The Book of Luke
Luke 1:1-4 - Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.
Luke 2:49 - And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?
Luke 19:42 - Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things [which belong] unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
Luke in The New Testament - A Brief Overview
Introduction to The Gospel of Luke
The Word Gospel. The third book of the English Bible that most of us read from is the Gospel of Luke. Luke is the third of the four gospel writings, yet there is only one gospel about Jesus Christ and there are four different writers: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The word "Gospel" means "good news", and the good news is about Jesus Christ dying on the cross and then 3 days later conquering death and rising from the dead, offering salvation to all mankind, this is the Gospel.
Summary of The Book of Luke
Brief Summary. Jesus was the most perfect man of all men, the perfect Son of God. Completely devoted to everyone, especially the weak. He was the most humble man that ever lived, and not only a servant, but the lowest slave. He completely put others first before He thought of Himself, the Son of man.
Purpose. Luke seems to portray Jesus as an ideal man, very appealing to the Greek culture which exalted reason, philosophy, the human mind, and beauty. Luke's writings were orderly and classical. he mentions that Jesus spent the whole night in prayer before He chose His apostles (Luke 6:12-16), unlike the other Gospel accounts. There are also statements in Luke that speak of His purity more clearly, like when the centurion said "certainly this was a righteous man" (Luke 23:47). The other Gospel accounts seem to have a different focus in their portrayal of Christ. Luke also seems to reveal Christianity as a religion for all mankind and not just the Jews. For example, the lineage of Jesus is traced past Abraham all the way back to Adam the first man. Jesus is seen in Luke as a friend of sinners and a savior to anyone who would believe in Him. When considering both of Luke's works it is clear that he traces the origin, heart, and description of the Christian movement from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, to Antioch, to Macedonia, to Achaia, to Ephesus, and finally to Rome, the capital of the world. He examined eyewitnesses, knew personally and had close contact with the main followers of Christ like Mark and James, the brother of the Lord, Paul. Silas (a member of the Jerusalem Church) and no doubt many others.
Audience. Luke addressed his account of the life of Christ and the Acts of the Apostles to a man named Theophilus, yet it possesses a style that would appeal to all intelligent gentiles and would certain appeal to any believer. Theophilus could have been a gentile convert to Christianity who desired to know more of the facts surrounding the life of Jesus Christ, possibly a wealthy contributor to Christianity, no one can say for certain. The name Theophilus means "lover of God" and has been supposed by many to be a euphemism for all lovers of God in Christ.
Authorship. The gospel of Luke does not proclaim who the author is within the document, yet the historical information we have from the first two centuries of the Christian Era was unanimous in concluding that the writer was Luke. Luke also wrote the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 1:1) as a continuing document, from the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus to Paul's imprisonment and ministry in Rome.
Date. Since the Book of Acts was written while Paul was in Rome, the date of Acts would be around 62 AD, and since the Gospel of Luke was mentioned as a "former 'treatise," Luke must have been written a few years earlier.
Place. It cannot be determined with certainty where the Gospel of Luke was written. Some of the early Church writers said it was written in Achaia. Many think Acts was most likely written in Rome and therefore Luke must have also. One common speculation is that the Gospel of Luke was written in Caesarea Maritima while Paul was in prison there a couple years before his journey to Rome.
The Man Luke. Luke was a gentile (non-Jew) and was not mentioned during the actual life of Jesus, but afterward he became a Christian under the influence of Paul the Apostle. Luke was described by Paul in his letter to the Church in Colossae as "the beloved physician" (Colossians 4:14). Luke was also mentioned as a companion of Paul on his missionary journeys, and on his third and last missionary journey he said that "only Luke is with me" (2 Timothy 4:11). Luke must have been an amazing man because he claims in the beginning of his account of the life of Christ that he "investigated everything carefully" (Luke 1 :1- 4). This would mean that he would have spoken with eyewitnesses to the miracles and events surround the ministry of Jesus. He was clearly persuaded by the facts that he was told and became a devoted follower of Christ and a companion of Paul until the end. There can be no doubt that Luke was a gentile believer, even his name "Luke" is a gentiloe name. Also in Colossians 4 it mentions the names Epaphras, Demas and Luke in contrast with those "of the circumcision." It is interesting to note that early Church leaders Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, and Eusebius mentioned in their writings that Luke was influenced by Paul when he wrote the third Gospel account.
Language. Luke was written in Greek, he was a gentile believer and uses a style similar to other important Greek documents. He uses a popular, non-literary Greek style, omitting Semitic and Latin "barbarisms"; yet, he manifests a rich vocabulary and a high degree of literary artistry, as seen in his ability to sketch the character of an individual in a few graphic strokes of the pen. A noted French philosopher and critic of the Bible called the book of Luke "the most beautiful book ever written."
Historical Trustworthiness. Throughout the history of the Church and especially during the 1800's their has been many targeted attacks on the historical trustworthiness of Luke's writings. As the science of archaeology increased technologically and archaeological discoveries from the first century were being uncovered, Luke's writings were emerged as extremely accurate. Luke has been heralded by many scholars as one of the ablest and most accurate historians of the ancient world.
Outline of the Book of Luke
His Birth, Childhood, Early Ministry - Chapters 1:1-4:13
His Ministry in Galilee - Chapters 4:14-9:50
His Journey to Jerusalem, Ministry - Chapters 9:51-21:38
His Rejection and Death - Chapters 22:1-23:56
His Resurrection and Ascension - Chapter 24:1-53
The Name Jesus In Ancient Hebrew Text
"Yeshua" in First Century Hebrew Text. This is how the name "Jesus" would have been written in ancient Hebrew documents. The four letters or consonants from right to left are Yod, Shin, Vav, Ayin (Y, SH, OO, A). Jesus is the Greek name for the Hebrew name Joshua or Y'shua which means "The LORD or Yahweh is Salvation".
Outline of the Life of Jesus in Harmony
Simple Map of First Century Israel
Topographical Map of First Century Israel
Map of the Ministry of Jesus
Map of the Roads in Ancient Israel
Map of the Roman Empire