Gospel of Luke

The Gospel According to Luke (Greek: Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Λουκᾶν, romanizedEuangélion katà Loukân[1]), also called the Gospel of Luke, or simply Luke, is the third of the four canonical Gospels.[2] It tells of the origins, birth, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.[3]

Luke is the longest of the four gospels and the longest book in the New Testament; together with Acts of the Apostles it makes up a two-volume work from the same author, called Luke–Acts.[4] The cornerstone of Luke–Acts' theology is "salvation history", the author's understanding that God's purpose is seen in the way he has acted, and will continue to act, in history.[5] It divides the history of first-century Christianity into three stages, with the gospel making up the first two of these – the arrival among men of Jesus the Messiah, from his birth to the beginning of his earthly mission in the meeting with John the Baptist followed by his earthly ministry, Passion, death, and resurrection (concluding the gospel story per se). The gospel's sources are the Gospel of Mark (for the narrative of Christ's earthly life), the sayings collection called the Q source (for his teachings), and a collection of material called the L (for Luke) source, which is found only in this gospel.[6]

Luke–Acts does not name its author.[7] According to Church tradition this was Luke the Evangelist, the companion of Paul, but while this view is still occasionally put forward the scholarly consensus emphasises the many contradictions between Acts and the authentic Pauline letters.[8][9] The most probable date for its composition is around AD 80–110, and there is evidence that it was still being revised well into the 2nd century.[10]

Composition and setting

Textual history

P. Chester Beatty I, folio 13-14, recto
Papyrus 45, a 3rd-century AD Greek papyrus of the Gospel of Luke

Autographs (original copies) of Luke and the other Gospels have not been preserved, as is typical for ancient documents; the texts that survive are third-generation copies, with no two completely identical.[11] The earliest witnesses (the technical term for written manuscripts) for Luke's gospel fall into two "families" with considerable differences between them, the Western and the Alexandrian, and the dominant view is that the Western text represents a process of deliberate revision, as the variations seem to form specific patterns.[12] The fragment 4 is often cited as the oldest witness. It has been dated from the late 2nd century, although this dating is disputed. The oldest complete texts are the 4th century Codex Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, both from the Alexandrian family; Codex Bezae, a 5th- or 6th-century Western text-type manuscript that contains Luke in Greek and Latin versions on facing pages, appears to have descended from an offshoot of the main manuscript tradition, departing from more familiar readings at many points. Codex Bezae shows comprehensively the differences between the versions which show no core theological significance. [13][note 1]

Luke–Acts: unity, authorship and date

Codex Macedoniensis, subscriptio to Luke
Subscriptio to the Gospel of Luke in Codex Macedoniensis 034 (Gregory-Aland), 9th century.

The gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles make up a two-volume work which scholars call Luke–Acts.[14] Together they account for 27.5% of the New Testament, the largest contribution by a single author, providing the framework for both the Church's liturgical calendar and the historical outline into which later generations have fitted their idea of the story of Jesus.[15]

The author is not named in either volume.[7] According to a Church tradition dating from the 2nd century he was the Luke named as a companion of Paul in three of the letters attributed to Paul himself, but "a critical consensus emphasizes the countless contradictions between the account in Acts and the authentic Pauline letters (Theissen and Merz 1998, p.32)."[8] An example can be seen by comparing Acts' accounts of Paul's conversion (Acts 9:1–31, 22:6–21, and 26:9–23) with Paul's own statement that he remained unknown to Christians in Judea after that event (Galatians 1:17–24).[16] Luke admired Paul, but his theology was significantly different from Paul's on key points and he does not (in Acts) represent Paul's views accurately.[17] He was educated, a man of means, probably urban, and someone who respected manual work, although not a worker himself; this is significant, because more high-brow writers of the time looked down on the artisans and small business-people who made up the early church of Paul and were presumably Luke's audience.[18]

The eclipse of the traditional attribution to Luke the companion of Paul has meant that an early date for the gospel is now rarely put forward.[8] Some experts date the composition of the combined work to around 80–90 AD, although some others suggest 90–110,[19] and there is textual evidence (the conflicts between Western and Alexandrian manuscript families) that Luke–Acts was still being substantially revised well into the 2nd century.[10]

Genre, models and sources

Relationship between synoptic gospels-en
Almost all of Mark's content is found in Matthew, and most of Mark is also found in Luke. Matthew and Luke share a large amount of additional material that is not found in Mark, and each also has a proportion of unique material.

Luke–Acts is a religio-political history of the Founder of the church and his successors, in both deeds and words. The author describes his book as a "narrative" (diegesis), rather than as a gospel, and implicitly criticises his predecessors for not giving their readers the speeches of Jesus and the Apostles, as such speeches were the mark of a "full" report, the vehicle through which ancient historians conveyed the meaning of their narratives. He seems to have taken as his model the works of two respected Classical authors, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, who wrote a history of Rome, and the Jewish historian Josephus, author of a history of the Jews. All three authors anchor the histories of their respective peoples by dating the births of the founders (Romulus, Moses, and Jesus) and narrate the stories of the founders' births from God, so that they are sons of God. Each founder taught authoritatively, appeared to witnesses after death, and ascended to heaven. Crucial aspects of the teaching of all three concerned the relationship between rich and poor and the question of whether "foreigners" were to be received into the people.[20]

The author seems to have used as his sources the gospel of Mark, the sayings collection called the Q source, and a collection of material called the L (for Luke) source.[6] Mark, written around 70 AD, provided the narrative outline, but Mark contains comparatively little of Jesus' teachings.[21] For these Luke turned to Q, which consisted mostly, although not exclusively, of "sayings".[22] (Most scholars are reasonably sure that Q existed and that it can be reconstructed).[23] Mark and Q account for about 64% of Luke. The remaining material, known as the L source, is of unknown origin and date.[24] Most Q and L-source material is grouped in two clusters, Luke 6:17–8:3 and 9:51–18:14, and L-source material forms the first two sections of the gospel (the preface and infancy and childhood narratives).[25]

Audience and authorial intent

Luke was written to be read aloud to a group of Jesus-followers gathered in a house to share the Lord's supper.[20] The author assumes an educated Greek-speaking audience, but directs his attention to specifically Christian concerns rather than to the Greco-Roman world at large.[26] He begins his gospel with a preface addressed to "Theophilus" (Luke 1:3; cf. Acts 1:1): the name means "Lover of God," and could mean any Christian though most interpreters consider it a reference to a Christian convert and Luke's literary patron.[27] Here he informs Theophilus of his intention, which is to lead his reader to certainty through an orderly account "of the events that have been fulfilled among us."[18] He did not, however, intend to provide Theophilus with a historical justification of the Christian faith – "did it happen?" – but to encourage faith – "what happened, and what does it all mean?"[28]

Structure and content

Detailed content of Luke
1. Formal introduction
To Theophilus (1:1–4)
2. Jesus' birth and boyhood
Zacharias (1:5–25)
Annunciation (1:26–45)
Magnificat (1:46–56)
Nativity of St John the Baptist (1:57–80)
Benedictus (1:68–79)
Census of Quirinius (2:1–5)
Nativity of Jesus (2:6–7)
Annunciation to the shepherds (2:8–15)
Adoration of the Shepherds (2:16–20)
Circumcision of Jesus (2:21–40)
:Nunc dimittis (2:29–32)
Finding in the Temple (2:41–52)
3. Jesus' baptism and temptation
Ministry of John the Baptist (3:1–20)
Baptism (3:21–22)
Genealogy (3:23–38)
Temptation (4:1–13)
4.Jesus' ministry in Galilee
Good News (4:14–15)
Rejection in Nazareth (4:16–30)
Capernaum (4:31–44)
Miraculous catch of fish (5:1–11)
Leper and Paralytic (5:12–26)
Calling of Matthew (5:27–32)
On fasting (5:33–35)
New Wine into Old Wineskins (5:36–39)
Lord of the Sabbath (6:1–5)
Man with withered hand (6:6–11)
Commissioning of the Twelve Apostles (6:12–16)
Sermon on the Plain (6:17–49)
Centurion's servant (7:1–10)
Young man from Nain (7:11–17)
Messengers from John the Baptist (7:18–35)
Anointing (7:36–50)
Women companions of Jesus (8:1–3)
Parable of the Sower (8:4–8,11–15)
Purpose of parables (8:9–10)
Lamp under a bushel (8:16–18; 11:33)
Jesus' true relatives (8:19–21)
Calming the storm (8:22–25)
Demon named Legion (8:26–39)
Raising of Jairus' daughter (8:40–56)
Instructions for the Twelve (9:1–6)
Death of John the Baptist (9:7–9)
Feeding of the 5000 (9:10–17)
Confession of Peter (9:18–20)
Jesus predicts his death (9:21–27, 44–45; 18:31–34)
Transfiguration (9:28–36)
Possessed boy (9:37–43)
The Little Children (9:46–48)
Those not against are for (9:49–50)
5. Jesus' teaching on the journey to Jerusalem
On the road to Jerusalem (9:51)
Samaritan rejection (9:52–56)
Foxes have holes (9:57–58)
Let the dead bury the dead (9:59–60)
Don't look back (9:61–62)
Commission of the Seventy (10:1–12,10:16–20)
Cursing Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum (10:13–15)
Praising the Father (10:21–24)
Great Commandment (10:25–28)
Parable of the Good Samaritan (10:29–37)
Visiting Martha and Mary (10:38–42)
Lord's Prayer (11:1–4)
Parable of the Friend at Night (11:5–13)
Blind-mute man (11:14–19)
Exorcising by the Finger of God (11:20)
Strong man (11:21–22)
Those not with me are against me (11:23)
Return of the unclean spirit (11:24–26)
Those who hear the word and keep it (11:27–28)
Request for a sign (11:29–32)
Eye and Light (11:34–36)
Woes of the Pharisees (11:37–54)
Veiled and Unveiled (12:1–3)
Whom to fear (12:4–7)
Unforgivable sin (12:8–12)
Disputed inheritance (12:13–15)
Parable of the Rich Fool and Birds (12:16–32)
Sell your possessions (12:33–34)
Parable of the Faithful Servant (12:35–48)
Not peace, but a sword (12:49–53; 14:25–27)
Knowing the times (12:54–56)
Settle with your accuser (12:57–59)
Tower of Siloam (13:1–5)
Parable of the barren fig tree (13:6–9)
Infirm woman (13:10–17)
Parable of the Mustard Seed and Parable of the Leaven (13:18–21)
The Narrow Gate (13:22–30)
Lament over Jerusalem (13:31–35)
Man with dropsy (14:1–6)
Parable of the Wedding Feast, Parable of the Great Banquet, Counting the cost,
Parable of the Lost Sheep, Parable of the Lost Coin, Parable of the Prodigal Son, Parable of the Unjust Steward (14:7–16:13)
Not one stroke of a letter (16:14–17)
On divorce (16:18)
Rich man and Lazarus (16:19–31)
Curse those who set traps (17:1–6)
Parable of the Master and Servant (17:7–10)
Cleansing ten lepers (17:11–19)
The Coming Kingdom of God (17:20–37)
Parables of the Unjust judge, Pharisee and Publican (18:1–14)
The Little Children (18:15–17)
Rich young man (18:18–30)
Blind near Jericho (18:35–43)
Zacchaeus (19:1–9)
Son of Man came to save (19:10)
Parable of the Talents (19:11–27)
6. Jesus' Jerusalem conflicts, crucifixion, and resurrection
Entry into Jerusalem (19:28–44)
Cleansing of the Temple (19:45–48)
Authority questioned (20:1–8)
Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen (20:9–19)
Render unto Caesar (20:20–26)
Resurrection of the dead (20:27–40)
Is the Messiah the son of David? (20:41–44)
Denouncing scribes (20:45–47)
Lesson of the widow's mite (21:1–4)
Olivet Discourse (21:5–38)
Plot to kill Jesus (22:1–2)
Bargain of Judas (22:3–6)
Last Supper (22:7–23)
Dispute about Greatness (22:24–30)
Denial of Peter (22:31–34, 55–62)
Sell your cloak and buy a sword (22:35–38)
Agony in the Garden (22:39–46)
Kiss of Judas (22:47–53)
Arrest (22:54)
Guards mock Jesus (22:63–65)
Before the High Priest (22:66–71)
Pilate's court (23:1–7, 13–25)
Jesus at Herod's court (23:8–12)
Simon of Cyrene (23:26)
Crucifixion (23:27–49)
Entombment (23:50–56)
Empty tomb (24:1–12)
Resurrection appearances (24:13–43)
Great Commission (24:44–49)
Ascension of Jesus (24:50–53)

Structure of Luke's Gospel

Following the author's preface addressed to his patron and the two birth narratives (John the Baptist and Jesus), the gospel opens in Galilee and moves gradually to its climax in Jerusalem:[29]

  1. A brief preface addressed to Theophilus stating the author's aims;
  2. Birth and infancy narratives for both Jesus and John the Baptist, interpreted as the dawn of the promised era of Israel's salvation;
  3. Preparation for Jesus' messianic mission: John's prophetic mission, his baptism of Jesus, and the testing of Jesus' vocation;
  4. The beginning of Jesus' mission in Galilee, and the hostile reception there;
  5. The central section: the journey to Jerusalem, where Jesus knows he must meet his destiny as God's prophet and messiah;
  6. His mission in Jerusalem, culminating in confrontation with the leaders of the Jewish Temple;
  7. His last supper with his most intimate followers, followed by his arrest, interrogation, and crucifixion;
  8. God's validation of Jesus as Christ: events from the first Easter to the Ascension, showing Jesus' death to be divinely ordained, in keeping with both scriptural promise and the nature of messiahship, and anticipating the story of [note 2]

Parallel structure of Luke–Acts

The structure of Acts parallels the structure of the gospel, demonstrating the universality of the divine plan and the shift of authority from Jerusalem to Rome:[30]

The gospel – the acts of Jesus:

  • The presentation of the child Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem
  • Jesus' forty days in the desert
  • Jesus in Samaria/Judea
  • Jesus in the Decapolis
  • Jesus receives the Holy Spirit
  • Jesus preaches with power (the power of the spirit)
  • Jesus heals the sick
  • Death of Jesus
  • The apostles are sent to preach to all nations

The acts of the apostles

  • Jerusalem
  • Forty days before the Ascension
  • Samaria
  • Asia Minor
  • Pentecost: Christ's followers receive the spirit
  • The apostles preach with the power of the spirit
  • The apostles heal the sick
  • Death of Stephen, the first martyr for Christ
  • Paul preaches in Rome


Representation of the Sower's parable.JPEG
Parable of the Sower (Biserica Ortodoxă din Deal, Cluj-Napoca), Romania)

Luke's "salvation history"

Luke's theology is expressed primarily through his overarching plot, the way scenes, themes and characters combine to construct his specific worldview.[5] His "salvation history" stretches from the Creation to the present time of his readers, in three ages: first, the time of "the Law and the Prophets", the period beginning with Genesis and ending with the appearance of John the Baptist (Luke 1:5–3:1); second, the epoch of Jesus, in which the Kingdom of God was preached (Luke 3:2–24:51); and finally the period of the Church, which began when the risen Christ was taken into Heaven, and would end with his second coming.[31]


Luke's understanding of Jesus – his Christology – is central to his theology. One approach to this is through the titles Luke gives to Jesus: these include, but are not limited to, Christ (Messiah), Lord, Son of God, and Son of Man.[32] Another is by reading Luke in the context of similar Greco-Roman divine saviour figures (Roman emperors are an example), references which would have made clear to Luke's readers that Jesus was the greatest of all saviours.[33] A third is to approach Luke through his use of the Old Testament, those passages from Jewish scripture which he cites to establish that Jesus is the promised Messiah.[34] While much of this is familiar, much also is missing: for example, Luke makes no clear reference to Christ's pre-existence or to the Christian's union with Christ, and makes relatively little reference to the concept of atonement: perhaps he felt no need to mention these ideas, or disagreed with them, or possibly he was simply unaware of them.[35]

Bartolomé Esteban Perez Murillo 023
Annunciation (Murillo)

Even what Luke does say about Christ is ambiguous or even contradictory.[35] For example, according to Luke 2:11 Jesus was the Christ at his birth, but in Acts 10:37–38 he becomes Christ at the resurrection, while in Acts 3:20 it seems his messiahship is active only at the parousia, the "second coming"; similarly, in Luke 2:11 he is the Saviour from birth, but in Acts 5:31 he is made Saviour at the resurrection; and he is born the Son of God in Luke 1:32–35, but becomes the Son of God at the resurrection according to Acts 13:33.[36] Many of these differences may be due to scribal error, but others were deliberate alterations to doctrinally unacceptable passages, or the introduction by scribes of "proofs" for their favourite theological tenets.[37] An important example of such deliberate alterations is found in Luke's account of the baptism of Jesus, where virtually all the earliest witnesses have God saying, "This day I have begotten you."[38] (Luke has taken the words of God from Psalm 2, an ancient royal adoption formula in which the king of Israel was recognised as God's elect).[38] This reading is theologically difficult, as it implies that God is now conferring status on Jesus that he did not previously hold.[38] It is unlikely, therefore, that the more common reading of Luke 3:22 (God says to Jesus, "You are my beloved son, with you I am well pleased") is original.[38]

The Holy Spirit, the Christian community, and the kingdom of God

The Holy Spirit plays a more important role in Luke–Acts than in the other gospels. Some scholars have argued that the Spirit's involvement in the career of Jesus is paradigmatic of the universal Christian experience, others that Luke's intention was to stress Jesus' uniqueness as the Prophet of the final age.[39] It is clear, however, that Luke understands the enabling power of the Spirit, expressed through non-discriminatory fellowship ("All who believed were together and had all things in common"), to be the basis of the Christian community.[40] This community can also be understood as the Kingdom of God, although the kingdom's final consummation will not be seen till the Son of Man comes "on a cloud" at the end-time.[41]

Christians vs. Rome and the Jews

Luke needed to define the position of Christians in relation to two political and social entities, the Roman Empire and Judaism. Regarding the Empire Luke makes clear that, while Christians are not a threat to the established order, the rulers of this world hold their power from Satan, and the essential loyalty of Christ's followers is to God and this world will be the kingdom of God, ruled by Christ the King.[42] Regarding the Jews, Luke emphasises the fact that Jesus and all his earliest followers were Jews, although by his time the majority of Christ-followers were gentiles; nevertheless, the Jews had rejected and killed the Messiah, and the Christian mission now lay with the gentiles.[43]

Comparison with other writings

The gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke share so much in common that they are called the Synoptics, as they frequently cover the same events in similar and sometimes identical language. The majority opinion among scholars is that Mark was the earliest of the three (about 70 AD) and that Matthew and Luke both used this work and the "sayings gospel" known as Q as their basic sources. Luke has both expanded Mark and refined his grammar and syntax, as Mark's Greek writing is less elegant. Some passages from Mark he has eliminated entirely, notably most of chapters 6 and 7, which he apparently felt reflected poorly on the disciples and painted Jesus too much like a magician. Despite this, he follows Mark's narrative more faithfully than does Matthew.[44]

Despite being grouped with Matthew and Mark, Luke's gospel has a number of parallels with the Gospel of John. For example, Luke uses the terms "Jews" and "Israelites" in a way unlike Mark, but like John; the figures of Mary of Bethany and Martha as well as a person named Lazarus (although Lazarus of Bethany and the Lazarus of the parable are generally not considered the same person) are found only in Luke and John; and at Jesus' arrest, only Luke and John state that the servant's right ear was cut off (there are several such small details found only in Luke and John).[45]

The Gospel of Marcion

Some time in the 2nd century, the Christian thinker Marcion of Sinope began using a gospel that was very similar to, but shorter than, canonical Luke. Marcion was well-known for preaching that the god who sent Jesus into the world was a different, higher deity than the creator god of Judaism.[46]

While no manuscript copies of Marcion's gospel survive, reconstructions of his text have been published by Adolf von Harnack and Dieter T. Roth,[47] based on quotations in the anti-Marcionite treatises of orthodox Christian apologists, such as Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Epiphanius. These early apologists accused Marcion of having "mutilated" canonical Luke by removing material that contradicted his unorthodox theological views.[48] According to Tertullian, Marcion also accused his orthodox opponents of having "falsified" canonical Luke.[49]

Like the Gospel of Mark, Marcion's gospel lacked any nativity story, and Luke's account of the baptism of Jesus was absent. The Gospel of Marcion also omitted Luke's parables of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son.[50]

See also


  1. ^ Verses 22:19–20 are omitted in Codex Bezae and a handful of Old Latin manuscripts. Nearly all other manuscripts including Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus and Church Fathers contain the "longer" reading of Luke 22:19 and 20. Verse 22:20, which is very similar to 1 Cor 11:25, and provides gospel support for the doctrine of the New Covenant, along with Matthew 26:28 and Mark 14:24 (both, in the Textus Receptus Greek manuscript). Verses 22:43–44 are found in Western text-type, are omitted by a diverse number of ancient witnesses, and are generally marked as such in modern translations. See Bruce M. Metzger's Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (2005) for details. 4, which dates to sometime between the 2nd and 4th century, contains Luke 1:58–59, 62–2:1,6–7; 3:8–4:2, 29–32, 34–35; 5:3–8; 5:30–6:16. 75, which also dates to sometime between the 2nd and 4th century, contains Luke 3:18–4:2+; 4:34–5:10; 5:37–18:18+; 22:4–24:53 and John 1:1–11:45, 48–57; 12:3–13:10; 14:8–15:10. Finally, 45 (mid-3rd century) contains extensive portions of all four Gospels. In addition to these major early papyri there are 6 other papyri (3, 7, 42, 69, 82 and 97) dating from between the 3rd–8th century which also have small portions of Luke's Gospel. (See List of New Testament papyri).
  2. ^ For studies of the literary structure of this Gospel, see recent contributions of Bailey, Goulder and Talbert, in particular for their readings of Luke's Central Section. (Almost all scholars believe the section begins at 9.51; strong case, however, can be put for 9.43b.) Then the introductory pieces to the opening and closing parts that frame the teaching of the Central Section would exhibit a significant dualism: compare 9.43b–45 and 18.31–35. The Central Section would then be defined as 9.43b–19.48, 'Jesus Journey to Jerusalem and its Temple'. Between the opening part ('His Setting out', 9.43b–10.24) and the closing part ('His Arriving', 18.31–19.48) lies a chiasm of parts 1–5,C,5'–1', 'His Teachings on the Way': 1, 10.25–42 Inheriting eternal life: law and love; 2, 11.1–13 Prayer: right praying, persistence, Holy Spirit is given; 3, 11.14–12.12 The Kingdom of God: what is internal is important; 4, 12.13–48 Earthly and Heavenly riches; the coming of the Son of Man; 5, 12.49–13.9 Divisions, warning and prudence, repentance; C, 13.10–14.24 a Sabbath healing, kingdom and entry (13.10–30), Jesus is to die in Jerusalem, his lament for it (13.31–35), a Sabbath healing, banqueting in the kingdom (14.1–24); 5', 14.25–15.32 Divisions, warning and prudence, repentance; 4', 16.1–31 Earthly and Heavenly riches: the coming judgement; 3', 17.1–37 The kingdom of God is 'within', not coming with signs; 2', 18.1–17 Prayer: persistence, right praying, receiving the kingdom; 1', 18.18–30 Inheriting eternal life: law and love. (All the parts 1–5 and 5'–1' are constructed of three parts in the style of ABB'.)



  1. ^ http://khazarzar.skeptik.net/books/titles.pdf
  2. ^ Stanton 1911, p. 118.
  3. ^ Allen 2009, p. 325.
  4. ^ Thompson 2010, p. 319.
  5. ^ a b Allen 2009, p. 326.
  6. ^ a b Johnson 2010, p. 44.
  7. ^ a b Burkett 2002, p. 196.
  8. ^ a b c Theissen & Merz 1998, p. 32.
  9. ^ Ehrman 2005, pp. 172, 235.
  10. ^ a b Perkins 2009, pp. 250–53.
  11. ^ Ehrman 1996, p. 27.
  12. ^ Boring 2012, p. 596.
  13. ^ Ellis 2003, p. 19.
  14. ^ Burkett 2002, p. 195.
  15. ^ Boring 2012, p. 556.
  16. ^ Perkins 1998, p. 253.
  17. ^ Boring 2012, p. 590.
  18. ^ a b Green 1997, p. 35.
  19. ^ Charlesworth 2008, p. 42.
  20. ^ a b Balch 2003, p. 1104.
  21. ^ Hurtado 2005, p. 284.
  22. ^ Ehrman 1999, p. 82.
  23. ^ Ehrman 1999, p. 80.
  24. ^ Powell 1998, pp. 39–40.
  25. ^ Burkett 2002, p. 204.
  26. ^ Green 1995, pp. 16–17.
  27. ^ Meier 2013, p. 417.
  28. ^ Green 1997, p. 36.
  29. ^ Carroll 2012, pp. 15–16.
  30. ^ Boring 2012, p. 569.
  31. ^ Evans 2011, p. no page numbers.
  32. ^ Powell 1989, p. 60.
  33. ^ Powell 1989, pp. 63–65.
  34. ^ Powell 1989, p. 66.
  35. ^ a b Buckwalter 1996, p. 4.
  36. ^ Ehrman 1996, p. 65.
  37. ^ Miller 2011, p. 63.
  38. ^ a b c d Ehrman 1996, p. 66.
  39. ^ Powell 1989, pp. 108–11.
  40. ^ Powell 1989, p. 111.
  41. ^ Holladay 2011, p. no page number.
  42. ^ Boring 2012, p. 562.
  43. ^ Boring 2012, p. 563.
  44. ^ Johnson 2010, p. 48.
  45. ^ Boring 2012, p. 576.
  46. ^ BeDuhn 2015, p. 165.
  47. ^ Roth 2015.
  48. ^ BeDuhn 2015, p. 166.
  49. ^ BeDuhn 2015, p. 167-168, citing Tertullian, Adversus Marcionem 4.4.
  50. ^ BeDuhn 2015, p. 170.


External links

Online translations of the Gospel of Luke
Secondary literature
Related articles
Gospel of Luke
Preceded by
Gospel of
New Testament
Books of the Bible
Succeeded by
Gospel of
Acts of the Apostles

Acts of the Apostles (Ancient Greek: Πράξεις τῶν Ἀποστόλων, Práxeis tôn Apostólōn; Latin: Actūs Apostolōrum), often referred to simply as Acts, or formally the Book of Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; it tells of the founding of the Christian church and the spread of its message to the Roman Empire.Acts and the Gospel of Luke make up a two-part work, Luke–Acts, by the same anonymous author, usually dated to around 80–90 AD. The first part, the Gospel of Luke, tells how God fulfilled his plan for the world's salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, the promised Messiah. Acts continues the story of Christianity in the 1st century, beginning with Jesus's ascension to Heaven. The early chapters, set in Jerusalem, describe the Day of Pentecost (the coming of the Holy Spirit) and the growth of the church in Jerusalem. Initially, the Jews are receptive to the Christian message, but soon they turn against the followers of Jesus. Rejected by the Jews, under the guidance of the Apostle Peter the message is taken to the Gentiles. The later chapters tell of Paul's conversion, his mission in Asia Minor and the Aegean, and finally his imprisonment in Rome, where, as the book ends, he awaits trial.

Luke–Acts is an attempt to answer a theological problem, namely how the Messiah of the Jews came to have an overwhelmingly non-Jewish church; the answer it provides, and its central theme, is that the message of Christ was sent to the Gentiles because the Jews rejected it. Luke–Acts can be also seen as a defense of (or "apology" for) the Jesus movement addressed to the Jews: the bulk of the speeches and sermons in Acts are addressed to Jewish audiences, with the Romans serving as external arbiters on disputes concerning Jewish customs and law. On the one hand, Luke portrays the Christians as a sect of the Jews, and therefore entitled to legal protection as a recognised religion; on the other, Luke seems unclear as to the future God intends for Jews and Christians, celebrating the Jewishness of Jesus and his immediate followers while also stressing how the Jews had rejected God's promised Messiah.

Anna the Prophetess

Anna (Hebrew: חַנָּה‎, Ancient Greek: Ἄννα) or Anna the Prophetess is a woman mentioned in the Gospel of Luke. According to that Gospel, she was an elderly woman of the Tribe of Asher who prophesied about Jesus at the Temple of Jerusalem. She appears in Luke 2:36–38 during the presentation of Jesus at the Temple.


The Beatitudes are eight blessings recounted by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew. Each is a proverb-like proclamation, without narrative. Four of the blessings also appear in the Sermon on the Plain in the Gospel of Luke, followed by four woes which mirror the blessings.In the Vulgate, each of these blessings begins with the word beati, which translates to "happy", "rich", or "blessed" (plural adjective). The corresponding word in the original Greek is μακάριοι (makarioi), with the same meanings. Thus "Blessed are the poor in spirit" appears in Latin as beati pauperes spiritu. The Latin noun beātitūdō was coined by Cicero to describe a state of blessedness, and was later incorporated within the chapter headings written for Matthew 5 in various printed versions of the Vulgate. Subsequently, the word was anglicized to beatytudes in the Great Bible of 1540, and has, over time, taken on a preferred spelling of beatitudes.

Census of Quirinius

The Census of Quirinius was a census of Judea taken by Publius Sulpicius Quirinius, Roman governor of Syria, upon the imposition of direct Roman rule in 6 CE. The Gospel of Luke uses it as the narrative means to establish the birth of Jesus (Luke 2:1–5), but places it within the reign of Herod the Great, who died 9 years earlier. No satisfactory explanation of the contradiction seems possible, and most scholars think that the author of the gospel made an error.

Impenitent thief

The impenitent thief is a man described in the New Testament account of the Crucifixion of Jesus. In the Gospel narrative, two criminal bandits are crucified alongside Jesus. In the Gospels of Mark and Matthew, they join the crowd in mocking him. In the version of the Gospel of Luke, however, one taunts Jesus about not saving himself, and the other (known as the penitent thief) asks for mercy.

In apocryphal writings, the impenitent thief is given the name Gestas, which first appears in the Gospel of Nicodemus, while his companion is called Dismas. Christian tradition holds that Gestas was on the cross to the left of Jesus and Dismas was on the cross to the right of Jesus. In Jacobus de Voragine's Golden Legend, the name of the impenitent thief is given as Gesmas. The impenitent thief is sometimes referred to as the "bad thief" in contrast to the good thief.

The apocryphal Arabic Infancy Gospel refers to Gestas and Dismas as Dumachus and Titus, respectively. According to tradition – seen, for instance, in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's The Golden Legend – Dumachus was one of a band of robbers who attacked Saint Joseph and the Holy Family on their flight into Egypt.

Luke 24

Luke 24 is the twenty-fourth and final chapter of the Gospel of Luke in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. The book containing this chapter is anonymous, but early Christian tradition uniformly affirmed that Luke composed this Gospel as well as the Acts of the Apostles. This chapter records the discovery of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, his appearances to his disciples and his ascension into heaven.

Papyrus 3

Papyrus 3, designated by 3 (in the numbering Gregory-Aland), is a small fragment of fifteen verses from the Gospel of Luke dating to the 6th/7th century. It is formed part of a lectionary. It is dated palaeographically to the 6th or 7th century.

The Greek text-type of this codex is a mixed. Aland placed it in Category III.

Papyrus 42

Papyrus 42 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), designated by 42, is a small fragment of six verses from the Gospel of Luke dating to the 6th/7th century. The Greek text of this manuscript is a representative of the Alexandrian text-type with some Byzantine readings. Aland placed it in Category II.

The manuscript is housed at the Austrian National Library P. Vindob. K. 8706 at Vienna.

Papyrus 82

Papyrus 82 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), designated by 82, is an early copy of the New Testament in Greek. It is a papyrus manuscript of the Gospel of Luke. The surviving texts of Luke are verses 7:32-34,37-38. The manuscript paleographically had been assigned to the 4th century (or 5th century).


The Greek text of this codex probably is a representative of the Alexandrian text-type. Aland placed it in Category II.


It is currently housed at the Bibliothèque nationale et universitaire (P. Gr. 2677) in Strasbourg.

Papyrus 97

Papyrus 97 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), designated by 97, is a copy of the New Testament in Greek. It is a papyrus manuscript of the Gospel of Luke. The manuscript has survived in a fragmentary condition.

Penitent thief

The Penitent Thief, also known as the Good Thief or the Thief on the Cross, is one of two unnamed persons mentioned in a version of the Crucifixion of Jesus in the New Testament. The Gospel of Luke describes one asking Jesus to "remember him" when Jesus will have "come into" his kingdom. The other, as the impenitent thief, challenges Jesus to save himself to prove that he is the Messiah.

He is officially venerated in the Catholic Church. The Roman Martyrology places his commemoration on 25 March, together with the Feast of the Annunciation, because of the ancient Christian tradition that Christ (and the penitent thief) were crucified and died exactly on the anniversary of Christ's Incarnation.

He is given the name Dismas in the Gospel of Nicodemus and is traditionally known in Catholicism as "Saint Dismas"  (sometimes Dysmas; in Spanish and Portuguese, Dimas). Other traditions have bestowed other names:

In Coptic Orthodox tradition and the Narrative of Joseph of Arimathea, he is named Demas.

In the Codex Colbertinus, he is named Zoatham.

In Russian Orthodox tradition, he is named Rakh.

Raising of the son of the widow of Nain

The raising of the son of the widow of Nain is an account of a miracle by Jesus, recorded in the Gospel of Luke. Jesus arrived at the village of Nain during the burial ceremony of the son of a widow, and raised the young man from the dead. (Luke 7:11–17)

The location is the village of Nain, two miles south of Mount Tabor. This is the first of three miracles of Jesus in the canonical gospels in which he raises the dead, the other two being the raising of Jairus' daughter and of Lazarus.

Return of the family of Jesus to Nazareth

The return of the family of Jesus to Nazareth, also known as the Return from Egypt, appears in the reports of the early life of Jesus given in the Canonical gospels. Both of the gospels which describe the nativity of Jesus agree that he was born in Bethlehem and then later moved with his family to live in Nazareth. The Gospel of Matthew describes how Joseph, Mary, and Jesus went to Egypt to escape from Herod the Great's slaughter of the baby boys in Bethlehem. Matthew does not mention Nazareth as being the previous home of Joseph and Mary; he says that Joseph was afraid to go to Judea because Herod Archelaus was ruling there and so the family went to Nazareth instead. The Gospel of Luke, on the other hand, does not record anything about the flight to Egypt, but says that Joseph had been previously living in Nazareth, and returned there after the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple.

Sermon on the Plain

In Christianity, the Sermon on the Plain refers to a set of teachings by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke, in 6:17–49.

This sermon may be compared to the longer Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew.Luke 6:12–20a details the events leading to the sermon. In it, Jesus spent the night on a mountain praying to God. Two days later, he gathered his disciples and selected 12 of them, whom he named Apostles. On the way down from the mountain, he stood at "a level place" (ἐπὶ τόπου πεδινοῦ, epi topou pedinou) where a throng of people had gathered. After curing those with "unclean spirits", Jesus began what is now called the Sermon on the Plain.

Notable messages in the Sermon include:

The beatitudes and woes (6:20–26)

Love your enemies and turn the other cheek (6:27–36)

Treat others the way you want to be treated (6:31)

Don't judge and you won't be judged, don't condemn and you won't be condemned, forgive and you will be forgiven, give and you will receive (6:37–38)

Can the blind lead the blind? Disciples are not above their teacher (6:39-40a)

Remove the log from your own eye before attending to the splinter in your friend's (40b-42)

A good tree does not produce bad fruit and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit, each tree is known by its fruit (43–45)

Why do you call me Lord, Lord yet not do what I command? (46)

Whoever follows these words of mine builds on rock and will survive, whoever does not builds on sand and will be destroyed (47–49)In Luke 7:1 after Jesus had said everything he had to say to the crowd, he went to Capernaum, which in Lukan chronology he had not visited since Luke 4:31.

Simeon (Gospel of Luke)

Simeon (Simeon the God-receiver) at the Temple is the "just and devout" man of Jerusalem who, according to Luke 2:25–35, met Mary, Joseph, and Jesus as they entered the Temple to fulfill the requirements of the Law of Moses on the 40th day from Jesus' birth at the presentation of Jesus at the Temple.

According to the Biblical account, Simeon had been visited by the Holy Spirit and told that he would not die until he had seen the Lord's Christ. On taking Jesus into his arms he uttered a prayer, which is still used liturgically as the Latin Nunc dimittis in many Christian churches, and gave a prophecy alluding to the crucifixion.

In some Christian traditions, this meeting is commemorated on February 2 as Candlemas, or more formally, the Presentation of the Lord, the Meeting of the Lord, or the Purification of the Virgin. His prophecy is used in the context of Our Lady of Sorrows. Simeon is venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox traditions. His feast day is October 8 in the revised Martyrology of the Roman Catholic Church.

Simon the Pharisee

Simon was a Pharisee mentioned in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 7:36-50) as the host of a meal, who invited Jesus to eat in his house but failed to show him the usual marks of hospitality offered to visitors - a greeting kiss (v. 45), water to wash his feet (v. 44), or oil for his head (v. 46).

During the meal, a tearful woman identified as a sinner anointed Jesus' feet. He contrasted her faith and care with Simon's failure to show common decency, and accused him of being forgiven little and (in consequence) loving little (v. 47).

The preceding sections of Luke's gospel took place in Capernaum and in Nain, both in Galilee, suggesting Simon also lived in Galilee.

Simon the Pharisee is not mentioned in the other canonical gospels, but there are similarities between this Simon and Simon the leper mentioned in Matthew's Gospel (Matt 26:6-13) and Mark's Gospel (Mk 14:3-9), not least the same name occurring. Because of these similarities, efforts have been made to reconcile the events and characters, but some scholars have pointed out differences between the two events. An alternative explanation for the similarities is that the Luke 7 anointing and the anointing at Bethany (Matthew 26:6, Mark 14:3, John 12:1) happened with some of the same participants, but several years apart.

Susanna (disciple)

Susanna (soo-san'-nah) is one of the women associated with the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. Susanna is among the women listed in the Gospel of Luke at the beginning of the 8th chapter (8:1–3) as being one of the women who provided for Jesus out of their resources.

And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance. (Luke 8:3)

The name Susanna means "Lily".

Theophilus (biblical)

Theophilus is the name or honorary title of the person to whom the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles are addressed (Luke 1:3, Acts 1:1). It is thought that both the Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles were written by the same author, and often argued that the two books were originally a single unified work. Both Luke and Acts were written in a refined Koine Greek, and the name "θεόφιλος" ("Theophilos"), as it appears therein, means friend of God or (be)loved by God or loving God in the Greek language. No one knows the true identity of Theophilus and there are several conjectures and traditions around an identity. In English Theophilus is also written "Theophilos", both a common name and an honorary title among the learned (academic) Romans and Jews of the era. The life of Theophilus would coincide with the writing of Luke and the author of the Acts.

Visitation (Christianity)

In Christianity, the Visitation is the visit of St. Mary, who was pregnant with Jesus, to St. Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist, as recorded in the Gospel of Luke, Luke 1:39–56.

It is also the name of a Christian feast day commemorating this visit, celebrated on 31 May in Western Christianity (2 July in calendars of the 1263–1969 period, and in the modern regional calendar of some countries whose bishops' conferences wanted to retain the original date, notably Germany and Slovakia) and 30 March in Eastern Christianity.

The episode is one of the standard scenes shown in cycles of the Life of the Virgin in art, and sometimes in larger cycles of the Life of Christ in art.

Life events
New Testament
Gospel of Luke
Gifts of the Magi
In art
Books of the Bible
See also

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