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How do you know whether something is true or not? In our postmodern world that has become almost an irrelevant question. Everything is seen as relativistic and defined by the individual. But Christianity presents itself as Absolute Truth that must be believed and embraced universally. There can be no exceptions regarding the critical necessity of faith in Jesus Christ for salvation from sin and eternal life in fellowship with God.

Walter Liefeld: The introduction to Luke is a long, carefully constructed sentence in the tradition of the finest historical works in Greek literature. It stands in contrast to the genealogical table of Matthew, the concise opening sentence of Mark, and the theological prologue of John. It was customary among the great Greek and Hellenistic historians, including the first-century Jewish writer Josephus, to explain and justify their work I a preface. Their objet was to assure the reader of their capability, thorough research, and reliability. While such a weighty introduction does not in itself guarantee the honesty of the writer, neither should its conventional form be dismissed as a merely formal pretension.


I. AUTHOR = LUKE — of the Gospel of Luke – Who wrote the book

A. Traveling Companion of Apostle Paul

Col. 4:14 – traveling companion of Paul after the Macedonian vision; Acts 16:8, 10; 20:5

B. Gentile – possibly from Antioch — only Gentile to write any Scripture (Acts) – distinguished from those who were “from the circumcision”;

C. Beloved Physician – Dr. Luke – Col. 4:14

lot to say about healing ministry of Christ; scholarly; well-educated

D. Man of Dynamic Faith

Matt Chandler: We also know that Luke, although he started out a skeptic, has a dynamic, fearless faith. And we know this because in 2 Timothy 4, the apostle Paul is lamenting the fact that as persecution began against the church, specifically him, as he began to be beaten and imprisoned, everyone left him. They left him and went and hid in Ephesus, they went and headed down in Cyprus. They left, everyone except Luke. Luke didn’t go. And so, as persecution started blowing up against Paul and against the Church, everyone scattered that was with Paul except Luke.

How do we know Luke wrote the book:

John Piper: The main reason is that the earliest list of New Testament books (Muratorian Canon) from the second century ascribes it to Luke, and there is no evidence that it was ever ascribed to anyone else. So in the light of no plain evidence to the contrary, we generally give credence to early tradition. There is no reason to doubt that Luke, the beloved physician, wrote the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles.

II. (:1-2) SOURCES USED in the Writing of the Gospel of Luke – What was the subject matter

“Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word have handed them down to us,”

A. Multiple Accounts

Synoptic gospel = “see together” – Mat., Mark, Luke

Speaks to the importance of the subject

Unique focus of Luke:

More of a Gentile focus – presents Jesus as the Son of Man, rejected by the nation of Israel and then offered to the world; longest book in NT not in terms of chapters but in terms of words

Matthew: Jesus is the King of the Jews

Mark: Jesus is the perfect Servant

John: Jesus is the Unique Son of God

B. Significance of Person and Works of Jesus

Why so much interest in this man Jesus Christ?

– The Eternal Word

– The Incarnate Son of God – reveals God to man

– Central figure of history – the one Mediator between God and Man

– Savior

– Lord and Master and coming again as Reigning King

– Pattern for Righteousness for the Christian – 1 John 2:6; 1 Pet. 2:21

Miracle works of healing pointed to His identity as the promised Messiah

Significance of word “fulfilled” – promises made in OT and now promises fulfilled in Christ; promises made to Elizabeth and Mary

C. Primary Sources

Significance of relying on eyewitnesses; primary sources – not secondary

“servants of the word” –

J. C. Ryle: They were men who counted it their highest privilege to carry about, as messengers, the tidings of God’s love to a sinful world, and to tell the story of the cross.

Geldenhuys: Luke, therefore, lays special emphasis on the fact that those writings are by no means the collecting of legends or mere human gossip, but the written rendering of what had really happened and had been communicated by authoritative witnesses.

III. (:3a) METHOD of Writing the Gospel of Luke – How was it written

– Careful Investigation

– Orderly Account

“it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order,”

A. Careful Investigation

– Investigative journalism

– Accurate historian

No fake news here

B. Divinely Directed Investigation

Morgan: “anothen” – translated here “from the first” – also means in the Greek “from above.” My own view is that when Luke says he traced the course of all things accurately “anothen,” he meant from above; and that he was claiming that his scientific work was under the guidance of heaven itself, the he not only brought to bear upon his work his own scientific ability to sift and trace; but he sought guidance from heaven. That is how he prepared his material. (John 3:31; 19:11)

Alternative view:

Liefeld: anothen can mean, according to the context, either “above” or “again.” Here in its relation to historical research, it has a temporal sense.

C. Orderly Account – systematic and orderly presentation

– Largely Chronological, orderly account – not strictly chronological

o Geographic order

 Chaps. 1-9 in and around Galilee; home town of Nazareth and ministry headquarters of Capernaum

 Chaps. 9-19 Jesus on the move; travelling to Jerusalem

 Chaps. 19-24 take place in Jerusalem

o Theological order

IV. (:3b) RECIPIENT of Writing the Gospel of Luke = Theophilus – To whom was it written

“most excellent Theophilus

“lover of God”

Acts 1:1-2 – Luke wrote a 2 volume book addressed to this individual

MacArthur: a title used to address governors (Ac 23:26; 24:3; 26:25).

V. (:4) PURPOSE of Writing the Gospel of Luke – Certainty Regarding the Truth – Why was it written

“so that you might know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.”

Lenski: All kinds of doubts still disturbed Theophilus, and Luke writes in order to dispel them.

How do we know the biblical account is true?

– Self-authenticating nature of Bible – not just circular reasoning

– Supported by fulfillment of specific prophecies

– Historical – based on eyewitness testimony

Question other people about the certainty of their beliefs – everyone has a belief system.