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The Gospel According to Luke

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For Narrative Lectionary Preachers

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An Introduction to Luke

Luke is one of the two gospel writers who was not an eyewitness to the life of Jesus. So, what gives Luke the right to write a gospel? First of all, Luke was a contemporary and traveling partner of the apostle Paul. It is important to understand that the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts are a two volume set, written by Luke. During the second half of Paul’s missionary journeys Luke joined Paul and became his traveling companion. This would mean that while Paul spent a couple of years in prison in Caesarea, Luke had free access to Peter, Mary, and any other eyewitnesses to Jesus’ life that were still alive in Jerusalem, Judea, and Galilee. Secondly, it is important to note that Luke was an educated man and an excellent historian. While he may not have been an eyewitness, he was a competent historian who had access to interview those who lived the story. When you read Luke’s gospel in its original Greek language you will find that the use of language is highly skilled and beautiful in form.

Luke himself was a physician. We know very little about him, but several theories have been proposed. One interesting theory proposes that Luke may have been the slave of a wealthy Greek man who paid to have Luke trained as a physician in order to serve the estate. This land owner took a liking to Paul and gave Luke to Paul when he became ill. Paul, in turn, set Luke free and welcomed him as a Christian brother. Whether this is true or not, we do know that Luke was dedicated to his friend and spiritual mentor Paul.

Recommended Commentaries

Chen, Diane G. Luke: A New Covenant Commentary. Edited by Michael F. Bird and Craig Keener. New Covenant Commentary Series. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2017.

Craddock, Fred B. Luke. Interpretation, a Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Louisville, KY: John Knox Press, 1990.

González, Justo L. Luke. Edited by Amy Plantinga Pauw and William C. Placher. Belief: A Theological Commentary on the Bible. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010.

Tiede, David L. Luke. Augsburg Commentary on the New Testament. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1988.

Wright, Tom. Luke for Everyone. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2004.

Other Online Resources to Study Luke

Enjoy the Luke-Acts series from The Bible Project

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