Today in church we began a new series on Luke’s Gospel. Below is some information and background that you might find helpful for your own study on this book.
Who was Luke?
The NT gives us limited information as to who he is but we can say a number of things from what we have. Three verses in particular stand out as useful in our search for answers regarding Luke’s identity.
Colossians 4:14 tells us that Luke is the “beloved physician.” Philemon 1:24 tells us that he is a “fellow worker” in the Gospel. And 2 Timothy 4:11 tells us that he was with the Apostle Paul in his final days and hours of his earthly life.
When we put all of that together, we can say that Luke was a medical doctor and a Gospel worker. He was both a physical physician in that he treated people with medical needs. But he was also a spiritual physician in that he was involved in telling others about the good news of Jesus.
The Colossians reference also tells us that he was beloved. The NIV translates that phrase as “our dear friend.” It appears that Luke was very well thought of by others within the early Christian community.
Why is Luke writing?
It’s likely that he wrote his Gospel in the early 60s – between AD 60-62. He of course wrote two books – a Gospel and the book of Acts. Interestingly, Luke is the most prolific writer in the NT. Paul wrote the most amount of book but in terms of number of words, Luke wrote the most. Luke and Acts together take up a quarter of the NT. I’ll say a bit more about how Luke wrote his Gospel in a moment or two.
The Structure of Luke’s Gospel
Below is a rough outline of the structure of Luke’s Gospel. We’ll be using this structure as we work our way through this series.
- The Prologue (1:1-4)
- The Infancy Narrative (1:5-2:52)
- Preparation for the Ministry of Jesus (3:1-4:15)
- The Ministry of Jesus in Galilee (4:16-9:50)
- The Journey to Jerusalem (9:51-19:27)
- The Ministry of Jesus in Jerusalem (19:28-21:38)
- The Suffering and Death of Jesus (22:1-23:56)
- The Resurrection of Jesus (24:1-53)
Bible Project Videos
If you’d like to learn more about the structure and content of Luke’s Gospel you will find the two videos below extremely helpful. They have been produced by the Bible Project as part of their Read Scripture initiative. There are two videos on Luke simply because it is the longest of the four Gospels.