Exd & Cnq


κατα λουκαν
The Gospel According to Luke

  • Authorship
  • Traditionally, Luke "the beloved physician"
  • mentioned in 1 of Paul's undisputed letters (Phlm 24),
  • 2 disputed letters (Col 4:14, called "beloved physician" and 2 Tim 4:11)
  • Also in Eusebius, as a traveling companion to Paul.
    • assuming all are refs to the same Luke.
    • No evidence contradicts this tradition; none clearly confirms it either.
    • author was a well-educated Greek-speaker,
      • w/ intimate knowledge of the OT, esp. the Prophets. 
    • Possibly a Gentile; more likely a Diaspora Jew.
    • also wrote Acts of the Apostles,
      • & 2nd most significant contributor to the NT.
  • Date
  • Like Mt, Lk copied from Mk; therefore written after him.
    • Lk is less apocalyptic than Mk and Mt
      • but lacks hostility to Judaism in Jn.  
    • probably written @ the same time as Mt, but in a diff social setting.
    • 80-90 AD.
  • Location
  • cannot be determined with any confidence,
    • but the author was almost certainly writing in an urban environment outside of Palestine.
    • [possibly Antioch or Ephesus.]


  • Purpose
  • written to mostly Gentile Christians of varying social classes:
    • the wealthy neglected obligations to poor and oppressed,
      • because of expectations of Jesus' imminent return. 
      • shifts the focus of these expectations to the mission of the church.
  • concerned w/ showing Christianity as true 'heir' to Judaism
    • Through allusions to the prophets, Lk shows Jesus and the early church (in Acts) as being in continuity w/ the history and promises of Judaism.
  • seeks to justify Christianity to the Roman empire,
    • by focusing on the "innocence" of both Jesus and the community that carried on in his name.

In General

  • Lk combines Mk and Q with unique material (known as "L"), but there are differences:
  • Lk omits 2 sections of Mk:
    • Mark 6:45-8:26= "The Big Omission"
    • Mark 9:41-10:12= "The Little Omission"
  •  just over 1/2 of Lk is "L,"
    • so 51% of Lk is unique.
  • Some of it is memorable material in the NT:
    • "baby in a manger" story; shepherds at Jesus' birth.
    • Mary and Martha
    • Zachaeus the tax collector
    • "Road to Emmaus" story
    • parables
      • Good Samaritan
      • Prodigal Son
      • Rich Man and Lazarus
    • Some may come from a tradition also used by Jn.


  • [1] written to a specific person, "most excellent Theophilus."
    • means "lover of God."
      • a specific individual, or to anyone who "loves God"?
      • mentioned in opening vs of Lk and Acts.

  • [2] places Jesus' life in context of Greco-Roman history
    • author writes as an historian, attempts an "accurate" account of Jesus' life.
    • continued in Acts, basically a history of the early church.
    • [Compare Mk 1:4 to Lk 3:1-2, each introduces John the Baptist, but note the additional historical information in Lk.]

  • [3] Jerusalem and the temple are a geographical focus in Lk (Galilee is the focus in Mk and Mt).  
    • Jesus visits the temple in Jerusalem as a child:
      • His consecration at birth (2:22)
      • As a 12 yr old, "lost" by his parents- who later find him preaching in the temple (2:41-51)
    • family made annual trips to Jerusalem for Passover.
    • Lk dedicates 10 chapters in his gospel to Jesus' journey from Galilee to Jerusalem (9:51-19:44)
      • Lk's "Travel Narrative,"
      • Comparable to a similar travel narrative in Deuteronomy.
    • all of Jesus' resurrection appearances are in or around Jerusalem.
      • [In Mk and Mt, the angel in the tomb tells the women that Jesus will meet the disciples in Galilee.
      • Compare Lk 24:1-43 to Mt 28:16-20]

  • [4] focus on worship and prayer.

    • Mt mentions that the disciples worshipped Jesus,
    • In Lk, Jesus & his family, JBapt & his family, & the disciples frequently worship God,
      • thanking & praising Him for his involvement in their life.
    • Before significant events in Jesus' life, Lk mentions that he prays:
      • his baptism (3:21)
      • transfiguration (9:28)
      • choosing the twelve (6:12)
      • Peter's confession (9:18)
      • the Lord's prayer (11:1-4; compare to Matthew 6:9-13. In Luke, the disciples actually ask Jesus to teach them how to pray, and more instructions are given).

  • [5] emphasis on Jesus' 'table fellowship,' or meal sharing.

    • 19 meals mentioned in Lk, 13 unique to his gospel.
    • two reasons:
      • emphasizes the Eucharist or agape meal,
        • intended to be read aloud at the eucharistic celebration.
      • Jesus' meals foreshadow the Messianic banquet at the end of time, when the righteous would be with God- and never go hungry again. (See Isaiah 55:1-5)

  • [6] emphasizes Jesus' ministry to the oppressed and poor.

    • Many passages show not only a concern for the poor, but a corresponding hostility to the rich (see 6:20-21 & 6:24-25).
    • Lk is not necessarily opposed to wealth as much as he is concerned for complacency on the part of the wealthy, when they refuse to help the poor. (Ex. parable of the rich man and Lazarus).
    • only synoptic w/stories showing concern for Samaritans:
      • 10:29-37 : The Parable of the Good Samaritan
      • 17:11-19 : The healing of the 10 lepers
      • 9:51-56 : Jesus and his disciples are treated inhospitably by Samaritans who discover their intended destination.

  • [7] Women are more prominent in Lk than any other gospel.
    • infancy narrative focused on Mary & Elizabeth, not Joseph, like Mt.
    • Lk is the only gospel to mention that Jesus' ministry was supported financially by women (8:1-3),
    • Stories about women unique to LK:
      • Mary/Elizabeth/Anna
      • The Widow's Son (7:11-17)
      • The Sinful/Homeless Woman (7:36-50)
      • Mary and Martha (10:38-42)
      • [the woman caught in adultery?]

  • [8] emphasizes role of the Holy Spirit in Jesus' ministry.

    • mentions the holy Spirit 14x, more than Mk and Mt combined.
    • in Acts, the same spirit guides the apostles to continue Jesus' ministry.

  • [9] portrays Jesus' life as the fulfillment of OT prophecy, and the fulfillment of God's promises
    • Lk suggests that all of the events described in his gospel (not just Jesus' passion) happen according to God's plan.
    • Mt "proof-texts" the OT to prove who Jesus is, while Lk interweaves scripture throughout his narrative, basing stories on the OT (much like Matthew's infancy narrative).  

    • The following stories portray Jesus as Elijah-like:
      • Jesus raises a widow's son from the dead (7:11-17).
      • The disciples ask for permission to call down fire from heaven (9:51-55).
      • Jesus' advice to would-be disciples (9:57-62)

  • [10] Tension between present and future models of salvation.

    • LK is only synoptic gospel in which Jesus is called "savior," and the only gospel in which Jesus claims he has come "to seek out and save the lost."
    • also the only gospel where salvation is not specifically linked to Jesus' death on the cross.
      • Luke sees everything about Jesus as part of a Divine plan, including his miracles and teachings.
      • In MT and MK, Jesus doesn't save anyone until his death on the cross, so to call him "savior" while he is alive would make no sense.
      • In MT & MK, "being saved" means being included in a promise to be with God at the end of time- but the  "saving" doesn't happen until then, and we can't be included in the promise unless we have faith in who Jesus is, incl. his death on the cross.
      • LK sees salvation as being freed from whatever keeps you from living your life like God would want- disease, hunger, poverty, etc.. Therefore, Jesus is able to bring about salvation in this world through his miracles, healings, and forgiving sins.  
      • See the following:
        • 2:11 "Today... a savior is born."
        • 19:9 "Today... salvation has come to this house."
      • Most importantly:
        • Compare:
          • MT 16:28 "...there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."
          • MK 9:1 "...there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come in power."
          • LK 9:27 "...there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God."
        • Also:
          • LK 17:20-21 "For behold, the kingdom of God is among you."
    • It is in this way that Luke accounts for a delayed parousia-
      • his church has begun to realize that the end times may be later rather than sooner, and
      • he has adjusted his theology to account for the fact that the church has needs that should be addressed in the here and now,
      • rather than waiting for God to address them at the end of time (such as poverty, oppression, disease).