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Introduction to the Books of the Bible

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Luke's Gospel




BOOK : Luke

Description : 3rd of the three Synoptic (same or similar) Gospels

Author:  Luke a doctor and scholar (Col 4:14, Phile 24, 2 Tim 4:11) who worked with Paul.

Date written : Opinions vary, some suggest to A.D. 58-63, or the 70s or the 80s.

Chapters : 24


Rider: Accuracy of dating, authorship etc.

Depending on which scholar you read, when they wrote, and so on, dates and opinions about authors will vary because the truth is that we do not know these things definitely. Therefore hold the dates lightly although they will probably only vary a few years one way or another. As far as authorship is concerned we have tended to go along with ancient tradition, what the Early Church Fathers (senior leaders in the centuries following Christ) said. For more detail on each of these Gospels, please go to the INTRODUCTION TO THE GOSPELS page.


Brief Synopsis:

•  Details of the births of John the Baptist and Jesus

•  The baptism & temptation of Jesus and then the three years of ministry leading up to

    his death and resurrection.

•  Luke's Gospel appears to appeal particularly to the Greek Gentiles.  



Outline :


1:1-4 The Preface
1:5-2:52 The Coming of Jesus
1:5-56 The Annunciations
1:57-80 The Birth of John the Baptist
Ch.2 The Birth and Childhood of Jesus
3:1-4:13 The Preparation of Jesus for His Public Ministry
3:1-20 His Forerunner
3:21-22 His Baptism
3:23-38 His Genealogy
4:1-13 His Temptation
4:14-9:9 His Ministry in Galilee
4:14-41 The Beginning of the Ministry in Galilee
4:42-5:39 The First Tour of Galilee
6:1-11 A Sabbath Controversy
6:12-16 The Choice of the 12 Apostles
6:17-49 The Sermon on the Plain
7:1-18 Miracles in Capernaum and Nain
7:19-29 The Inquiry of John the Baptist
7:30-50 Jesus and the Pharisees
8:1-3 The Second Tour of Galilee
8:4-21 The Parables of the Kingdom
8:22-39 The Trip across the Sea of Galilee
8:40-9:9 The Third Tour of Galilee
9:10-50 His Withdrawal to Regions around Galilee
9:10-17 To the Eastern Shore of the Sea of Galilee
9:18-50 To Caesarea Philippi
9:51-13:21 His Ministry in Judea
9:51-62 Journey through Samaria to Judea
10:1-24 The Mission of the 70
10:25-37 The Lawyer and the Parable of the Good Samaritan
10:38-42 Jesus at Bethany with Mary and Martha
11:1-13:21 Teachings in Judea
13:22-19:27 His Ministry in and around Perea
13:22-30 The Narrow Door
13:31-35 Warning concerning Herod
14:1-23 At a Pharisee's House
14:24-35 The Cost of Discipleship
Ch. 15 The Parables of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin and the Prodigal Son
16:1-18 The Parable of the Shrewd Manager
16:19-31 The Rich Man and Lazarus
17:1-10 Miscellaneous Teachings
17:11-19 Ten Healed of Leprosy
17:20-37 The Coming of the Kingdom
18:1-8 The Persistent Widow
18:9-14 The Pharisee and the Tax Collector
18:15-17 Jesus and the Children
18:18-30 The Rich Young Ruler
18:31-34 Christ Foretells His Death
18:35-43 A Blind Beggar Given His Sight
19:1-10 Jesus and Zacchaeus
19:11-27 The Parable of the Ten Minas
19:28-24:53: His Last Days: Sacrifice and Triumph
19:28-44 The Triumphal Entry
19:45-48 The Cleansing of the Temple
Ch.20 The Last Controversies with the Jewish Leaders
Ch.21 The Olivet Discourse
22:1-38 The Last Supper
22:39-46 Jesus Praying in Gethsemane
22:47-65 Jesus' Arrest
22:66-23:25 Jesus on Trial
23:26-56 The Crucifixion
24:1-12 The Resurrection
24:13-49 The Post-Resurrection Ministry
24:50-53 The Ascension



Some of the Passages Unique to Luke


•  The birth accounts - Ch.1 & 2
•  Jesus rejected in the Nazareth synagogue (4:14-30)
•  Simon Peter's call to follow (5:1-11)
•  The anointing of Jesus by a sinner (7:37-39)
•  The mission of the seventy (10:1)
•  The story of Mary & Martha (10:38-42)
•  The conditions for discipleship (14:28-33
•  The conversion of Zacchaeus (19:1-10)
•  The two robbers (23:39-43)
•  The walk to Emmaus (24:13-35
•  The farewell instructions and departure (24:36-53)


He also alone records

•  the seven times Jesus prayed alone (3:21, 5:16, 6:12, 9:18,29, 11:1, 23:34,46)
•  the question and answer session with John the Baptist (3:10-14)
•  Jesus weeping over Jerusalem (19:39-44)
•  the bloody sweat (22:42)
•  Jesus being sent from Pilate to Herod (23:7-12)
•  Jesus' words to the woman on the way to the Cross (23:27-31)


Parables that are unique to Luke are

•  Two debtors (7:40-43)
•  The Good Samaritan (10:25-37)
•  The Friend at Midnight (11:5-8)
•  The Rich Fool (12:13-21)
•  The Watching Servants (12:35-38)
•  The Faithful Steward (12:41-48)
•  The Barren Fig Tree (13:6-9)
•  The Chief Seats (14:7-11)
•  The Great Banquet (14:15-24)
•  The Lost Coin (15:8-10)
•  The Lost Son (15:11-32)
•  The Shrewd Manager (16:1-12)
•  The Rich Man and Lazarus (16:19-31)
•  The Unprofitable servants (17:7-10)
•  The Persistent widow (18:1-8)
•  The Pharisee and Tax Collector (18:9-14)
•  The Ten Minas (19:11-27)


Healings unique to Luke are

•  The widow's son raised (7:11-17)
•  The crippled woman (13:10-17)
•  Man with dropsy (14:1-3)
•  Ten lepers (17:11-19)
•  High priest's servant's ear (22:49-51)


A Comment from the first of our meditations in Luke:

“So here is Luke, a scholar as we shall later see, who has become a Christian, and has travelled with Paul's apostolic team and who, like others, realises that the time has come when it would be useful to actually put into print what the early church already knew and taught. False teachings were already beginning to arise as the enemy sought to sow seeds of confusion, and the apostles were getting older with a growing realisation that they would not always be around to defend the truth and testify to what had actually happened. Luke hadn't been one of those apostles but he was clearly a scholar who wrote using both classical Greek and Hebrew styles of writing. He writes, as we shall see, with great integrity. Although others had written, his sources show there are aspects of the Gospel story that have not been put together previously, and his analytical mind wants to ensure they are included. As a doctor he comes with insights and understandings about people that are absent in Matthew and Mark. There is a touch of humanity in his writings that go beyond that of the others, expressing sympathy, forgiveness and the importance of prayer.


Key Verses:



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.

- this preface reveals the credibility of Luke – observe the underlined language, that of a credible investigator, and educated scholar.


Historical & Geographical Detail

3:1,2 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar--when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene-- during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert.

- note seven historic figures and five geographical locations anchoring this account well and truly in history.



Concluding Comments


Much more could be said about Luke and his Gospel but the above will suffice to whet the appetite of the reader to really get to grips with this Gospel.



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