The Gospel of - LUKE

The Historical Books of the New Testament
@ by J. Hampton Keathley, III {original source}


Both Luke and Acts, which are addressed to Theophilusdb01 as a two-volume work, are attributed to Lukedb02, and while Luke is nowhere named as the author of either, a great deal of evidence points to Luke, “the beloved physician(Col. 4:14) as the author of both books.

Significantly, these two books make up about 28 percent of the Greek New Testament. The only places where we find his name in the New Testament are Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:11; and Philemon 24.

It is also believed that Luke referred to himself in the “we” sections of Acts (16:10-17; 20:5-21:18; 27:1-28:16).

These “we” sections of Acts show that the author was a close associate and traveling companion of Paul. Since all but two of Paul’s associates are named in the third person, the list can be narrowed to Titusdb09 and Luke.

By process of elimination, Paul’s “dear friend Luke, the doctor(Col 4:14), and “fellow worker(Phm 24) becomes the most likely candidate. His authorship is supported by the uniform testimony of early Christian writings (e.g., the Muratorian Canon, A.D. 170, and the works of Irenaeus, c. 180).fn22

It seems evident from Colossians 4:10-14 that Luke was a Gentile for there Pauldb03 differentiates him from the Jews. Here the apostle states that, of his fellow-workers, Aristarchusdb04, Markdb05, and Johndb06 were the only ones who were Jews. This suggest that Epaphrasdb07, Luke, and Demasdb08, also mentioned in these verses, were Gentiles, not Jews. “Luke’s obvious skill with the Greek language and his phrase “their own language” in Acts 1:19 also imply that he was not Jewish.”fn23

We know nothing about his early life or conversion except that he was not an eyewitness of the life of Jesus Christ (Luke 1:2). Though a physician by profession, he was primarily an evangelist, writing this gospel and the book of Acts and accompanying Paul in missionary work … He was with Paul at the time of the apostle’s martyrdom (2 Tim. 4:11), but of his later life we have no certain facts.fn24

DATE: A.D. 60

Two commonly suggested periods for dating the Gospel of Luke are:

(1) A.D. 59-63, and

(2) the 70s or the 80s, but the conclusion of Acts shows us that Paul was in Rome, and since Luke is the former treatise, written before Acts (Acts 1:1), the Gospel of Luke must have been written in the earlier period, around A.D. 60.

However, suggesting that Luke’s Gospel received its final form in Greece and not in Rome, some have suggested A.D. 70.


The purpose of Luke is clearly stated in the prologue of his Gospel.

1:1-4 Now many have undertaken to compile an account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, 1:2 like the accounts passed on to us by those who were eyewitnesses and servants of the word from the beginning. 1:3 So it seemed good to me as well, because I have followed all things carefully from the beginning, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 1:4 so that you may have certainty regarding the things you were taught.

Several things need to be noticed regarding his approach to presenting the gospel:

Luke states:

  • That his own work was stimulated by the work of others (1:1),
  • That he consulted eyewitnesses (1:2), and
  • That he sifted and arranged the information (1:3) under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to
  • Instruct Theophilus in the historical reliability of the faith (1:4).
  • This is a carefully researched and documented writing.fn25

As a Gentile, Luke must have felt responsible to write his two-volume account of the life of Christ so it would be available to Gentile readers. This seems evident from the fact that Luke “translates Aramaic terms with Greek words and explains Jewish customs and geography to make his Gospel more intelligible to his original Greek readership.”fn26

Luke, written by the “the beloved physician,” is the most comprehensive and longest of the Gospels.

It presents the

Savior as the Son of Man, the Perfect Man who came to seek and save the lost (19:10).

  • In Matthew we see Jesus as Son of David, Israel’s King;
  • In Mark we see Him as the Lord’s Servant, serving others;
  • In Luke we see Him as the Son of Man, meeting man’s needs, a perfect man among men, chosen from men, tested among men, and supremely qualified to be the Savior and High Priest.
  • In Matthew we see groupings of significant events,
  • In Mark we see the snapshots of significant events, but
  • In Luke we see more details of these events by the physician/historian.

His perfect human nature as the Son of Man, yet also Son of God, is brought out by the following:

1. His physical birth with his genealogy traced all the way back to Adam (3:38) (Matthew goes back only to Abraham).

2. His mental development is stressed in 2:40-52.

3. His moral and spiritual perfection is also stressed as evidenced at His baptism by the voice of the

Father from heaven and by the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

So in Jesus we have One who is perfect manhood—physically, mentally, and spiritually.


Jesus, the Son of Man.


  • 1:1-4 1 Now many have undertaken to compile an account of the events that have been fulfilled among us,  2 like the accounts passed on to us by those who were eyewitnesses and servants of the word from the beginning.  3 So it seemed good to me as well, because I have followed all things carefully from the beginning, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,  4 so that you may have certainty regarding the things you were taught.

  • 19:10 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.


Chapter 15. 
In view of the theme stressed in 19:10, the emphasis on ‘seeking’ in the three parables of chapter 15 (the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son) makes this a key chapter in Luke’s Gospel.


The humanity and compassion of Jesus are repeatedly stressed in Luke’s Gospel. Luke gives the most complete account of Christ’s ancestry, birth, and development. He is the ideal Son of Man who identified with the sorrow and plight of sinful man in order to carry our sorrows and offer us the priceless gift of salvation. Jesus alone fulfills the Greek ideal of human perfection.fn27


    • I. The Prologue: The Method and Purpose of Writing (1:1-4)

    • II. The Identification of the Son of Man with Men (1:1-4:13)

    • III. The Ministry of the Son of Man to Men (4:14-9:50)

    • IV. The Rejection of the Son of Man by Men (9:51-19:44)

    • V. The Suffering of the Son of Man for Men (19:45-23:56)

    • VI. The Authentication (by resurrection) of the Son of Man Before Men (24:1-53)
22  The NIV Study Bible Notes, Zondervan NIV Bible Library, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1985, electronic edition.
23 Wilkinson/Boa, p. 327.
24 Ryrie, p. 1614.
25 Ryrie, p. 1614.
26 Wilkinson/Boa, p. 328.
27 Wilkinson/Boa, p. 328.
db* = Content added by to assist the reader
db01 Theophilus: Theophilus is the name or honorary title of the person to whom the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles are addressed (Luke 1:3, Acts 1:1). No one knows the true identity of Theophilus and there are several conjectures and traditions around an identity. In English Theophilus is also written "Theophilos", both a common name and an honorary title among the learned (academic) Romans and Jews of the era. [From Wikipedia]
db02 Luke: Luke the Evangelist (Ancient Greek: Λουκᾶς, Loukás) is one of the Four Evangelists or authors of canonical Gospels of Jesus Christ. Luke was a native of the Hellenistic city of Antioch in Syria. The early church fathers ascribed to him authorship of both the Gospel according to Luke and the book of Acts of the Apostles, which originally formed a single literary work, referred to as Luke-Acts. [From Wikipedia]
db03 Paul: Paul the Apostle (Greek: Παῦλος Paulos; c. 5 – c. 67), original name Saul of Tarsus (Greek: Σαῦλος Ταρσεύς Saulos Tarseus), was an apostle (though not one of the Twelve Apostles) who taught the gospel of Christ to the first-century world. He is generally considered one of the most important figures of the Apostolic Age. [From Wikipedia]
db04 Aristarchus: Aristarchus or Aristarch (Greek: Ἀρίσταρχος Aristarkhos), "a Greek Macedonian of Thessalonica" (Acts 27:2), was an early Christian mentioned in a few passages of the New Testament. He accompanied Saint Paul on his journey to Rome. Along with Gaius, another Macedonian, Aristarchus was seized by the mob at Ephesus and taken into the theater (Acts 19:29). Later, Aristarchus returned with Paul from Greece to Asia (Acts 20:4). At Caesarea, he embarked with Paul on a ship of Edremit (Adramyttium) bound for Myra in Lycia (Acts 27:2); whether he traveled with him from there to Rome is not recorded. Aristarchus is described as Paul's "fellow prisoner" and "fellow laborer" in Colossians 4:10 and Philemon 1:24, respectively. [From Wikipedia]
db05 Mark: Mark the Evangelist (Latin: Mārcus; Greek: Μᾶρκος; Coptic: Μαρκοϲ; Hebrew: מרקוס‎) is the purported traditional author of the Gospel of Mark. One of the Seventy Disciples, Mark founded the Church of Alexandria, one of the original three main episcopal sees of Christianity. [From Wikipedia]
db06 John: John the Apostle (Aramaic Yoħanna, Koine Greek Ἰωάννης) (c. AD 6 – c. 100) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus according to The Bible. He was the son of Zebedee and Salome. His brother was James, son of Zebedee who was another of the Twelve Apostles. Christian tradition holds that he outlived the remaining apostles and that he was the only one not to die a martyr's death. [From Wikipedia]
db07 Epaphras: Epaphras (Greek: Ἐπαφράς) was a Christian preacher who spread the Gospel to his fellow Colossian citizens (Col. 1:7; 4:12). When Paul was a prisoner in Rome, Epaphras came to him with a favourable account of the Church at Colossae. He remained with Paul in Rome and was, in a sense, his "fellow prisoner" (Philemon 1:23). Paul bears witness to the struggling in his prayers for Colossae and his work of service there and in Laodicea and Hierapolis. (Colossians 4:12-13) [From Wikipedia]
db08 Demas: Demas, mentioned by the Apostle Paul in the New Testament of the Bible, appears to have been a man involved in the ministry as a companion of Paul. He was with Paul during his first imprisonment in Rome, but later when Paul wrote Second Timothy he said that Demas had forsaken him, "having loved this present world." [From Wikipedia]
db09 Titus: Titus was an early Christian leader, a companion and disciple of Paul the Apostle, mentioned in several of the Pauline epistles including the Epistle to Titus. He is believed to be a gentile converted by Paul to Christianity and, according to tradition, was consecrated by him as Bishop of the Island of Crete. Titus brought a fundraising letter from Paul to Corinth, to collect for the poor in Jerusalem. Later, on Crete, Titus appointed presbyters in every city and remained there into his old age, dying in the city of Candia (modern Heraklion) [From Wikipedia]
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