The Gospel of Luke

If you would like to learn more about the Gospel of Luke, you can study along with Agape Bible Study, who offer 16 free lessons covering the gospel. 

Background Information

traditionally attributed author?
physican & companion of Paul
implied author?
Gentile Christian convert; well educated Greek “historian”; client of Theophilus (1:1-4)?
implied audience?
wealthier Gentile Christians in an urban setting, becoming complacent
written from and/or to?
probably Greece; possibly Syria/Antioch (Pauline missions)
approximate date?
mid to late 80’s
subtype of “Gospel” genre?
and “orderly account” for attaining “secure knowledge” (1:1-4)
WHY? community circumstances & author’s purpose? to challenge believers to put their faith into practice more fully

resourced from “The Gospel of Luke by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.”

Basic Outline

  • Literary Preface & Infancy Narratives: 1:1-2:52
  • Preparation for Ministry: 3:1 -4:13
  • Galilean Ministry: 4:14 – 9:50
  • Journey to Jerusalem: 9:51 – 19:27
  • Jerusalem Ministry: 19:28 – 21:38
  • Passion Narrative: 22:1 – 23:56
  • Resurrection appearances & Ascension: 24:1 – 53

The Literary Structure and Themes of the Gospel of Luke

The Gospel of Luke is considered one of the Synoptic Gospels. The word “synoptic” is from the the Greek and means “at a glance”. This is a term that is used for the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke because they follow the same general plan and reflect similarities in the events related in the account of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. However, about half of Luke’s information about the life of Jesus is exclusively his own:

  1. St Luke contains information about the announcement and the birth of St John the Baptist that is not in the other Gospels.
  2. There is also detailed information about the Annunciation and birth of Jesus and His presentation at the Temple that is not found in the other Gospels.
  3. In addition, St Luke records in detail Jesus’ final journey to Jerusalem, which contains many parables not found in the other Gospels.

The Gospel of Luke emphasises Jesus’ humanity and compassion.

He is the “Son of Man” who fulfils the ideal of human perfection and who identifies with the sorrow and suffering of a sinful humanity. Luke relates that Jesus, the perfected Son of Man who is Divine Son of God, willingly took humanity’s suffering upon Himself to accomplish His work of salvation.

Finally, St Luke places special emphasis on the universality of Jesus’ Gospel message of salvation. He is the Messiah prophesied by the prophets (Lk 24:27; 44-45) who came to save and minister to the people of all nations through the power of God the Holy Spirit. Jesus of Nazareth is not just the promised Redeemer-Messiah of the Jews, He is the Saviour of the whole world:

  1.  ..a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel (Simon’s prophecy in Lk 2:32)
  2. Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, wold be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. (Jesus to the Apostles on Resurrection Sunday Lk 24:47