THE BOOK OF LUKE
THE BOOK OF LUKE
STUDY ON - THE BOOK OF LUKE
T R E A S U R E... S E E K E R S ... I N ... T H E ... O L D ... T E S T A M E N T - LUKE
'Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path......Where your treasure is
there is your heart also'
THE BOOK OF LUKE
One of the notable things which is missing from Luke, is that the author fails to identify himself. However this is not really much of a problem, as from the earliest manuscripts it is clear people have made up their minds that the author is indeed Luke. However controversy and debate still goes on today as to who is the real author, this is I feel rather futile, as just by reading through Luke, there are more than enough clues to show that it is indeed Luke who is the author.
It is also worth noting that the Book of Acts was also written by Luke, and indeed the two go hand in hand and are referred to companion books, with Acts giving more details of the spreading of the Gospel where the Gospel of Luke deals with the life of Christ.
Luke is considered by many to simply be a historian as he did not witness the so called gospel events, but simply wrote about them from letters he received, hearing other eyewitness accounts, and in a number of places simply going back over existing references found in the Torah. It is generally accepted that Luke was written before Acts, there are two periods that are claimed it was written, 59-62 or in the 70s or 80s.
The Gospel of Luke was primarily written to Theophilus, 1v3, whos name means “one who loves God” . Theophilus was most likely a high ranking Roman official, someone who had enough money to sponsor this Gospel, print it and distribute it.
Although this was common practice at the time, it is clear that this Gospel was initially a document that was a personal instruction and account to Theophilus from Luke, this is obviously not a document just ment for one or two to read, but for all people to share and learn.
However Luke was more than just a historian, he was a very clever intelligent man, educated in Greek culture and classics. He studied ancient Hebrew history and was fluent in Aramaic. He also studied medicine and some say he spent some of his life as a ships doctor. Luke was also likely to have been a Roman Citizen.
The intelligence of Luke is also demonstrated in the writing of this Gospel. His vocabulary and style is very extensive and rich, which reflects his Classical Greek education and command of that language, 1:1-4 show this. He also can slip into a more Semtic style and language when needed, such as dealing with old testament and prophecy relating to Christ. He also has ability to deal sensitivity and in a style fitting of different peoples and cultures, which becomes obvious when you do realize he travelled extensively with Paul converting the gentiles across many countries and cities.
Lukes name, was probably a shortened version of Lucius, as there is evidence that he my have been Lucius of Cyrene. Luke was however, definitely born a Gentile, someone who was not a Jew. There is again much speculation as to when or even if Luke did become a Jew mainly from how Paul distinguishes him from his other Jewish companions and disciples, indeed Luke had already become a Christian by the time he met Paul, which also is a strong indication that he had no need to become a Jew.
This Gospel covers the works and teachings of Christ that are paramount to understanding the Kingdom of God and the way to Salvation and in particular how Christ was the fulfilment of Israel and prophecy. Being a Gentile, Luke shows some extraordinary insight into the fulfilment of this prophecy and goes into great detail to show how Christ fulfils this and shows this in a number of places, for example, when it was time for Christ to be circumcised, Mary and Joseph took him to the temple, 2:21-40
There they meet a man called Simeon who had been prompted by the Holy Spirit to turn up there. Simeon was a devout man of God who loved God, he was also “waiting for the consolation of Israel”, when he saw the Baby Jesus, He took him in his arms and cried out to God saying “Sovereign Lord as you have promised, You now dismiss your servant in peace, for my eyes have now seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for the revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”
Then as they entered the temple, a prophetess Anna daughter of Pheneul tribe of Asher who lived most of her life as a widow in the temple, praying and fasting praising God, when she saw the baby Jesus she too gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Israel.
Another indication of Lukes determination to show that Christ was indeed the Messiah, is made ultra clear yet again when we come to Christ’s lineage,. We all know the carol, “while shepherds watched their flocks by night, “with the line, “To you in Davids town this day is Born of Davids Line, the saviour who is Christ the Lord”, well that was prophecy , the messiah would have direct blood lines to that of David, and there in 3:23-37 Luke lists the entire genealogy of Christ.
Women played an important role with God and Christ, indeed many important things and symbolic gestures and prophecy all involved women. It is said that Christ freed and liberated women. This was not lost on Luke either, who gives far more examples of how Jesus dealt with and cared about women, than any other author, raising widows son, 7:11-17, Jesus anointed by sinful woman, 7:36-50 and at the home of Martha and Mary 11:38-41 for example. Its not just women who Luke points out that Jesus helped and cared for, but the sick and elderly, those who are broken and lost
Gospel of Luke dealing so heavily in salvation, also has the greatest number of miracles recorded along with the most parables, just beating Matthew to the title!
Luke also goes into far greater detail with the important events of Christs life and salvation, out of the 4 Gospels it is only Luke who records in more detail Christs words and significance of the breaking of Bread and Drinking of the Cup and wine., “this is my body broken for you , do this in remembrance of me,” etc 22:19-22
Lukes training in medicine also brings interesting insights into the Gospel, such as the observations over Christs death and how he “sweated blood” in the garden, something the others never really picked up on, being a physician he would have obviously noticed this as something strange but not unheard of, but knew it was unusual enough to record
Being Gentile would also obviously helped with the ministry to the Gentiles which he undertook with Paul. Luke travelled extensively with Paul, starting on Pauls second long Journey Luke stuck with Paul thick and thin right up to his imprisonment. You can read more about these amazing adventures in Acts though, but tempted as I am to mention these thigns, we are discussing his Gospel, so lets move onward!
Being such an active missionary in times of trouble and hatred, again just read in Acts how many times Luke and Paul were almost killed, and number of times they were imprisoned, it was almost inevitable that Luke was going to be Martyred.
But yet again this is much debated as to where and when and how.The ages for Lukes death are even debated, given as 74, 84 and 86. The main theory as to his death has him being hung on an olive tree by idolatrous Greek Priests in Boetia. His remains are now believe to be laying beneath the altar of Church of the Holy Apostles,
So there we have it ,, the Gospel written by a gentile who probably gave a better insight and more pointers and evidence to the Jews than the other disciples wrote, a Gospel that is used extensively to teach people the Gospel and to tell people who Christ was, even today.