Originally I started the Bible Gems on Luke on January 6th 2012, so this was my Christmas - New Year present to you all back then, hence the setting and comments along the way.
Where to start the Gospel of Luke? that is the question. We can't go back and look at the background to the city or do research into the church that was established in "Luke's letter". Luke's gospel is not like the letter's of Paul. So we can't use the pattern we established for Romans, Corinthians and Ephesians. We have to approach this Gospel in a different way. The place to start is where Luke starts; to whom he is writing this "letter" / Gospel. Take time also to find out all you can about Luke himself. To do that you will need to use the resources at your disposal and have your wits about you. (Ian, I would, if only I knew what wits were and where I find them.) In other words put your thinking cap on, or have your mind engaged and be alert. Did you become a lert when I suggested it (Gem 720)? Your church needs more lerts and God certainly wants you to be a lert. [For the benefit of you non-native English speakers, I am just playing with words. There is no such word in the English language as a "lert".] But God does want you to have your mind switched on when you approach His Word. So do it now at the beginning of Luke's Gospel. Luke if nothing else is very ordered, thorough and meticulous. So we ought to follow his lead and be ordered, thorough and meticulous. Switch on time people.
The first thing to do is find out about "Luke". Do a character study on this man and find out who it is who is writing this Gospel. Find out about the man and you will find out more about what lies behind his Gospel. What would you use as the sources for your study? Think about it first.
Firstly, Look up the references to the name Luke throughout the Bible. You will only find three references in the whole Bible. Yet he wrote two of the largest books of the New Testament. How can that be?
Col 4:14 Luke, the beloved doctor, sends his greetings, and so does Demas.
2Ti 4:11 Only Luke is with me. Bring Mark with you when you come, for he will be helpful to me in my ministry.
Phm 1:24 So do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my co-workers.
And in fact in the King James Version only the first two references translate Luke. Philemon 1:24 reads as follows: "Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellow laborers."
In other words the Luke listed here is re-interpreted to be another person, Lucas, but not Luke, the writer of the Gospel which bears his name, or the Book of Acts.
Again how can that be? What about all Luke wrote in the book of Acts and the Gospel of Luke? Simple. Luke was not wanting to draw attention to himself. The Gospel was about Jesus, not about Luke. We will look at why the Gospel is called Luke's Gospel. For the references to Luke in the book of Acts you will have to look for "we". He includes himself in the action and you can indeed tell when Luke appears and when he doesn’t. But to do that you will have to look for the references to "we". I am not going to find them for you. You do it. It's half the fun. Yes fun. Be a detective, a sleuth, go find out for yourself. In so doing, read the Book of Acts "looking for Luke".
Once you have found the references to Luke in the Bible it would be advisable as well to use the resources in E-Sword to find out more. For those of you who have joined Bible Gems since I started Ephesians you ought to download E-Sword. You can download the programme from http://www.e-sword.net . There are many add ons you can get and the wonder of it all is that it is mostly free. There are huge resources available for you to use. From the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) there are 3 pages of material on Luke the person and 11 pages on general comments related to Luke's Gospel. In addition to that if you click on the first verse of Luke and then go to the commentaries one by one there is a wealth of extra material and comment available to you. Give yourself a Christmas present this Christmas Day and download E-Sword.
On this day, I would recommend you sit down and in one sitting read Luke 1:5 – 2:52. Especially so if you have never read the Christmas story through before from beginning to end at one time. Do it now, this year. And even if you have read it through in one sitting before do it again before we begin gemming the book of Luke.
But don't forget your study of "Luke the man" before January 8th.
Have a wonderful Christ centred Christmas.
The essence of Christmas in eight words: “The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.”
If the Christmas story is true, bow down. If it isn't, bow out. Anything in between is dishonest. Rick Atchley