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The Study of Luke

You are invited to join us in studying the Gospel of Luke.

 

We are journeying through the Gospel of Luke on Sunday morning during the 9:30 AM Bible Class, 10:45 AM Worship and Wednesday nights at 7:00 PM.

 

Luke 1:1-4 (NIV2011)

1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

 

Each week we will look at another section uncovering the message of assurance [certainty] that Luke has embedded in his gospel.

 

 

The Gospel of Luke

 Summary

Luke 1:1-25

February 5-9, 2017

 

Introduction

 

The Gospel of Luke is the largest book in the New Testament. The two-volume set the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles are considered to be written by the same author.  Both mention the recipient of the books as being Theophilus (Luke 1:3; Acts 1:1). The Gospel of Luke provides an account that is composed of excellent Greek and similar in writing style of historians of his day.

 

Author

 

The Gospel of Luke is anonymous.   However, most scholars believe that the Gospel of Luke was written by Luke.  “The oldest Manuscript of Luke, Bodmer Papyrus XIV, cited as p75 and dated A.D. 175-225, ascribes the book to Luke.”

 

Luke is mentioned in Scripture:

 

Colossians 4:14-15 (NIV2011)

14  Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings. 15  Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.

2 Timothy 4:11 (NIV2011)

11  Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.

Philemon 1:23-24 (NIV2011)

23  Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. 24  And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.

 

Question:

Luke is described as a _________________, a __________________________of Paul, and a ________________.

 

Answer: Luke is described as a doctor, a companion of Paul, and a fellow worker.

 

Acts is known to contain so called “we” sections in which the author of Acts accompanies Paul on his journeys.  Below is such an example:

 

Acts 20:13 (NIV2011)

13  We went on ahead to the ship and sailed for Assos, where we were going to take Paul aboard. He had made this arrangement because he was going there on foot.

 

According to Rendell Harris, there is a manuscript referred to as the Western Text of Acts 20:13 in which it reads, “But I Luke, and those with who were with me, went on board.”  F.F. Bruce argues that if this is correct, it puts Lukan authorship around A.D. 120 the date ascribed to the Western Text.

 

Date

Some scholars believe that the date of Luke should be considered along side the date of the Book of Acts.  In Acts there is no mention of the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70) or the persecution of Nero in A.D. 64); consequently it is assumed that Luke-Acts was written prior to these events.

 

“Some time after midnight on 19 July, A. D. 64, the night after full moon, a fire broke out at the north-east end of the Circus Maximus in Rome, adjoining the Palatine and Caelian hills.”   Nero charges Christians with instigating the fire and the burning of Rome; therefore, he begins persecuting Christians.

 

Their execution was an occasion for popular entertainment; Nero’s gardens were thrown open for the occasion.  According to Tacitus, some were crucified, some were sown up in the skins of animals and hunted down by dogs, some were covered with pitch and set alight to serve as living torches when darkness fell.

 

According to Eusebius, “They record that under Nero, Paul was beheaded at Rome itself, and Peter likewise was crucified, and this record is accredited by the attachment, until this day, of the names of Peter and Paul to the burial-places there.”   Since Paul is alive at the close of Acts, it is conjectured that Acts was completed prior to his death.

 

Others suggest that Luke relied on Matthew and Mark for his Gospel and points to a later date. “The evidence tends to point to the period of A.D. 65-85 for the composition of the Gospel of Luke. Some might like to be more exact, but it matters little for the interpretation of Luke’s work.”

 

Audience

According to Luke 1:4, Theophilus is the named recipient and was certainly an intended reader, Luke undoubtedly wrote for a much larger audience. Just as modern “letters to the editor” are meant for the larger public, so was Luke’s work. As suggested above, the Gospel of Luke appears to be addressed to Gentile Christians.

Purpose of the Gospel of Luke

The Prologue

 

Luke 1:1-25 (NIV2011)

1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2  just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3  With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4  so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

 

Two questions have been constantly asked:

1. What did Luke want his readers to grasp as he penned each section?

2. And what did he want them to believe and to do after they had read the whole?

 

Purpose Statements of the Gospel of Luke

• Luke’s account includes eyewitnesses who were servants of the word.

• Luke has carefully investigated what he has received.

• Luke decides to write an orderly account from the beginning regarding those things that have been fulfilled among us.

• Contributes to the certainty of the instructions the reader has been taught about Jesus Christ.

 

Question:  What additional information regarding the purpose of the Gospel of Luke does Luke give in Acts 1:1?

 

Another view of Luke’s purpose found in Scripture is, “In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach.” Acts 1:1 (NIV2011)

 

Answer:  “I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach.”

 

Question:  What was Luke’s method to produce certainty in the mind of Theophilus?

 

Answer:  An orderly account of the all of the life of Jesus.  We call it the Gospel or Good News.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Questions:

1. The Gospel of Luke based on what sources.

2. What role did Luke play in the process?

3. What do we know about Theophilus?

4. According to Luke, what is the purpose of the Gospel of Luke?

5. What does it mean?

 

Spiritual Action Steps

1. Read the Gospel of Luke in its entirety in one sitting paying close attention to the plot, the themes and asking the question what does Luke want you to get out of the Gospel?

2. As a modern reader, like Luke carefully investigate terms, customs, institutions, places, and beliefs which you might be unfamiliar.

3. How does each section in Luke function in the larger story of the gospel and in the rest of Scripture?

Sermon – February 6, 2017: Luke 1:5-25

Focus

• God uses ordinary men and women for His purposes (1:5-9)

• Righteousness/Blamelessness (1:6)

• Answered Prayers and still there is doubt (1:18)

• The consequences of unbelief (1:20)

• Why God answers prayer (1:16-17)

• The Holy Spirit is necessary (1:15)

• Assurance (1:4)

 

Wednesday Night Bible Class – February 8, 2017: Luke 1:1-25

Discussion of Applying the entire section to Everyday Life

Questions:

1. What was the character of Zechariah and Elizabeth?

2. What do you think Zechariah was praying about?

3. What was unique about John?

4. What is John’s function for the people?

5. What instructions did the angel give Zechariah about John?

6.  What is John’s function for the Lord?

7. What was the consequence of Zechariah’s unbelief?

8. Who has shown favor toward Elizabeth?

9. How was the Holy Spirit manifested in John?

 

Application Questions:

1. Based on Luke 1:3-4, how can the Gospel of Luke be used in evangelism?

2. What do we learn about prayer and answers to prayers from Zechariah and Elizabeth?

3. What consequences have you experienced due to unbelief?

4. Reflection:  How is the Holy Spirit manifested in your life?

 

 

Note on Sources:  The sources of non-biblical material are cited in the footnotes of each page.

 

 

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