TruthTexts Luke Study: Introduction Luke Study – Introduction

Written and Posted by Timothy Smith

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More Actions that Apply to Any Chapter:

• Choose a verse, phrase, or section from today’s study that spoke to you, and explain what it means, as if you were talking to a friend.

• Now think of any other verses in any other part of the Bible that reinforce what you learned (or teach a similar lesson). You could use an online Bible and do a word or topic search, if your Bible does not have study notes.

• Now apply what you’ve learned today to your own life. What will you do (start doing, keep doing, stop doing, or change) from reading and thinking about our study today?

• Pray, in your own words, asking God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to help you remember what you’ve learned, and ask for the power to live more like Jesus.

Introduction to Luke

Some Amazing Facts About Luke’s Gospel (to discuss and to keep in mind as we read)

• Luke is the only known Gentile to write in the New Testament. His Gospel is the most literary and poetic in style.

• Luke wrote more than half of the New Testament (by volume). Luke is the longest NT book.

• More than half of Luke is found in no other Gospel, including the childhood of Jesus, the salvation of the thief on the cross, seventeen unique parables such as the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan, and more detailed accounts of dozens of important events and teachings.

• His details, including the innermost feelings of many of the people in his accounts, were the result of his careful and intimate interviews with many eyewitnesses. (See chapter 1 verse 3)

• Luke includes and emphasizes women in his Gospel more than forty times, in a culture where that was very rare. He presents the Gospel as “good news for all the people” (Luke 2:10). He uses Jesus’ phrase, “Son of Man,” to show Him as both the Son of God and as the perfect human.

• Luke emphasizes prayer and the work of the Holy Spirit more than any other Gospel.

Think About Luke’s Formal Introduction: Chapter 1 verses 1-4:

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled (surely believed) 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. (Luke 1: 1-4 NIV)

Chapter 19 verse 10 is widely regarded as the “Key Verse” of the Gospel of Luke.

The Son of Man came to find lost people and save them. (Luke 19:10 NCV)

•  Use Luke’s formal introduction. What words or phrases indicate that Luke will be a careful and accurate writer?

•  Use Luke’s formal introduction, especially verse 4, and the key verse from chapter 19. Explain why you think Luke wrote his Gospel.

About the passage:

Luke is mirroring the style of the formal written Greek histories of his day. This reflects Luke’s training as a Gentile professional (“a physician” according to Paul in Colossians 4:14). He dedicates the work to its primary reader, Theophilus. The name means “lover of God” or “close friend of God.” Some traditions state that Theophilus was an actual person, a ruler in Antioch, and a friend of Luke.

Dedicating a formal history to a prominent official was a Greek tradition. Doing so insured that the document would be copied and preserved. But Luke may have simply been addressing his book to fellow believers like you and me, the “lovers and friends of God.”  Either way of looking at it (interpretation) is a satisfactory explanation for why Luke’s record of Christ’s life has been preserved and honored by believers across the centuries.

About the writer:

Although a Greek, Luke had immersed himself in the Hebrew Scriptures, thanks to the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament. Most of the verses quoted by New Testament writers are from the Septuagint. We know he was deeply familiar with the language of Scripture from the way he beautifully incorporates the hymns of praise spoken by some of the people he quotes in his Gospel. In fact, Luke’s gospel has been regarded across the centuries as one of the most beautiful books ever written.   

•  Look at the “Amazing Facts” list at the beginning of this study. Look at what Luke emphasizes, and at what is uniquely in his Gospel. What do you personally hope to explore further as you read Luke’s Gospel?

•  The word Gospel means “good news.” Look at Luke 2:10. Who is this good news (Gospel) for? How do you know that this message of good news is addressed to you?

Some Tips for Groups: This first session with the Gospel of Luke has the fewest questions, because it is the introductory lesson, and may be the first meeting of your Bible study group. For next time, everyone should read chapter one of Luke, read the online outline of chapter one, and think about one or two questions to discuss next time. Any questions you do not get to cover in your Bible study can become part of your own private study until you meet next time.