1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

The Book of Luke, Introduction, Part I  – Lesson I


From the beginning of the Christian era, two books of the Bible have been credited to Luke, yet nowhere in these writings does the author’s name appear.


All the information concerning this man Luke is derived from several brief passages of scripture besides the introductions to the books of Luke and Acts where he uses the words “I” and “me” to refer to himself. 


These references are:


Col 4:14;  Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.


Philemon 24; Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellow labourers


2 Timothy 4:11, Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.


The use of we and us in the book of Acts reveals that the author was taking part in the action described.


And that author has always been considered Luke, the physician.


Acts 16:10-17,   10And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them. 

Acts 20:5-21,   5These going before tarried for us at Troas. 6And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.

Acts 27:1-28:16, 1And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus’ band.


Luke refers to himself in the first person in his introduction of both books and both books are written to a man he describes as excellent and perhaps a supporter of Luke, named Theophilus.


Luke 1:1-4,  Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, 2Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; 3It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, 4That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed. 

See also the introduction to the book of Acts 

Acts 1:1-5, The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: 4And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.


The books of Matthew, Mark and Luke are known as the synoptic gospels. 


The book of John takes on a different form and is not considered in the same category as Matthew, Mark and Luke and therefore not included as synoptic and with the three synoptic gospels.


The word synoptic is from the word synopsis which means a brief or condensed statement giving a general view of some subject.


Synoptic - affording or taking a general view of the whole or of the principal parts of a subject; also taking a common view. 


This word is applied distinctively to the first three Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke from their similarity in contents, order and statement. 


This similarity in contents, order and statement is not so in the Gospel of John and therefore John is not placed in the group.


The three synoptic gospels belong to the same class of historical records, yet even a cursory glance will reveal that only Luke’s account covered the entire range of those thirty-three years of our Lord’s life on earth. 


The synoptic gospels, although similar have many differences.


Luke began at the beginning of the earthly life of Jesus Christ and ended at the end. 


He starts with the story of the Angel coming down from heaven to prepare the way for the incarnation of the Son of God; he ended the account with the return of the same Son to the place from where He had come. 

The book of Luke is the account of a man who apparently never saw the Lord Jesus personally, but who did a very skillful job of researching the accounts of his birth, life, death, and resurrection, and then communicated them in a most orderly and skillful way.  

Luke did not attempt to write his Gospel until he had become conversant with all the facts relevant to the story he had to tell.   

He went out of his way to obtain exclusive interviews with any person who could help; he spent much time eliciting information from the original eyewitnesses of the miracles. 

His reference to a “perfect understanding from the very first” suggests a standard by which all material was either accepted or rejected. 

The author, Luke, was a doctor, and a traveling companion of Paul, whose second inspired account (the Book of Acts) is the only recorded history of the birth of the church, and of the beginning of the expansion of the gospel from Jerusalem to the “uttermost part of the earth.”  

As every book of the Bible is God placed and necessary, so too is the book of Luke.   

It certainly is a gift to us by God as it provides many things about the life of Jesus Christ not found anywhere else.  

It is Luke’s Gospel only which provides us with many of the details concerning the births of John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Christ.  

His genealogy of our Lord Jesus Christ is distinctly different from the only other genealogy, found in Matthew’s Gospel.  

Luke gives us an account of the divine visitations to Zacharias and Mary, of the circumstances surrounding the birth of our Lord in Bethlehem, and of the announcement of Christ’s birth to the shepherds.  

We are told by Luke alone of the recognition of Jesus as the promised Messiah by Simeon and Anna, and of the visit of our Lord to Jerusalem at the age of 12.  

The parables of the prodigal son and of the rich man and Lazarus are found only in Luke.  

Luke’s account alone includes the story of the appearance of our Lord to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.  

Luke’s Gospel is not only a literary masterpiece and a beautiful story but it is the infallible and inerrant Word of God for it is Holy Spirit authored through Luke.  

Luke has given us an extensive account of our Lord’s final journey to Jerusalem, where He is rejected and crucified, and where He is raised from the dead.  

Luke reveals to us over and over again the glory and majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ.  

There is nowhere the lifting up of the author, but only the lifting up of the author of the author.   

This certainly is a mark of God’s Holy Spirit as it is always His purpose to lift up Jesus Christ.  

As we go through the Gospel of Luke you will meet Jesus Christ over and over and as Luke intended you will find Jesus Christ ever more lovely in the light of Luke’s description of Him.  

So I hope and pray that this study of the book of Luke will provide the Holy Spirit with the spiritual food that will give Him what it takes to grow you in the Spirit.   

For that is what this class should be all about.   

Not quenching the work of the Holy Spirit but giving opportunity for the Holy Spirit to do His work in your life.   

(In this study I will be using for reference and help the following Luke Study which I obtained from the NET Bible Web Site).

Luke, The Gospel of the Gentiles, by Robert Deffinbaugh deffinbaugh@bible.org 
Biblical Studies Press www.bible.org 1996

The author has most graciously stated that his study is provided for personal study or for use in

preparation of sermons, Sunday School classes, or other non-commercial study.


And that same invitation is given to all who wish to use these Sunday School lessons.


Introduction to the Gospel of Luke 

The very last words of the last book of the Old Testament read: 

Mal. 4:5,6,  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. 

For 400 years from the time of Malachi there had been a silence from God and nothing had been heard.   

There was no increase to the written Word of God until the angelic announcement of Gabriel to Zacharias as recorded in the gospel of Luke. 

Luke commences his gospel with this angelic announcement of Gabriel to Zacharias, an elderly priest, that he and his wife will have a son, a son who will come in the spirit of Elijah the prophet, and who will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and will prepare the way of the Lord. 

Before we spend time concerning this announcement let us look at the uniqueness of Luke’s gospel as compared to the other three gospel accounts which will greatly enhance our study of this book. 

We will begin by pointing out several unique features of Luke, and then go on to consider Luke’s unique purpose in writing this gospel, as stated by the author himself in verses 1-4.  

The Gospel of Luke and the Other Gospels 

Several features of Luke’s Gospel point out its contribution to biblical revelation. 

(1) The gospel of Luke is unique in what is reported.  

Over 50 percent of Luke’s gospel is unique, containing materials found nowhere else. 

Without Luke, certain periods of Christ’s life and ministry would be unknown to us.  

Luke alone gives certain important chronological notations (2:1; 3:2; 3:23).  

Caesar Augustus and the time of taxing, Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests, the age of Jesus at the beginning of his ministry, 30 years 

Luke has a greater focus on individuals than do the other gospels.  

For example, Luke mentions thirteen women not found in the other gospels.  

It can also be said that Luke’s gospel has more comprehensive range than the other gospels.  

It begins with the announcements concerning the births of John the Baptist and Jesus and ends with a reference to the ascension of Christ. 

It is impossible to say how many miracles Jesus Christ performed during His ministry, because many are referred to collectively.  

There are about a dozen passages in the gospels where miracles are summarized for us.  

There are thirty-five miracles specifically detailed in the gospels, twenty of which are found in Luke.  

Of the twenty in Luke, seven are unique to this gospel alone. 

… there are some fifty-one ‘parables’ spoken by Christ.


Needless to say, this number is not fixed, since there is much disagreement as to what constitutes a parable.


However, of the fifty-one so classified, thirty-five are found in Luke, and nineteen of those are unique to this gospel. 

There are 29 events in the life of Christ which are not included by any other gospel writer, other than Luke. 

(2)    Luke alone focuses on the artistic in his gospel.  

Luke alone who was an educated man, has committed to writing the songs of Elisabeth, Mary, Zacharias and Simeon and the hymn of the angels.  

(3) Luke’s gospel is unique in portraying intimate information about the thoughts and feelings of the people involved.  

Luke, for example, informs us that “Mary treasured these things in her heart,” (Luke 2:51; cf. 1:29).  

Many thoughts, fears, and reflections of people are reported in this gospel, which are not recorded elsewhere. 

From Luke’s point of view, it is the uniqueness of his gospel which justifies the effort he has taken to write it.    

Luke knew much that was not written in other accounts and the Lord led him to write it down. 

This is explained in his introduction to the book, recorded in verses 1-4: 

Luke 1:1-4,  Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, 2Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; 3It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, 4That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed. 

In these verses Luke informs us that he is aware that a good many other gospels have been written.  

These would include, but not be restricted to, the other three gospel accounts.  

Luke has not written because others have failed to do so, but because other accounts have not included things which he feels are essential.   

His gospel fills in many blank spaces in the other gospels. 

What are these things which have shaped Luke’s gospel, which are missing elsewhere?  

From his own words, these would include: 

(1)    Accuracy in accounting the facts and focus of the gospel.  

There is no suggestion that the other gospels included in our New Testament are inaccurate.  

But there were many of the extra-biblical accounts of Luke’s day that were greatly inaccurate.  

This is one of Luke’s stated purposes: to give an accurate, consecutive, account of the gospel.  

As this relates to the other biblical gospels, Luke includes details that are not included in them, thus providing a more complete account of the life and times of our Lord. 

Luke seems intent on presenting a carefully arranged sequence of events, from the very beginning, something which cannot be claimed by other gospel accounts.  

Furthermore, Luke, as a historian, deals with the “roots” of Jesus’ ministry.  

Luke was careful to include records of the earliest events in the life and ministry of John the Baptist and of the Lord Jesus Christ.