The Gospel of Luke
Part 1: Introducing a New Series

(These notes are prepared based on lesson notes prepared by Rob Mahon for Connection Class Leaders at Hoffmantown church.)

Introduction:

Before we get into the study of the Book of Luke, let’s step back and review the Bible from the 30,000 foot level. Let’s get the Book of Luke into perspective relative to the rest of the Bible. Most of us here accept that the Bible is reliable, but I think it is worthwhile from time to time to review what makes us confident that what we read and study in the Bible is reliable.

Early Manuscripts: There are more early manuscripts of the Bible than any other book of antiquity, by a long shot. According to Charles Leach in his book “Our Bible and How We Got It” states:

There are now more than 5,300 known Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. Add over 10,000 Latin Vulgate and at least 9,300 other early versions and we have more than 24,000 manuscript copies of portions of the New Testament in existence. No other document of antiquity even begins to approach such numbers and attestation.

In comparison, the Iliad by Homer is second with only 643 manuscripts that still survive. The first complete preserved text of Homer dates from the thirteenth century.

Sir Frederic Kenyon (one of the great authorities in the field of New Testament textual criticism) made the following statement:
"It cannot be too strongly asserted that in substance the text of the Bible is certain: Especially in this the case with the New Testament. The number of manuscripts of the New Testament, of early translations from it, and of quotations from it in the oldest writers of the Church, is so large that it is practically certain that the true reading of every doubtful passage is preserved in some one or other of these ancient authorities. This can be said of no other book in the world."
  1. Who can tell me how many books are in the Bible?   (66)
  2. Who can tell me how many books are in the New Testament?   (27)
  3. Who knows what language the New Testament was written in?   (Koine Greek)
The form of the Greek language that was used up until about 300 BC. is called Attic Greek. After about 300 BC, the time at which the Greek Empire was at its greatest expansion, the language transitioned to what is known as Koine Greek, which prevailed until about 600 AD. This was the “lingua franca”, the base, standard language for the entire area. It was the official language of the empire, which was the entire Mediterranean world. Greece had established colonies as far west as Spain, north into what is now France and east across the middle east. It was the official language, even in Rome. The Roman church conducted services in Koine Greek until around 250 AD. After around 600 AD, the Greek language transitioned again to what is considered modern Greek.

When we look at the original language of the New Testament, we need to be looking at the Koine Greek to find the meaning of the words at the time they were written. Now let’s dive a little deeper and see where the book of Luke fits in.

  1. What do we call the section of the New Testament where we find Luke?  (The Gospels).
  2. What books are included in The Gospels?  (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)
  3. Why are these books called The Gospels? What is The Gospel? (εωαγγελιον [euaggélion] = bringing good news).
So The Gospel is the Good News that Jesus delivered. Why just 4 books? Acts is actually the continuation of Luke. The first 4 books where the recordation of what Jesus did and said and taught. Acts is what happened after Jesus left. So only the 4 books are considered The Gospels. In reality, these books comprise The Gospel, not The Gospels. There is a single message of good news, one message of Jesus. In the earliest church writings, these books were referred to as The Gospel, not plural. The Gospels make up nearly half (46%) of the New Testament. Include the Book of Acts and these 5 books comprise 60% of the entire New Testament. Some scholars believe that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are listed in the order they were written. Others believe that Mark was written first, then Matthew, Luke and John. Most scholars believe that Matthew, Mark and Luke were written around 50-60 A.D., with John being written much latter, 85-96 A.D.   Revelation is the last New Testament book to have been written (its author was John the Apostle) with an estimated date of about 96 A.D.

Authorship:

How many authors wrote the New Testament? - One, the Holy Spirit.   How many authors wrote the New Testament, from the human perspective? We will not consider scribes as authors, since they merely wrote what the authors verbalized. Using that definition there were either eight or nine authors of the 27 New Testament books, depending on whether or not you believe Paul wrote Hebrews. Of these, only Luke was a Gentile.  Here are the authors:
 

Author

Nationality

Home Town

Relationship

Books Written

Matthew

Jew

Capernaum

apostle of Jesus

Matthew

Mark

Jew/Roman

Jerusalem

disciple of Peter

Mark

Luke

Gentile

Antioch

disciple of Paul

Luke

Acts

John

Jew

Bethsaida or

Capernaum

apostle of Jesus

John

1,2,3 John

Revelation

Paul

(14 books)

Jew

Tarsus

apostle of Jesus

Romans

1,2 Corinthians

Galatians

Ephesians

Philippians

Colossians

Philemon

1,2 Thess.s

1,2 Timothy

Titus

Hebrews (?)

James

Jew

Nazareth

brother of Jesus

James

Peter

Jew

Bethsaida

apostle of Jesus

1,2 Peter

Jude

Jew

Nazareth

brother of Jesus

Jude

Note that Luke is the only Gentile in the bunch.  Matthew, John and Peter were the only ones who were Disciples.  Look at the relationships of the other authors.  Mark was a disciple of Peter, Luke was a disciple of Paul, Paul was an apostle of Jesus, but he never met him until after Jesus had ascended and came back to the Road of Damascus to knock Paul to the ground to get his attention, physically and figuratively.  James and Jude were the brothers of Jesus, but were not his followers until after his resurrection.   Here is another way to understand the New Testament:

OVERVIEW OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

(27 Books) 

Books Of History

Books Of Teaching

Books Of Prophecy

The Gospels:

Paul’s Letters To Churches:

          Revelation

          Matthew

          Romans

 

          Mark

          1 Corinthians

          Luke

          2 Corinthians

          John

          Galatians

 

          Ephesians

          Acts

          Philippians

 

          Colossians

          1 Thessalonians

          2 Thessalonians

Paul’s Letters To Individuals:

          1 Timothy

          2 Timothy

          Titus

          Philemon

          Hebrews (?)

Other Letters:

          James

          1 Peter

          2 Peter

          1 John

          2 John

          3 John

          Jude

 A COMPARISON OF THE FOUR GOSPELS 

 

Matthew

Mark

Luke

John

Author was:

an apostle of Jesus

a disciple of Peter

a disciple of Paul

an apostle of Jesus

 

 

 

 

 

Primary Audience:

Jews

Romans

Theophilus (1:3)

Gentile believers

Jew &Gentile

non-believers

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus is shown to be the:

Prophesied King (Messiah)

Obedient Servant

Perfect Man

(Son of Man)

Divine Son

(Son of God)

 

 

 

 

 

Key Words

fulfill, king & kingdom (70+)

serve, servant

Son of Man,

power

believe (70+)

eternal life

 

 

 

 

 

Quotations from the OT

53

36

25

20

Allusions/References

 to the OT

76

27

42

105

 

 

 

 

 

Approx. %age of vss which are

words of Christ

 

60%

 

42%

 

50%

 

50%

 

 

 

 

 

Length of

Book

28 chapters

1071 verses

16 chapters

678 verses

24 chapters

1151 verses

21 chapters

879 verses

 

 

 

 

 

Unique Info not in other Gospels*

28%

about 300 vss

5%

about 31 vss

45%

about 520 vss

92%

about 808 vss

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a map of the land involved in the New Testament. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It will be interesting to see what is in which of The Gospels, or perhaps more interesting is what is not in which books.

Next week: - we will get more specific about the Book of Luke and who Luke was. To prepare for that, read whatever you can find about Luke and his life.