It is a priceless gem in the Word of God. The gospel of Luke, written by the beloved (probably Gentile) physician, a master historian, tells the gospel of Jesus Christ from the perspective of the Greeks. It emphasizes Christ as the perfect man because He is also simultaneously the Son of God. There are characters, miracles, and stories that are unique only to this Gospel. We offer this article to help guide you into personal or small group Bible study, which will help you grow.
INTRODUCTION TO THE GOSPEL OF LUKE
The Gospel of Luke is an invaluable part of the Holy Bible. It was written originally for a single man named Theophilus (1:3), who was also the honoured recipient of the Book of Acts (1:1). Luke the beloved physician is an impeccable historian who seeks to convey – and he does so successfully – that Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, is the perfect Man. He was specifically targeting Gentiles, who with their ancient humanism/hellenism focused on the ideal man. Jesus is more than ideal, he is the Biblical ‘Son of Man,’ His favourite title for Himself. Luke’s Gospel has stories and named individuals found no where else. An in-depth study of this great Gospel, either alone or in a small group, will greatly enrich you.
GREEK NAME OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE
AUTHOR OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE
Luke’s name appears three times in the New Testament (Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 1:24). He is known as the ‘beloved physician.’ He is the author of both the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. The Gospel of Luke is the longest book in the New Testament. Both Luke plus Acts total twenty-eight percent of the New Testament. Luke wrote 2,158 verses of Scripture while Paul wrote 2,033.
Luke’s authorship of these two Bible books is not disputed, however, his ethnicity is. There is anecdotal evidence that he was a Gentile. If so, Luke would be the only Gentile author of the entire Bible. The options are simple: either Luke was a Hellenistic Jew from Antioch or he was a Jewish-friendly, Gentile-follower of Jesus.
So what is the evidence of Luke the Gentile? First, his Roman named is Lucanus. Second, in Colossians 4:10-14, there are two lists of men: the first list has three men who are “among the circumcision,” meaning they are Jews. Luke’s name is sandwiched in the second list which is, by implication, not of the circumcision, in other words, Gentile. Third, Luke’s Greek language abilities were superb and yet he refers “to their own language” (Acts 1:19), when speaking about local Jerusalemite Jews, as if to imply that he was not of them.
While we cannot be one-hundred percent sure if Luke was a Gentile or Jew, what we do know is that the beloved physician gave us two priceless and indispensable books of the New Testament. In the end, Luke’s ethnicity is not the burning issue: after all, the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts are the ‘Word of God’ for Jew and Gentile alike.
PURPOSE OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE
To give an orderly, factual, compelling, credible, and wholly accurate account of the life and gospel of Jesus Christ. The recipient of his writing was ‘most excellent Theophilus’ (lover of God), an obscure man of high status of whom we know absolutely nothing about. Until the Gospel of Luke was penned, the Gentile Church had no written account of the life of Jesus. Matthew’s Gospel was written for the Jews and Mark wrote his Gospel for the church at Rome. The fact that the genealogy of Jesus in Luke 3 goes all the way back to Adam is one of the signs that this Gospel account had Gentiles in mind.
As far as reaching the Gentiles is concerned, Luke achieved his objectives spectacularly. For example, in our day, the ‘Jesus Film’ based on the Gospel of Luke has brought millions of people to faith in Christ.
PORTRAIT OF CHRIST IN THE GOSPEL OF LUKE
(1:32) Son of the Highest; Son of David (Christ’s heavenly and earthly fathers are named in this verse)
(1:69) The Horn of Salvation
(1:78) The Dayspring
(2:11) Christ the Lord, Saviour
(2:25) The Consolation of Israel
(4:34) Jesus of Nazareth, Holy One of God
(6:5) Lord of the Sabbath
THEME OF THE BOOK OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE
To present to the Greeks and the world the Perfect Man, Perfect Messiah, Perfect Saviour. The Hellenists respected strength, wisdom, natural and inner beauty. Jesus was perfect, even as a twelve year old, speaking to the wise men at the Jerusalem temple. With the carpenter’s son from Nazareth, the reader of Luke’s Gospel gets a perfect picture of strength, compassion, inspiring humility, a man who works with his hands, receives outcasts, cares for women and children, and can even show manly emotion.
KEY VERSES OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE
‘For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost’ (19:10)
TIMING OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE
It is probable that the Gospel of Luke and Book of Acts were written before 70 AD, when Jerusalem fell to the Romans and Herod’s magnificent temple was destroyed. These events are not mentioned at all in Luke’s writing. As a great historian, they would have been included had these books been written later. Some sources date Luke’s Gospel around 60-63 AD.
TO BE CONTINUED