; he uses Greek "master" rather than Hebrew "rabbi"; seldom quotes the Old Testament; traces Jesus descent from Adam not Abraham.
  • His emphasis on Jesus at prayer.
  • His recognition of women in a society with a low regard for women.
  • His Gospel is a gospel of praise.
  • His Gospel is universal - he showed Jesus associating with Samaritans, Gentiles, outcasts and sinners.
  • His interest in the poor.
  • His belief that there is no limit to God's love. 

Also in Luke's Gospel  

Ch.3: 15-17;21-22 John prepares the way; Jesus is baptised; hears God's voice; feels his calling is confirmed. 

Ch.4: 14-21;22-30 Jesus begins preaching in the synagogues; is rejected in Nazareth. 

Ch.5:1-11 Jesus after preaching from Simon's boat persuades him to cast the nets once again; James and John and Simon leave their boats and follow Jesus. 

Ch.6:17-26 Jesus heals all who come to him; delivers what has come to be known as the Sermon on the Plain which corresponds closely to Matthew's Sermon on the Mount. 

Ch.6: 27-38 Jesus expands his teaching on what has become known as the Golden Rule. 

Ch.6: 39-49 Jesus tells a parable illustrating a sure foundation for living. 

See also St Luke (Part 2) 

Christian Education Committee, 2003


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