devotion 11-3-14 beginning the Gospel of Luke

Good Morning!I felt the need to go back and read one of the gospels, and decided on Luke. I hope you agree this will be a positive learning experience for all of us!

The Gospel of Luke:

Luke 1:1-4

Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, 2just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, 3I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first,* to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.

Luke gives us a prologue – he writes a note to a friend, or perhaps a patron, at the beginning of this book. This is why I wrote this book, he tells Thophilus, so that you may know the truth about the things I have taught you.

The Bible contains books of many “genre” – Luke is writing in a particular genre we call a “gospel”. A gospel is a narrative of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. It is not, however, strictly historical – when Luke goes on to write Acts it is much more of a history, but a gospel reflects the writer’s theology. What does the life and teachings of Jesus Christ mean to him and to his audience, to Theophilus and his community? Luke is, first and foremost, a teacher and preacher. He is providing this account to help Theophilus understand, and grow closer to God. His gospel can be taken as an extended sermon, given as a story.

The similarity in the prologues and in the writing style make it pretty clear that the same author wrote both Luke and Acts. The author does not, at any point in either book, list his own name. At one point in Acts, as the author discusses Paul’s journey, he changes from the third person to first person, “We went from there”. It is assumed, from this, that the author traveled with Paul for a time. From the style and skill of the writing, we can assume that the author is well educated. Paul, at one point, speaks of “Luke, the beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14). And so, the belief is that the author is Luke, one who travelled with Paul and was a physician. The book is believed to have been written around 75 – 85 CE (AD). From the second century, as the gospels began to be circulated together, Luke was identified as the author.

Luke says that he has examined all the facts – he has used multiple sources, both written and the testimony of eyewitnesses and ministers of the word. He likely interviewed those who were the eyewitnesses to Jesus’ life, although he himself was not an eyewitness. I have always thought, and this is strictly my own opinion, that Luke interviewed women of Jesus’ family, perhaps Jesus’ sisters or nieces, for it seems that Mary confided in someone who passed her story on to Luke. Much of the early chapters consists of things only Mary could have known.

And so, I look forward to visiting again with Luke, the beloved physician, and hearing the story freshly, as he tells it. I hope that you do as well.

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