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Bible Commentaries

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

Luke Overview

 

 


The Gospel According to Saint Luke

Introduction

There is no reason to doubt the tradition transmitted by the church historian Eusebius that the third gospel was written by Luke. This evangelist, whom Paul calls the "beloved physician," Col_4:14, was a heathen by birth, Col_4:11 who was born and grew up in Antioch, Act_6:5; Act_11:19-28. There are many evidences of his profession in the gospel as well as in the Acts, Luk_4:38; Luk_5:12; Luk_6:6; Luk_7:2; Luk_8:42; Luk_10:30-37; Luk_16:20-22; Act_28:8. He had received a good education and wrote in an easy, flowing, elegant style, a fact which gives his books a high rank also as literature. Luke had not known Jesus personally, but seems to have been converted in Antioch, probably by Paul, with whom he was connected in a lifelong, intimate friendship. The great apostle esteemed him very highly as a companion and assistant, Col_4:14; Phm_1:24; 2Ti_4:11. On Paul's second journey, Luke joined him at Troas and accompanied him to Philippi, Act_16:10-17. On the third journey, Luke was again among the companions of Paul, going with him from Philippi to Jerusalem, Act_20:5-21. Afterwards, Luke made the voyage from Caesarea to Rome with Paul, the captive, and was with him in Rome, Act_27:1-44; Act_28:1-16. During the second captivity Luke was again with Paul, for which the apostle was duly thankful, 2Ti_4:11. Outside of these facts nothing is known concerning Luke, either of the circumstances of his life or of the time and manner of his death.

Luke was a historian of the first order, to whom even unbelieving critics yield a high rank as regards trustworthiness. This is evident even in his gospel, Luk_1:1-4. According to the testimony of early writers, Luke was, in a way, the interpreter of Paul, as Mark was of Peter. His writings plainly show that influence, especially in the expressions concerning the justification of a sinner before God, Luk_18:14; Act_13:38-39. The Gospel is dedicated to the "most excellent Theophilus," who evidently was a man of high station, not a former Jew, but a Gentile who lived in Italy. There are indications throughout the gospel that Luke wrote for a public ignorant of Palestine, its customs, and its language, but familiar with the surroundings of Greek and Roman life in the great cities of the empire, chapter 5:17-20. He explains to his readers Semitic names and terms; he describes the situations of Nazareth and Capernaum as cities of Galilee, of Arimathea as a city of the Jews, of the country of the Gadarenes as over against Galilee, and he even tells the distance of the Mount of Olives and of Emmaus from Jerusalem. That Luke had Gentile Christians in mind is evident also from the fact that he does not emphasize the Messianic character of Jesus, as Matthew does, but that he emphasizes the fact that Jesus is the Savior of the whole world, the Redeemer also of the Gentiles, Luk_2:10, and that the Gospel should be preached to all nations. He pictures Jesus as the Friend of the poor and needy, both in a spiritual and in a physical sense, Luk_1:52-53; Luk_2:7-8; Luk_4:18-19; Luk_6:20; Luk_12:15-21; Luk_16:19-31. Luther says: "Luke goes back farther and purposes, as it were, to make Christ the common property of all nations. For that reason he carries His genealogy back to Adam. In this way he wishes to show that this Christ is not only for the Jews, but also for Adam and his posterity, that is, for all people in all the world."

In accordance with the purpose of the gospel, there are several distinguishing features which should be noted, especially the accuracy of the medical descriptions, the preservation of the inspired hymns (those of the angels at the birth of Jesus, that of Elizabeth, of Mary, of Zacharias), and the prominence given to women, Luk_8:2-3; Luk_10:38-42.

The gospel of Luke was surely written before the year 70 A. D., since there is no reference to the destruction of Jerusalem, concerning which the author gives the complete prophecy of Jesus, chapter 21. From the introduction of the book it has been inferred that Luke wrote after Matthew and Mark, that is, about 67 or 68. Some commentators have assumed that Luke returned to Antioch about this time and wrote his gospel there, but the common assumption is that it was written in Italy, and in Rome, Act_28:16; Col_4:14; 1Ti_4:11.

The outline of Luke's gospel is, in general, that of the other synoptic gospels. His introduction concerning the forerunner of Christ and the birth and childhood of Jesus is divided into three sections, marked off by starting-points in secular history. He next gives a full account of the prophetic ministry of Christ in Galilee. Then comes a full account of the parables and discourses which were called forth by the necessity of teaching Christ's disciples and of reproving the Pharisaic enemies. Finally Luke narrates the story of Christ's last journey to Jerusalem and of His sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension.

The Tabellary Harmony of the Gospel-Story

  • The prologue of John's gospel. Joh_1:1-18.

  • Preface of Luke's gospel. Luk_1:1-4.

  • Birth of John the Baptist promised. Luk_1:5-25.

  • The Annunciation to Mary. Luk_1:26-38.

  • The Annunciation to Joseph. Mat_1:18-25.

  • Mary's visit to Elizabeth. Luk_1:39-56.

  • Birth of John the Baptist. Luk_1:57-80.

  • Birth of Jesus the Christ. Mat_1:18-25; Luk_2:1-14.

  • The adoration of the shepherds. Luk_2:15-20.

  • The circumcision and presentation of Christ. Luk_2:21-39.

  • Simeon and Anna. Luk_2:25-40.

  • The wise men from the East. Mat_2:1-12. The flight into Egypt and the return to Nazareth. Mat_2:13-23.

  • Childhood at Nazareth. Mat_2:23; Luk_2:39-40.

  • The twelve-year-old Christ-child in the Temple. Luk_2:41-52.

  • The ministry of John the Baptist. Mat_3:1-12; Mar_1:1-8; Luk_3:1-18.

  • The baptism of Jesus. Mat_3:13-17; Mar_1:9-11; Luk_3:21-22.

  • The temptation in the wilderness. Mat_4:1-11; Mar_1:12-13; Luk_4:1-13.

  • John's testimony before the priests and Levites. Joh_1:19-34.

  • The first disciples of Jesus. Joh_1:35-51. The marriage at Cana. Joh_2:1-11.

  • The first cleansing of the Temple. Joh_2:12-25.

  • The discourse with Nicodemus. Joh_3:1-21.

  • John the Baptist's last testimony of Christ. Joh_3:22-36.

  • The departure from Judea and the woman of Samaria. Mat_4:12; Mar_1:14; Joh_4:1-26.

  • The Gospel in Sychar. Joh_4:27-42.

  • Imprisonment of John the Baptist and beginning of Christ's Galilean ministry. Mat_14:3-5; Mat_4:12-17; Mar_6:17-18; Luk_3:19-20; Joh_4:43-45.

  • The healing of the nobleman's son. Joh_4:46-54.

  • First rejection at Nazareth. Luk_4:16-30.

  • Healing of the sick man of Bethesda. Joh_5:1-18.

  • Testimony of Christ concerning Himself. Joh_5:19-47.

  • Removal to Capernaum. Mat_4:13-16; Luk_4:31.

  • The call of the four. Mat_4:18-22; Mar_1:16-20; Luk_5:1-11.

  • A day of miracles in Capernaum. Mat_8:14-17; Mar_1:21-34; Luk_4:31-41.

  • A preaching tour in Galilee. Mat_4:23-25; Mat_8:1-4; Mar_1:35-45; Luk_4:42-44; Luk_5:12-16.

  • The miraculous draught of fishes. Luk_5:1-11.

  • The call of Matthew. Mat_9:9-13; Mar_2:13-17; Luk_5:27-32.

  • The question about fasting. Mat_9:14-17; Mar_2:18-22; Luk_5:33-39.

  • The disciples plucking grain. Mat_12:1-8; Mar_2:23-28; Luk_6:1-5.

  • The man with the withered hand. Mat_12:9-14; Mar_3:1-6; Luk_6:6-11.

  • The wide-spread fame of Jesus. Mat_4:23-25; Mat_12:15-21; Mar_3:3-12; Luk_6:17-19.

  • The choosing of the Twelve. Mat_10:2-4; Mar_3:13-19; Luk_6:12-19.

  • The Sermon on the Mount. Mat_5:1-48; Mat_6:1-34; Mat_7:1-29; Mat_8:1; Luk_6:20-49.

  • The healing of a leper. Mat_8:1-4; Mar_1:40-45; Luk_5:12-16.

  • The centurion's servant. Mat_8:5-13; Luk_7:1-10.

  • The raising of the widows son at Nain. Luk_7:11-17.

  • John the Baptist's last message. Mat_11:2-19; Luk_7:18-35.

  • Anointing of Jesus in the house of Simon the Pharisee. Luk_7:36-50.

  • Christ's companions on His second preaching tour. Luk_8:1-3.

  • Warnings to the scribes and Pharisees. Mat_12:22-45; Mar_3:19 b-30; Luk_11:14-36.

  • The true kindred of Jesus. Mat_12:46-50; Mar_3:31-35; Luk_8:19-21.

  • The parables by the sea. Mat_13:1-53; Mar_4:1-34; Luk_8:4-18.

  • The stilling of the tempest. Mat_8:18; Mat_23:1-39; Mat_24:1-51; Mat_25:1-46; Mat_26:1-75; Mat_27:1-66; Mar_4:35-41; Luk_8:22-25.

  • The Gadarene demoniacs. Mat_8:28-34; Mar_5:1-20; Luk_8:26-39.

  • The raising of Jairus's daughter. Mat_9:1; Mat_9:18-26; Mar_5:21-43; Luk_8:40-56.

  • The two blind men and the dumb demoniac. Mat_9:27-34.

  • The third preaching tour continued. Mat_9:35; Mar_6:6 b.

  • The mission of the Twelve. Mat_9:36; Mar_6:7-13; Luk_9:1-6.

  • Death of John the Baptist. Mat_14:1-12; Mar_6:14-29; Luk_9:7-9.

  • The feeding of the five thousand. Joh_6:1-13; Mat_14:13-23; Mar_6:30-46; Luk_9:10-17.

  • Jesus walking on the water. Mat_14:24-36; Mar_6:45-56; Joh_6:14-21.

  • Discourse on the Bread of Life. Joh_6:22-71.

  • Discourses on commandments of men. Mat_15:1-20; Mar_7:1-23.

  • The Syrophoenician woman. Mat_15:21-28; Mar_7:24-30.

  • Return through Decapolis. Mat_15:29-31; Mar_7:31-37.

  • The feeding of the four thousand. Mat_15:29-39; Mar_8:1-9.

  • The demand for a sign from heaven. Mat_15:39; Mat_16:1-12; Mar_8:10-21; Luk_12:54-57.

  • The blind man near Bethsaida. Mar_8:22-26.

  • Peter's confession. Mat_16:13-20; Mar_8:27-30; Luk_9:18-21.

  • Christ foretells His death and resurrection. Mat_16:21-28; Mar_8:31-38; Mar_9:1; Luk_9:22-27.

  • The transfiguration. Mat_17:1-13; Mar_9:2-13; Luk_9:28-36.

  • The demoniac boy. Mat_17:14-20; Mar_9:14-32; Luk_9:37-43 a

  • Discourse on humility and forgiveness. Mat_18:1-35; Mar_9:33-50; Luk_9:46-50.

  • Jesus at the Feast of Tabernacles. Joh_7:1-52.

  • The woman taken in adultery. Joh_7:53; Joh_8:1-11.

  • Jesus the Light of the World. Joh_8:12-30.

  • Discourse on spiritual freedom. Joh_8:31-59.

  • The final departure from Galilee. Mat_19:1-2; Mat_8:19-22; Mar_10:1; Luk_9:51-62.

  • The mission of the seventy. Mat_11:20-30; Luk_10:1-24.

  • The good Samaritan. Luk_10:25-37.

  • The visit to Mary and Martha. Luk_10:38-42.

  • Healing of the man born blind. Joh_9:1-41.

  • The Good Shepherd. Joh_10:1-21.

  • Christ at the Feast of Dedication. Joh_10:22-42.

  • Discourse on prayer. Luk_11:1-13.

  • Woes against the Pharisees. Luk_11:37-54.

  • Warning against the spirit of Pharisaism. Luk_12:1-59.

  • The Galileans slain by Pilate. Luk_13:1-9.

  • The woman healed on a Sabbath. Luk_13:10-21.

  • The question whether few are saved. Luk_13:22-35.

  • Discourse at a chief Pharisee's table. Luk_14:1-24.

  • On counting the cost. Luk_14:25-35.

  • Three parables of grace. Luk_15:1-32.

  • Two parables of warning. Luk_16:1-31.

  • Concerning forgiveness and faith. Luk_17:1-10.

  • The raising of Lazarus. Joh_11:1-46.

  • The withdrawal to Ephraim. Joh_11:47-54.

  • The ten lepers. Luk_17:11-19.

  • The coming of the kingdom. Luk_17:20-37; Luk_18:1-8.

  • The Pharisee and the publican, Luk_18:9-14.

  • Concerning divorce. Mat_19:1-15; Mar_10:2-12; Luk_18:15-17.

  • Christ and the rich young ruler. Mat_19:16-30; Mar_10:17-31; Luk_18:18-30.

  • The laborers in the vineyard. Mat_20:1-16.

  • Christ foretells His crucifixion. Mat_20:17-19; Mar_10:32-34; Luk_18:31-34.

  • Ambition of James and John. Mat_20:20-28; Mar_10:35-45.

  • The blind men near Jericho. Mat_20:29-34; Mar_10:46-52; Luk_18:35-43.

  • Visit to Zacchaeus. Luk_19:1-10.

  • Parable of the pounds. Luk_19:11-28.

  • Anointing of Jesus by Mary of Bethany. Mat_26:6-13; Mar_14:3-9; Joh_11:55-57; Joh_12:1-11.

  • The triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Mat_21:1-11; Mar_11:1-11; Luk_19:29-44; Joh_12:12-19.

  • The cursing of the fig-tree. Mat_21:18-19; Mar_11:12-14.

  • Second cleansing of the Temple. Mat_21:12-17; Mar_11:15-19; Luk_19:45-48

  • The fig-tree withered away. Mat_21:20-22; Mar_11:20-25.

  • Christ's authority challenged. Mat_21:23-27; Mar_11:27-33; Luk_20:1-8.

  • Three parables of warning. Mat_21:28-46; Mat_22:1-14; Mar_12:1-12; Luk_20:9-19.

  • Three questions by the Jewish rulers. Mat_25:15-40; Mar_12:13-34; Luk_20:20-40.

  • Christ's unanswerable question. Mat_22:41-46; Mar_12:35-37; Luk_20:41-44.

  • The discourse against the scribes and Pharisees. Mat_23:1-39; Mar_12:38-40; Luk_20:45-47.

  • The widow's two mites. Mar_12:41-44; Luk_21:1-4.

  • Testimony of Jesus concerning His glorification. Joh_12:20-50.

  • Concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world. Mat_24:1-51; Mar_13:1-37; Luk_21:1-38.

  • The ten virgins. Mat_25:1-13.

  • Of the Last Judgment. Mat_25:31-46.

  • The conspiracy against Jesus. Mat_26:1; Mat_5:14-16; Mar_14:1-2; Luk_22:1-6.

  • Jesus washing the disciples' feet. Joh_13:1-20.

  • The Passover meal and the institution of the Lord's Supper. Mat_26:17-36; Mar_14:12-26; Luk_22:7-30; Joh_13:1-30.

  • Christ's farewell discourses. Mat_26:31-35; Mar_14:27-31; Luk_22:31-38; Joh_13:31-38; Joh_14:1-31; Joh_15:1-27; Joh_16:1-33.

  • The intercessory prayer. Joh_17:1-26,

  • The agony in Gethsemane. Mat_26:30-46; Mar_14:26-42; Luk_22:39-46; Joh_18:1.

  • The betrayal and arrest. Mat_26:47-56; Mar_14:43-52; Luk_22:47-53; Joh_18:1-12.

  • The trial before the Jewish authorities and the denial of Peter. Mat_26:57-75; Mat_27:1-10; Mar_14:53-72; Luk_22:54-71; Joh_18:12-27.

  • The trial before Pilate. Mat_27:11-31; Mar_15:1-20; Luk_22:1-25; Joh_18:28-40; Joh_19:1-16.

  • The crucifixion and death of Jesus. Mat_27:32-56; Mar_15:21-41; Luk_23:26-49; Joh_19:16-37.

  • The burial of Jesus. Mat_27:57-61; Mar_15:42-47; Luk_23:50-56; Joh_19:38-42.

  • The watch at the sepulcher. Mat_27:62-66.

  • Easter morning. Mat_28:1-15; Mar_16:1-11; Luk_23:56; Luk_24:1-12; Joh_20:1-18.

  • The report of the watch. Mat_28:11-15.

  • The walk to Emmaus. Mar_16:12-13; Luk_24:13-35.

  • The appearance to the disciples in Jerusalem. Mar_16:14; Luk_24:36-43; Joh_20:19-31.

  • The appearance to seven disciples by the Sea of Galilee. Joh_21:1-25.

  • The appearance to the Eleven on a mountain in Galilee. Mat_28:16-20; Mar_16:15-18.

  • Christ's final appearance and His ascension from Mount Olivet. Mar_16:19-20; Luk_24:44-53.

  • The conclusion of John's gospel. Joh_20:30-31; Joh_21:25.

 


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Bibliography Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Luke:4 Overview". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/luke-0.html. 1921-23.

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