LUKE - INTRODUCTION
Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough
2001 James Melough
is clear that others besides Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John had prepared
written accounts of the things which now constitute the four Gospels, but in
His sovereignty God has chosen to preserve in the canon of Scripture only what
these four wrote.
only does the Lucan account differ from the others in that it dwells largely
on the perfect manhood of the Lord Jesus Christ, but the words “in order”
of verses 1 and 3 may indicate that it is also chronologically more exact.
This does not imply that the others are inferior, for the Bible is not
primarily a history book. The
Holy Spirit isn’t bound by the limitations of strict chronology, and
sometimes His purposes are better accomplished by ignoring chronological
order. Luke’s Gospel isn’t
chronologically perfect. The order obviously is moral rather than factual.
Luke was preparing to write was neither new, nor was it the first orderly
account (see verse 1) of the things accepted by the believers, but obviously
the difference between it and these other non-canonical accounts was that it
was Divinely inspired, as is attested by its having been preserved in the canon of Scripture. Again, this does not imply inaccuracy in these other
accounts. Luke himself in verse 2
refers to the writers as having been “eyewitnesses, and ministers of the
word,” and in verse 1 he speaks of what they had written as “those things
which are most surely believed among us.”
The integrity of these other writers is not in question. It is clear, in fact, that in compiling his own account Luke
had made use of what they had written. All
of this reminds us that many may have a part in God’s great work without
their names being preserved, or they themselves given any special recognition,
the Bema being the place for such acknowledgment.
No one should be discouraged because he has been called to an obscure
sphere of service. Nothing will
be obscure at the judgment seat of Christ.
It may well be in fact that some whose service brought them into
prominence on earth, will be awarded positions of less distinction in
thing to be noted is that a man’s having been chosen to be the Holy
Spirit’s amanuensis, didn’t necessarily exempt him from work relative to
the preparation of the material. Luke
very obviously had spent much time sifting carefully through the writings of
others before compiling the Gospel which now bears his name.
The gift of teaching, for example, doesn’t relieve the teacher from
the need to study.
purpose of Luke’s writing was that Theophilus “might know the certainty of
those things, wherein (he had been) instructed.”
This is one of the primary purposes of Scripture, as it ought to be
also of the study of Scripture - to confirm the believer’s faith.
nothing is known of Theophilus, except that his name means friend of God;
and his being addressed as “most excellent” would indicate that he was a
man of high rank. That he was a
particularly earnest believer seems to be implied in Luke’s having prepared
this document and also the book of Acts, specially for him, see Ac 1:1.
and Acts, as far as is known, are the only New Testament books written by a
Gentile, and both are believed to have been written between AD 60 and 62.
Others have also suggested that this Gospel is addressed more directly
to Gentiles than are the other three, and this would be appropriate having
regard to the time of writing. Israel’s day of grace was almost ended. The Gentiles were about to be made the recipients of even
better blessings than those rejected by Israel.