Unger's Bible Dictionary: Luke



LUKE, GOSPEL OF. The third synoptic gospel, a work of high literary quality ascribed by almost universal Christian tradition to Luke, the beloved physician and traveling companion of Paul.


Characteristics. Renan viewed Luke's gospel as "the most beautiful book that has ever been written." The subject matter as well as the author's literary talent combine to give the book an interesting appeal and polish conspicuous in the NT. The elevated subject matter was a challenge to the author's literary endeavor. Whereas Matthew presents Christ as King, Mark presents Him as Servant, John presents Him as the Son of God, and Luke presents Him as the Son of man, the human-divine One in contrast to John's divine-human One. The term "Son of Man" acts as a key phrase, and Luke 19:10 is commonly taken as the key verse: "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." In agreement with his purpose, Luke narrates those events that demonstrate the humanity of Christ. The divine genealogy is traced to Adam. A detailed account of Christ's mother and of His infancy and childhood is presented. The parables included by Luke have a human touch. Although Luke beautifully sets forth the humanity of the divine One he carefully shields His deity and kingship (1:32-35). It has truly been said that Luke is the gospel of "a man whose name is Branch" (Zech 6:12). Luke is distinctive in that it catalogs much material that is not included in the other evangels. This new material amounts to more than 50 percent of its content. For example, Luke has a joyous note and records five great outbursts of song-Elizabeth's Beatitude, Mary's Magnificat, Zachariah's Benedictus, the angels' Gloria in Excelsis, and Simeon's Nunc Dimittis. His gospel is emphatically "good news of a great joy."


Purpose. The evangelist proposes to write in order that Theophilus might know the "exact truth" of the things wherein he had been instructed (Luke 1:4). Theophilus seems to have been a Gentile, and the epithet kratistos, often given to persons of rank (Acts 23:26; 24:3; 26:5), suggests that he was an individual of eminence, most likely a recent convert. Some believe that he was a patronos libri and acted as a patron for the production of the book. Everyone is of the opinion that the gospel was intended for people at large, especially the Greek-speaking world.


Date. Since the book was written before the Acts, which is to be dated c. A.D. 61, it was likely written while Paul was at Caesarea. Since internal evidence that Luke wrote both the gospel and the book of Acts (and he divulges the fact that the gospel was written first, Acts 1:1), it must be concluded that the gospel was penned prior to A.D. 61 AD. Luke was in Caesarea where Paul was in prison (Acts 27:1). This circumstance would furnish him opportunity for the research he mentions with such fine literary style and classical flourish in Luke 1:1-4.


Attestation. External evidence is strong concerning the early existence and use of Luke. Justin Martyr quotes Luke 22:44; 23:46. The Muratorian Fragment calls the third gospel "Luke." Heggesippus, Tatian, the unbeliever Celsus, Marcion, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian all refer to "Luke." Robertson's statement in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia on Luke sums up the evidence: "Surely the general use and acceptance of the third gospel in the early second century is beyond reasonable doubt. It is not easy to decide when the actual use began, because we have so little data from the first century."



BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Plummer, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to St. Luke, International Critical Commentary (1896); J. M. Creed, The Gospel According to St. Luke (1930); P. Parker, The Gospel Before Mark (1931); F. L. Godet, A Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke (1957); I. H. Marshall, Luke: Historian and Theologian (1970); L. L. Morris, The Gospel According to St. Luke, Tyndale New Testament Commentary (1974); I. H. Marshall, The Gospel of Luke, New International Greek New Testament (1978); J. A. Fitzmyer, The Gospel According to Luke, Anchor Bible (1981-).

(from The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright (c) 1988.)

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The New Testament Books and Their Authors

New Testament Books and Authors The Book of Matthew The Book of Mark The Book of Luke The Book of John The Book of Acts The Book of Romans The Book of 1 Corinthians The Book of 2 Corinthians The Book of Galatians The Book of Ephesians The Book of Philippians The Book of Colossians The Book of 1 Thessalonians The Book of 2 Thessalonians The Book of 1 Timothy The Book of 2 Timothy The Book of Titus The Book of Philemon The Book of Hebrews The Book of James The Book of 1 Peter The Book of 2 Peter The Book of 1 John The Book of 2 John The Book of 3 John The Book of Jude The Book of Revelation Books of the New Testament The New Testament

But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. Heb. 8:6 (The Book of Hebrews)


image\bible_persp9.gif The New Testament is the most wonderful book. It reveals how God has kept every promise that He made to the nation Israel and ultimately fulfilled His covenant with them in One Man, Jesus Christ. It contains an accurate account of the gospel of Jesus Christ, His life, His history on earth, His Words, and His plan for all nations including Israel. It reveals how God used a single man, a Jew, who courageously went out to the farthest parts of the known world, to preach the gospel, and would eventually die for his faith in Jesus Christ. It reveals the end of the world, and how Jesus Christ would receive the kingdom that God had promised Him from the beginning.


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List of New Testament Books


Matthew Mark Luke
John Acts Romans
1 Corinthians 2 Corinthians Galatians
Ephesians Philippians Colossians
1 Thessalonians 2 Thessalonians 1 Timothy
2 Timothy Titus Philemon
Hebrews James 1 Peter
2 Peter 1 John 2 John
3 John Jude Revelation


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