Gospel of Luke

Author: The Gospel of Luke does not specifically identify its author. From Luke 1:1-4 and Acts 1:1-3, it is clear that the same author wrote both Luke and Acts. The tradition from the earliest days of the church has been that Luke, a companion of the Apostle Paul, wrote both Luke and Acts (Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:11).

Date of Writing: The Gospel of Luke was likely written between 58 and 65 A.D.

Purpose of Writing: Luke's is the longest and most thorough of the four Gospels. Luke, a Gentile physician, writes both this Gospel and the book of Acts to aid a new Christian named Theophilus. The name "Theophilus" means "loved by God" or "lover of God." It is unclear whether Theophilus refers to a specific person of that name, or to believers in Christ in general. As a missionary companion of the Apostle Paul, Luke is able to present a detailed historical account of Jesus' life. Luke presents Jesus' humanity more than any of the other Gospels.

Key Verses: Luke 1:1-4, "Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught."

Luke 3:16, "John answered them all, "I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."

Luke 23:33-34, "When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals-one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

Luke 24:1-3, "On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus."

Brief Summary: Called the most beautiful book ever written, Luke begins by telling us about Jesus' parents; the birth of His cousin, John the Baptist; Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem, where Jesus is born in a manger; and the genealogy of Christ through Mary. Jesus' public ministry reveals His perfect compassion and forgiveness through the stories of the prodigal son, the rich man and Lazarus, and the good Samaritan. While many believe in this unprejudiced love that surpasses all human limits, many others challenge and oppose the claims of Jesus. Christ's followers are encouraged to count the cost of discipleship, while His enemies seek His death on the Cross. Finally, Jesus is betrayed, tried, sentenced and crucified. But the grave cannot hold Him! His Resurrection assures the continuation of His ministry of seeking and saving the lost.

Practical Application: Jesus understands our weaknesses and temptations and our trials. Luke, with the skill of a surgeon, probed for the truth so he could tell this exact truth to his friend, Theophilus. Did Luke have any idea that millions of us would benefit from his study? Probably not! He was only sharing Jesus' understanding and love with a friend. Can you imagine what would happen if we all did the same?

Recommended Resources: Luke, NIV Application Commentary by Darrell Bock.
Luke, Moody Gospel Commentary by C. Marvin Pate.
Luke, Holman New Testament Commentary by Trent Butler.
Gospel of Luke, New International Commentary on the New Testament by Joel Green.

Related Topics:

Gospel of Matthew

Gospel of Mark

Gospel of John

Book of Acts

Book of Romans

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Gospel of Luke