The Gospel According to Saint Luke

New Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2002), 72–106


Author: Luke was a physician (see Colossians 4:14) and was called to be a “messenger of Jesus Christ” (JST, Luke 1:1). Luke was a Gentile (non-Jewish) by birth. His writings show he was well educated in Greek culture and language. Luke was not an eyewitness to the events of the Savior’s life but became well acquainted with the life and teachings of the Savior through those who were (see Luke 1:2–3). Luke was Paul’s companion at various times. He traveled with the Apostle during his second and third missionary journeys. When Paul was imprisoned at Rome for the second time, Luke remained even after all others deserted him (see 2 Timothy 4:11). Luke was also the author of the book of Acts, which is a companion volume to his Gospel. (See Bible Dictionary, (“Luke,” p. 726.)

Audience:Luke wanted the Gentiles to come to the same knowledge of the truth that he had. His testimony was addressed to Theophilus (see Luke 1:3), who may have been a high-ranking Roman official. Luke presented information that would help every reader understand and believe the good news about the Redeemer.

Historical Background:Luke was written before Acts (see Acts 1:1), probably between A.D. 59–79.

Unique Features: Besides being the longest book in the New Testament, Luke adds the unique perspective of one who was not a Jew to the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life.

“Matthew presents Christ as King, Mark presents Him as Servant, John presents Him as the Son of God, and Luke presents Him as the Son of man, the human-divine [part mortal] One. … In agreement with his purpose, Luke narrates those events that demonstrate the humanity of Christ. The divine genealogy is traced to Adam. A detailed account of Christ’s mother and of His infancy and childhood is presented. The parables included by Luke have a human touch. Although Luke beautifully sets forth the humanity of the divine One he carefully shields His deity and kingship (1:32–35)” (Merrill F. Unger and others, The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, rev. ed. [1988], “Luke, Gospel of,” 788).

The Gospel of Luke includes much material not found in the other Gospels. This material often focuses on women, the poor, and the lower class. Luke’s testimony, therefore, provides a message of hope to all people through the life and atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. This emphasis is also consistent with the book of Acts, which is primarily concerned with the mission to the Gentiles.

Theme: Luke 19:10 is a good summary of Luke’s theme that “the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke’s testimony is that Jesus was the promised Messiah and is the Savior of all.