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Bible Gem 729 - Luke's Distinctive Characteristics

May 5, 2019


Luke  was not an apostle and therefore was independent from those who had been close to Jesus. Luke was highly educated and a skilled writer. He weaves different cultural perspectives together. He demonstrates that he is familiar with various languages.  His prologue is described as the most classic piece of Greek in the New Testament, but the rest of chapter 1 and all of chapter 2 are the most Semitic in tone. How do you account for that? Many question Luke's integrity, authorship and accuracy over these matters.  What it shows us is that Luke is blending various cultural accounts together in one literary work. 


Luke displays an interest in the poor through his gospel. Luke gives us the human side of the Son of God. He comes to the interpretation of Jesus from a world viewpoint and does not have to overcome the Pharisaic limitations of one reared in Palestine. The Book of Luke has been called "the most beautiful book in the world". It's a cultured Greek's interpretation of the origin of Christianity. Luke stands outside of Judaism and can see more clearly the world-relations, the overview and impact of the coming of the Son of God, Son of Man, Saviour of the World. 


His rich and varied vocabulary reveals a man who read and mingled with the best life of his time. He wrote his books in the vernacular, but the elevated vernacular of an educated man touched with a distinct literary flavor. His poetic temperament is shown in the preservation of the beautiful hymns of the nativity and in the wonderful parables of Jesus in chapters 10, 15-18. They are reported with rare grace and skill. Luke is fond of showing Christ's sympathy with women and children, and he has more to say about prayer than the authors of the other Gospels. His interest in individuals is shown by the dedication of both his books to Theophilus. His cosmopolitan sympathies are natural in view of his training and inheritance, but part of it is doubtless due to his association with the apostle Paul.


The ending of each Gospel is highly significant, well worth the time taken to study each one. The ending of each gospel is very different. One could be forgiven for thinking each was the ending to a different story. To Hebrews the beginning (alpha/aleph) and the end (omega/taw) is very important. So it is not surprising that the ending of each gospel is important. I won’t spoil your fun. You work it out. But we will spend the time with the ending when we come to it. But use this comment in your study of the other gospels too. 


Both Luke and John rearrange material to suit their theological perspective or point they wish to make. Watch for it in your study. Both include some interesting pericopes and omit some interesting pericopes. Not only that, they reposition some elements in interesting places. Luke's account is also filled with much deep teaching of Jesus. Luke's arrangement of the material that all Gospel writers know is interesting too and requires thought and investigation. Take particular note where Luke deviates from the account of the others, both in terms of the big pieces, extra paragraphs and new stories he adds and where he puts them and the stories he leaves out.But note too the little differences, where he changes a word. Where he leaves out a sentence, where he adds a word or sentence. In short as Basil Brown used to say, take every verse of Luke and suck it like a sweety. 


I will leave the joy of finding them for yourself as we progress through the text of Luke. If you study the Bible and it doesn’t lead you to wonder and awe then you haven’t studied the Bible.[Rob Bell] That is so true. Have you been studying the Bible? If not, start now with Luke's careful, ordered account of the Jesus story. 


As usual in Gemz, I will give you some pointers as to where to dig and leave you to go searching and feel the awe and wonder. I warn you, it’s addictive.



You say, 'I'd like to have a closer relationship with God, but I'm so busy.' The truth is, you are as close to God as you desire and discipline yourself to be! Bob Gass


Maintenance Is To Excellence As Breathing Is To Life. Robb Thompson


God is not who you think He is; He is who He says He is. Sidney Mohede






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