The Book of Luke

I. Title

          The book carries the name of its traditional author.

II. Author and Setting

          The author is not mentioned by name in the book; it is clear, from the introduction, that he was not an eyewitness. Rather, the author indicates that he gained his information from other sources and did extensive research (1:1- 3).
          The close similarity between the book of Acts and this gospel indicate a common author, and this commonality is helpful in determining an author for the book of Luke.

1. Both books are dedicated to Theophilus.
2. Acts refers to a previous document, which is generally assumed to be the gospel of Luke.
3. Language and style are similar in the two books.
4. Passages appear in the book of Acts where first person plural replaces the normal third person, suggesting that the author was a companion of Paul (Acts 16:10-17, 20:5-15, 21:1-18, 27:1-28:16).
5. Luke was a frequent companion of Paul's (Col. 4:14, 2 Tim. 4:11, Philemon 24)
6. The author of the gospel of Luke and Acts describes illnesses with greater precision and interest than the other gospel writers.

          In addition to the internal evidence which seems to suggest Luke, Paul's doctor friend, is the author of the book bearing his name, a long line of tradition (reported by Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen and Tertullion) also suggests him as the author.
          See the discussion in the book of Matthew for information relating to the Synoptic problem.
          Regarding Luke himself, it seems clear that he was a gentile, rather than Jewish. (Cf. Col. 4:10-14 where he is contrasted with those "of the circumcision"). This may account for the statement in 1:3 where he indicates that he intends to give an "orderly account" of Jesus' life. This would be in contrast to the tendency by Matthew and Mark (and also John) to allow thematic elements to dominate over chronological. Being a Greek, Luke would have found chronology of greatest importance. See The Thematic Arrangement of Biblical Texts for more information on this issue.
          The place of writing is unknown. An early date, before Paul's execution is suggested by the way the book of Acts ends suddenly. It is supposed that it ends where it does because it is at that time and place that Luke was writing. Since Acts was written after the gospel, the gospel therefore is quite early, perhaps before AD 60, and certainly before AD 70.

III. An Outline of Luke

I. Prologue
II. Infancy and childhood 1:5-2:52
III. Beginning of Jesus' ministry 3:1-4:13
IV. Galilean ministry 4:14-9:6
V. Leaving Galilee 9:7-50
VI. Judean and Peraean ministry 9:51-19:28
VII. End of public ministry 19:29-21:37
VIII. End 22:1-23:56
IX. Resurrection 24:1-53

IV. Questions for Luke

          The questions for the book of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John have been combined into one set of questions located at the end of the introduction to the book of John. The questions should be answered after reading all four gospels.