Introduction to the Gospel of Luke

Luke writing his Gospel
Luke writing his Gospel.

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The Gospel of Luke was written to give a reliable and precise historical record of the life of Jesus Christ. Luke spelled out his purpose for writing in the first four verses of chapter one. Not only as a historian but also as a medical doctor, Luke paid great attention to detail, including dates and events that happened throughout the life of Christ.

A theme that is emphasized in the Gospel of Luke is the humanity of Jesus Christ and his perfection as a human. Jesus was the perfect man who gave the perfect sacrifice for sin, therefore, providing the perfect Savior for humankind.

Questions for Reflection

The Gospel of Luke shows us Jesus Christ as more than just a concept or a great teacher. Luke reveals a living, breathing, person who cares deeply for us. Have you recognized the love of the Savior? Do you believe that Jesus can meet your needs and satisfy the longing of your soul? When you study the Gospel of Luke, let the reality of a loving, personal Savior penetrate your mind and heart.

Who Wrote the Gospel of Luke?

Luke is the author of this Gospel. He is a Greek and the only Gentile Christian writer of the New Testament. The language of Luke reveals that he is an educated man. Luke’s writing style is more polished and classical than that of Matthew and Mark.

We learn in Colossians 4:14 that he is a physician. In this book, Luke refers many times to sicknesses and diagnoses. Being a Greek and a doctor would explain his scientific and orderly approach to the book, giving great attention to detail in his accounts.

Luke was a faithful friend and travel companion of Paul, and it is often supposed that he wrote his Gospel under Paul's direction. Luke wrote the book of Acts as a sequel to the Gospel of Luke.

Some discredit Luke's Gospel because he was not one of the 12 disciples. However, Luke had access to historical records. He carefully researched and interviewed the disciples and others who were eyewitnesses to the life of Christ.

Date Written

The Gospel of Luke was written around A.D. 60.

Written To

The Gospel of Luke was written to Theophilus, meaning "the one who loves God." Historians are not sure who this Theophilus (mentioned in Luke 1:3) was, although most likely, he was a Roman with an intense interest in the newly forming Christian religion. Luke may also have been writing in general to those who loved God. The book is written to the Gentiles as well, and all people everywhere.

Landscape

Luke wrote the Gospel in Rome or possibly in Caesarea. Settings in the book include Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Judea, and Galilee.

Themes in Luke's Gospel

The predominant theme in the book of Luke is the perfect humanity of Jesus Christ. The Savior entered human history as the perfect man. He himself offered the perfect sacrifice for sin, therefore, providing the perfect Savior for humankind.

Luke is careful to give a detailed and accurate record of his investigation so that readers can trust with certainty that Jesus is God. Luke also portrays Jesus' profound interest in people and relationships. He was compassionate to the poor, the sick, the hurting and the sinful. He loved and embraced everyone. Our God became flesh to identify with us, and to show us his genuine love. Only this perfect love can satisfy our deepest need.

Luke's Gospel gives special emphasis to prayer, miracles, and angels as well. Interesting to note, women are given an important place in Luke's writings.

Key Characters

Key Verses

Luke 9:23-25
Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? (NIV)

Luke 19:9-10
Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." (NIV)

Outline of the Book of Luke

  • The Birth and Preparation of Jesus the Savior - Luke 1:1-4:13.
  • The Message and Ministry of Jesus the Savior - Luke 4:14-21:38.
  • The Death and Resurrection of Jesus the Savior - Luke 22:1-24:53.