1.1 Author and Date
The Early Church thought and most agree that Luke wrote both Luke and Acts. Bothe written to the Theophilus, Acts 1:1 and the ascension links them (Luke 24:49–53; Acts 1:1–11). Luke wrote as a careful historian on the basis of research he undertook with eyewitnesses (Luke 1:1-4).. The Early Church’s only suggestion for authorship, universally accepted by 200AD, was Luke, a companion of Paul. Justin (c. 160) in Dialogues 103.19 writes about Luke having written a “memoir of Jesus” and notes the author was a follower of Paul. The Muratorian Canon (c. 170–180) attributes the Gospel to Luke, a doctor, who is Paul’s companion. Irenaeus (c. 175–195; Haer. 3.1.1; 3.14.1) attributes the Gospel to Luke, follower of Paul, and notes how the “we sections” suggest the connection (see Acts 16:10–17; 20:5–15; 21:1–18; 27:1–28:16) claiming that Luke was “inseparable” from Paul (Haer. 3.14.1). The so-called Anti-Marcionite Canon (c. 175) describes Luke as a native of Antioch in Syria (Acts 11:19–30; 13:1–3; 15:30–35), commenting that he lived to be eighty-four, was a doctor, was unmarried and wrote in Achaia Tertullian (early third century; Marc. 4.2.2; 4.5.3) calls the Gospel a digest of Paul’s gospel. Eusebius (early C4th; Hist. Eccl. 3.4.2) mentions that Luke was from Antioch, a companion to Paul and the author of the Gospel and Acts. Most scholars see Luke as a Gentile.
The end of Acts happened in 62AD which would be the earliest date of writing. Acts does not record the death of Paul (late 60s) nor the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD (which would surely have been mentioned in e.g. Acts 6-7 and Acts 21-23). So Bruce, Hemer, Ellis, Marshall argue for a date before then, so mid to late 60s.
1.2 Luke and the Synoptic Problem
The Farrer Hypothesis (Farrer 1955, Goulder 1972, Goodacre 2002)
Farrer and others have proposed that Mark wrote first and Matthew and Luke both used Mark. But then similarities between Matthew’s and Luke’s non-Mark material did not come from a separate written or oral source termed Q. Instead Luke also had sight of Matthew’s Gospel and copied or altered elements of that.
Their reasons to question Q include Occam’s Razor: Luke following Matthew is simpler than a hypothetical source Q. No-one has ever seen Q not even a fragment. No ancient author had ever heard of Q. When Narrative Sequence in Matthew and Luke departs from Mark they agree, which fits with Luke following Matthew rather than Q as a collection of sayings. There are several major and very many minor agreements between Matthew and Luke against Mark, including in the Passion Narrative.
Nevertheless, there are good reasons to prefer the two-source hypothesis. It is very hard to imagine Luke writing as he did if he also had Matthew e.g. missing out large parts of the Sermon on the Mount and other teaching, changing the Beatitudes and the wording of the Lord’s Prayer, or missing out the Visit of the Magi which fits so well with his great concern for the good news for the Gentiles. Why would Luke have replaced the explicit Holy Spirit reference in Matthew 12:28 with the more primitive “finger of God” in Luke 11:20. Some feel that Luke, not an apostle, would not have been so courageous in changing the work of the apostle Matthew.
The prologue addressed to Theophilus, a man of considerable standing (Luke 1:1-4) suggests that Luke is a careful historian writing in excellent Greek and seeking to record the life and teaching of Jesus to a seeker or perhaps a new Christian. Luke has many concerns, in particular, how could Gentiles be included in God’s plan of salvation, especially when Jews were rejecting Jesus? How could the death of Jesus fit into that plan and what does it mean to respond to Jesus?
1.4 Themes in Luke’s Gospel
1.4.1 God’s Plan of Salvation
1.4.2 God’s Radical Inclusion of marginalised groups including women, the poor and the Gentiles
1.4.3 God’s Unconditional Welcome expressed in Table Fellowship SEE UNIT 9
1.4.4 The Place of Gentiles in the Kingdom
1.4.6 Prayer SEE UNIT 11
1.4.7 Opposition to the gospel
1.4.8 Resurrection and Ascension SEE UNIT 17
1.4.9 The Work of the Holy Spirit SEE UNIT 19 SEMINAR
1.4.10 Wealth and Possessions SEE UNIT 10
1.5 Special topic for NSBC. What can we learn from Luke’s Gospel about the work of the Holy Spirit? (20 mentions in Luke, 60 in Acts)
1.5.1 THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY Luke 1:15-17; Luke 1:67-69; Luke 1:41-43; Luke 2:25-29; Luke 12:10
Peter on the day of Pentecost Acts 2:17-18 quotes Joel 2:28-32 – note ITP background
1.5.2 THE SPIRIT as the agent of THE INCARNATION Luke 1:35-37 c.f. Matthew 1 :18
1.5.3 BAPTISING WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT Luke 3:15-17 the expected Messiah cleansing and restoring Israel c.f. Isaiah 42:1-4, (Is. 32:15; Ezk. 39:29; Joel 2:28; Zc. 12:10.
1.5.4 EMPOWERING JESUS’S MINISTRY Luke 3:21-22; Luke 4:1-2; Luke 4:14-19; Luke 10:21;
Luke 11:19-20; FINGER OF GOD in OT = God’s hand at work – Exodus 8:19 (plagues on Egypt), 31:18, (finger of God wrote the Ten Commandments on the Tablets of Stone also (Deut 9:10), Psalm 8:3, (Creation is the work of God’s fingers)
1.5.5 SEE ALSO Matthew 12:17-18 quotes Isaiah 42:1-4 and also Acts 10:38
1.5.6 THE SPIRIT PROMISED IN THE LIFE OF THE DISCIPLES Luke 11:15; Luke 12:11-12;
1.5.7 Luke 24:46-39 Power from on High = OT Isaiah 32:14-18
1.5.8 FULFILMENT IN ACTS Acts 1:8; Acts 2:38-39