Three questions to ask before reading any book:
- Who is the author?
- When was the book written?
- Why were they writing?
Answers concerning the Gospel of Luke:
Author: St. Luke
- Traveling companion of St. Paul (“we” passages during the latter part of Acts)
- Gentile follower of Jesus
- Most likely a doctor
- Medical language found within the Gospel
- References of Luke by Paul
- Colossians 4:10-14 – Luke is Paul’s doctor while he is in prison
- Philemon 23-24
- 2 Timothy 4:9-11
- “Luke the Historian”
- Left ‘date markers’ in the text to date
- Names of Roman and local governmental officials, events, etc.
- The difficulty is that these ‘date markers’ are hard for us in 2012 to date as we don’t have all the details concerning that time period
- Scholars have three proposed date ranges
- 60-62 AD
- 80-85 AD
- The Second Century (100-199 AD)
- Each have some difficulties, however the first date range has the least problems and is backed up by tradition and the early Church Fathers
- It also allows for Volume Two (i.e. the book of Acts) to be written before the fall of Jerusalem
The purpose is a tad easier as Luke tells us:
1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a] among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1-4)
Furthermore we can look at the text itself and see what is emphasized (i.e. what point is Luke trying to make?) When we do that, we see that Luke’s primary message is that “an event has taken place, an event that is being gladly announced. This event fulfills Old Testament messianic expectations and is focused or personified in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.” [Derek Mophew, “The Mission of the Kingdom”, pg 42]
Sub-points (or focuses) [taken from Derek Mophew, “The Mission of the Kingdom”, pg 32]
- The new or messianic age has dawned, fulfilling OT expectations and inaugurating the relentless and determined will of God
- Its focus in the messianic King Jesus
- It comes through the power of the Holy Spirit
- Jesus the messiah brings healing and salvation
- It spreads to all nations
- This salvation includes previously excluded groups: sinners, the sick, Gentiles, Samaritans, the poor, women and children.
- It spreads through the proclamation of the word
- It spreads through healing and phenomena of power and revelation
- Those who received this salvation experience forgiveness of sins and respond with song, praise, prayer and wonder.
- The message has financial and social implications
High Level Outline
- Ch. 1:1-2:25 – The births of John the Baptist and Jesus
- Ch. 3:1-4:13 – Preparations for Jesus’ ministry
- Ch. 4:14-9:50 – Jesus in Galilee
- Ch. 9:51-19:27 – Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem
- Ch. 19:28-24:43 – Jesus in Jerusalem: His death and resurrection