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THE FOCUS OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 1:69-God has raised a hom of salva- 8:36-Jesus "saved" ademon-possessed

It is only as we read all four gospels,

(Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), that we
see a complete picture of the person and
work ofjesus Cluist. LUKE FOCUSES
Luke 2:30. Matthew focuses on Jesus
tion in the house of David.
l:71-'-Salvation is salvation from our
1: 77-The knowledge of salvation con-
sists in forgiveness of sin.
19:9-Salvation came to Zaccheus'
house "today" because he is a son of
8:48-"Your Jaith' has saved you, go in
8:50-"Only believe, and she shall be
9:24---''Whoever wishes to save his life
shall lose it, butwhom1"lQses hiS lifeJor My
sake, he is Ole one wlw will save it."
9:56-"The Son oj
Man did not come to
to save them."
13:23-"Are there
a Jew who are being
17: 19-"YOUljaifll
lUl5 saved you."
ctuisl as the King of
kings, who came to
establish His king-
aU other kingdoms,
Matthew 28: 18ff ..
Mark presents us
with Jesus Christ, a
King who became a
Servant to ransom
His people from
their sins, without
ceasing to be a King,
Mark 10:45. John
seeks to l1eep his life
shall lose it, and who-
ever loses his life shall
save it."
God, Who gives
etemallife to an who
The word, "sal-
vation," (SOTER-
Greek), is not used
in Matthew and
Mark, and it,
(SOTERIA), occurs
only once in John.
" Almighty God, Who called tulle. the Physician,
Whose praise is in the Gospel, to be an evangelist, and
physician of the soul; may it please Thee, that, by the
wholesome medicines of the doctrine delivered by him,
all the diseases of our souls may be healed; through the
merits of Thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.. Amen."
18:26-'1tis easier
Jor a camel to go
fllTOUgh the eye oj a
needle, than itis Jora
lich man to enter the
kingdom oj God and
be saved."
has saved you."
(An Ancient Collect for 5t. Lulle's Day)
19:10-"Fol' the
Son oJMan has come
to seek and to save
thai which was lost."
In Luke, however, SOTERlAisused four
times, (1:69, 71, 77; 19:9), and
SOTERIONisusedtwice,2:30; 3:6. The
word, "savior," (SOTER), occurs twice,
1:47; 2: 11, and the verb, "to save,"
(SODZO), is used more times by Luke
than any other gospel writer, 6:9; 7:50;
8:12,36,48,50; 9:24, 56; 13:23; 17:19,
33; 18:26, 42; 19:10; 23:35, 37, 39.
Luke also uses "salvation," seven times
and "savior" two times in Acts, wlticb.
book be wrote. Therefore,it becomes
apparent that "salvation" is the key to the
theology of Luke.
2:30-In seeing Jesus Simeon's "eyes
have seen lhy salvation." .
3:6-All mankind shall see the salva-
1:47-Mary rejoicedin God her Savior.
2: 11- "Today in the diy oj David film
hasbeenbomjoryouaSavior, whois Chlist
the Lord."
6:9-It is lawful to save a lire on the
7:5-"Your jaith has saved you; go i1l
8: 12-When Satan takes the Word out
of the ''unplowed'' heart, it is impossible
for that person to believe and be saved.
22 T TIlE COUNSEL of Chalcedon T February, March 1993
23:35-"He saved others; let Him save
Himselj if this is the Ollist oj Goil, His
01OSf11 One."
23:31-"If you are Ole Ki1lg oj flle]ews,
save YOUl"Selj!"
you not the Christ? Save
YOUl"Selj a11d us!"
Luke sees God's mighty acts inJesus
Christ, especially the suffering and death
of Christ, as the great, central interven-
tion of God into tbe ltistory of manldnd
to accomplish global salvation for His
people, 2:36; 4: 10-12; 17 :30f. For Luke,
Jesus Christ is the central focus of all
history. "Luke emphasizes that salvation
has become present in Christ with a
frequent use of the adverbs 'now' and
'today.' He uses 'now' fourteen times
(Matthew 4 times, Mark 3 times) and
'today' eleven times, (Matthew 8 times,
Mark once). Injesusthertmeofsalvation
has come."-Leon Morris, The Gospel Ac-
cordingtllLuke, TyndaleCommenatariesoJ
the New Testament ['Now,' (NUN), ap-
pears in Luke's gospel in 1:48; 2:29;
5:10; 6:21, 25; 11:39; 12:52; 16:25;
19:42; 22:36, 69; and 'today,'
12:28; 13:32,33; 19:5,9; 22:34; 23:43;
in the Hebrew Old Testament "salva-
tion" is YESHUAH, YESHA,
MOSHAOTH. The root idea of these
words is "deliverance from evil or dan-
They often mean "victory over (evil)
enemies," Exod. 15:2; I Sam. 11:13;
19:5; Psa. 20:5. Triumphantsoldiers are
called"saviors,"judg.3:9, 15;Neh. 9:27.
The word, "salvation," became increas- '
ingiy associated with a savior or a mes-
siah, always retaining the basic idea of
deliverance and victory.
In the Greek New Testament "salva-
tion" is SOTERlA, which has as its basic
meaning "deliverance, bodily health,
preservation, victory, help." "Salvation"
in the New Testament is "Total Salva-
tion" of the whole person, bodyandsoul.
As Rushdoony writes: "The word salva-
tion (soteria) means deliverance, preser-
vation' victory and health, and it refers to
material and temporal deliverance, as
well as personal, national, temporal and
etemal mumph. The Biblical docDine of
salvation is so clearly one of victory, that
it must be emphatically stated that SAL-
"When St. Paul declared, 'For I am ,
not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for
it is the power of God unto salvation:
(Rom. 1: 16), he meant that, because
salvation is entirely the work of the sov-
ereign and omnipotent God, the procla-
mation of that good news could cause
him no shame nor embarrassment. His
gospel was not the uncertain and pos-
sible work of animpotent and struggling
god, but the absolute and certain work of
theetemal, triune, and omnipotentrnaker
of heaven and earth. To preach such a '
no embarrassment: God's saving power
is sure."-R.]. Rushdoony, Salvation and
A The Humanity of Christ
Luke's GospelistheGospel of Christ's
humanity, Hismanhood.jesus, theman,
is vividly and movingly ponrayed in the
third gospel in all his hull]JlU emotions,
responses, words and acti,ons. For Luke,
jesus is the LordHimselfcondesoending
to our level, entering into our human
condition, (withouts'li:ming), subjecting
himself to our cirCmllistances, experi-
ences and crises, Iiving
iJut his life on the
"same' plane as ours is lived. And yet, all
the while he is seen relating to people as
their equal, at evety point He appears in
sharp contrast to them as their superior.
"The humanity of our Lord was miracu-
lously begotten, it was inninsically holy
in its nature, and therefore, saw not
corruption in death ..... He was born as
none other ever was, He lived as none
ever could."-A.W. Pink, Why Four Gos-
B. The Kingdom of God
Luke has much to say about the
kingdom of God in his gospel account:
1 :33-His kingdom shall have no end.
4:43-jesus preaches the kingdom of
6:20-Thekingdom of God belongs to
the Itpoor".
7:28-Least in the kingdom of God
greater thanJohn.
8:l-jesus traveled preaching the
kingdom of Gqd.
8:10-The 4isdples were granted to
know the mysteries of kingdom.
9:2-Christ sent out the twelve to
preach the kingdom.
9:11-jesuspreachedthe kingdom to
the crowds and healed people.
9:27-Somein Christ's generation saw
the kingdom of God.
9:60-The kingdom of God is to be
preached everywhere.
9:62-The kingdom of God must take
top priority.
lO:9-The Jtir)gdom of God has come
lO:ll-It is certain the kingdom of
God has come near.
11:2-Christ's disctplesmust pray: Thy
kingdom come.
1l:17-The kingdom of God is not
divided and is unconquerable.
11:20-Casting out demons is proof
the kingdom has come near.
12:31-The disciples are to seek God's
kingdom above all else.
12:32-The Father has chosen to give
His kingdom to His flock.
13:18-The kingdom of God is like a
mustard seed.
13:20-The kihgdom of God is like
13:28-"There will be weeping and
gnashing oj teet4 there when you see
Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the
prophets in the kingdom oj God, but your-
selves being cast out."
l3:29-People will enjoy fellowship
in tile kingdom from all over the giobe.
14: lS-All who eat bread in the king-
dom of God are blessed.
16: 16-"nle Law and the Prophets were
proclaimed until John; since then the gospel
oj the kingdom oj God is preached, and
everyone is Jorcing his way inw it.
17:20-The kingdom of 'God is not
coming with observable signs.
17:21-''The kingdom oj God is in your
18: 16-TIle kingdom of God belongs
to the children brought to Jesus.
February, March 1993 ;. THE 'COUNSEL of Chalcedon ;. 23
: ~
receive it as a little child.
18:24-It is hard for the wealthy to
enter the kingdom of God.
18:25-lt is difficult for a rich man to
enter the kingdom of God. who leave all for the
kingdom will receive eternal life and
19:11f-In the kingdom of God "to ev-
eryonewho hasshall111OJ'e begiven, butfrom
the onewhodoesnothave, evenwhathe does
have shall be taken away."
21:31-The kingdom of God is near.
22: 16-The Passover is fulfilled in the
kingdom of God.
22: IS-Jesus would not
drinkwine afierthe firstLord's
Supper until the kingdom of
God comes.
22:29(-just as the Father
granted Jesus a kingdom, so
Jesus grants that His disciples
may "eat and drtnhatMy table
in My kingdom, and you will sit
on f}1.rones Juilging fl1.e twelve
tribes of israeL"
23:42-When the thief on
the cross asked Jesus to re-
member him when He came
"Todly you. shall be with Me in
ing for the kingdom of God.
The message of Jesus according to
JESUS CHRIST. The coming ofthe Mes-
siahis themanifestationofthe Kingdom.
God'sKingdom is "inclissolubly bound
up with the ministry of Christ, and even
identified with His person. - ... the
kingdom will come to realization as He
presence on earth, and His victory over
the works of Satan, signalizes thar the
Kingdom has actually come into human
history, and will continue to come in all
its saving power, until it comes in total
The Kingdom of Christ is GOD-
CENTERED and GOD-GNEN. It is the
realizationofthe rule of Godin the hearts
and societies of men, enabling them to
gloruy His glorious Name and perform
His righteous will. Only then can it be a
realm in which people enjoy divine
blessings of God's covenant. It is God-
given in that its realization depends to-
tally upon the soverejgn grace of God. If
God's rule is to be established in man's
heart and SOciety, God must mercifully
bring it to pass. See LIe 12:32; 22:29f.
Hence, it is clear that Lul{e sets forth the
gospel of the kingdom in absolute terms
CHRIST. That this eternal kingdom is
inaugurated by the birth of Christ is also
made clear by Luke's infancy narratives.
"The kingdom is a gift of the Father's
good pleasure, but as it comes in the
midst of the world it comes as a rule of
righteousness, demanding absolute
righteousness of its subjects, and this
includes the application, in a thorough-
going fashion, of the principle of t e w ~
ardship in all of one's social relation-
ships. - The primary feature of dre
gospel, without whichthe otherismean-
ingless, concerns the tidings of the cruci-
fied and risen Savior in whose name
repentance and remission ofsins were to
be proclaimed, Lk. 24:46,47."-
24 ~ TIlE COUNSEL of Chalcedon ~ February, March 1993
C. The Covenantal Context of the
Gospel'of Luke
Luke's witness to Christ presupposes
the covenantal structure of the history of
redemption, beginningwithAdam, con-
tinuing with Noah, Abraham, Moses,
and David, and being consummated in
Jesus Christ. Luke begins his Gospel by
telling us that the Messiah made His
appearance in history and God's King-
dom began to dawn with His advent,
because God remembered His holycov-
has shown in his book, The Abrahamil:
Covenant in au Gospels, Luke, and the
enantal phraseology, prom-
ises, presuppositions, and
actions. It is impossible to
understand Luke unless we
first of all understand: (1).
the covenant structure of the
Bible, the gospel and the his-
tory of redemption; and (2).
the continuity, not di-
chotOmy, of the Old Testa-
ment and the New Testa-
"While then Luke dearly
envisages the kingdom of '
God as a rranscendent new
reality, and gives prominence to the
universalism of its historical manifesta-
tion, it is remarkable how fully Luke
retains the Christian sense of continuity
with the old order. - Luke's compre-
hensive historical work ' does indeed
demonstrate in impressive fashion that
Christianity was irreconcilable with the
particularism and legalism of contempo-
raneous Judaism. Nevertheless, as
clearly as the other records, he manifests
the historical perspective which recog-
nizes that the particularism of the old
covenant no less than the universalism of
the new was of divine appoinnnent, and
that the historical realization of the king-
dom through the appearance of Christ
by no means relaxed the authOrity of the
law and the prophets, Lk. 16:16,17;
_ .. _._---_ ... _-- ---- --.-.. - .----- .. __ ._._--_._ .. _-_ .. _ .. . __ . _ .. - ._._.- - _ .. _ .. __ . __ . _. . . _-- --- -
D. The Universality and
PartiOllarity of Salvation
1. 11te Universality qf Salvation
One of the charactetistics of Luke's
witness to Christ is the emphasis he
makes from the very beginning of his
GOSPEL OF CHRlST: (1). The angel's
message concerns all men, 2:14; (2).
Simeon prophesies that Jesus is to be a
light to the Gentiles, 2:32; (3). Luke
of God," 3:4-6; (4). Samaritans are in-
cluded with Jews, 9: 54; 10:33; 17:16;
(5) .Jesususes two illustrations fromthe
O.T. centering on non-Israelites, 4:25-
27; (6). In Jesus' .parable of the great
supper, servants are sent into the hedges
to constrain more people to come and fill
the banquet hall; (7) . The Great Com-
mission is directed to aU nations, 24: 47.
2. The PartJcularity of Salvation
Luke just as emphatically stresses
TION, i.e., as relatingtospedfic, chosen
individuals. justasbehindthehistorical
univetsalism oftheN.T. there is a deeper
particulartsm bound up with the sover-
eign operations of God's grace and with
the rejection of the gospel on the patt of
sinful men, so there was already behind
the rather pervasive historical panicular-
ism of tbe O.T. a more basic particular-
ism which constantly stands in judg-
ment upon the presumption of any race
or any individual to appear in the pres-
ence of Him who alone is holy, apart
from the divine redemption and apatt
from genuine conversion." -Stonehouse.
Luke writes: "THIS OiIlD IS SET FOR
AGAINST," 2:34. In other words, "they
are not aU lsrael who are of Israel," Rom.
9:6. Luke stresses Christ's emphasis that
only those chosen of God shall he.saved,
which is in Itself a wonder of grace,
10:22f. See the emphasis in Isaiah 1:9;
8:14; 53:3,11.
'Onlywhen Simeon speaks, panicu-
.larly concerning Mary's own personal
expelience, of a sword which would
pieroetbrough her own soul, 2:35, does
he pass from the rather genera] prophetic
witness to a concrete prediction con-
once the fact is recognized that lliE
prophecy of Mary's anguish will be seen
to be of a piece with Simeon's acknowl-
edgment of the presence of the divine
salvation in the petson of Jesus. The
historical realization of the divine salva-
tion was perceived as being so inuninent
truit the rejection of the Child as the sign
appointed byGod wouldspe1l tllesharp-
estsmatt for His mother.l:Ii:re the cross
is indeed vinually in view, and Mary is
standing before it, S<:!lT0wing at what
would befall her son."-Stonehouse
E. The ofjesus
For the Lost
Luke is interested in people, espe-
cially"linle"people, "lost"people. He gives
a significant place to women in his gas-
pel-Mary, Elizabeth, Anna, Martha,her
sister Mary, Mary Magdalene, Joanna,
Susanna, the widow ofNain, the woman
who anointed Jesus' feet, the little old
crippled woman, thewidowwho gave all
she had, the daughtets ofjerusalem who
wept for Jesus as He went to the cross.
Lukeisalso concemedforchildren, 7: 12;
8:42;9:38. He oftenmeutionsthe "poor,"
4: 18; 6:20; 7:22; 2:8f, 2:24; 1:53; 6:30;
14:11-13,21; 16:19f. Luke also places
Jesus with the disreputable, 15:1; 19:7;
5:30; 7:37-50. In Jesus' parables the
uutighteous have a way of turning up in
Luke's account, 7:41; 12:13-21; 16:1-
q, 19-31 18:1-8, 9-14. Luke makes
clear thatJesus cante to seek and to save
those who are lost, Lk.19:10
One of the extraordinary features of
the Gospel of Luke, (and of the Gospels
of Matthew, Mark and John), is their
extensive occupation with the suffertng,
death and resurrection of Jesus. Luke
writes from the conviction that God has
acted in the life, suffertng, death and
resun'ection of Jesus Christ to bring
people salvation. The cross dominates
hisentire book, 9:51; 12:50; 13:32; 17:25;
9:31; 18:31; 20:17; 22:37; 24:26f;
24:44,46. In the suffering and death of
Jesus God's will is being accomplished.
"Luke seesJesus asmen's Savior and that
by way of the cross."-Leon Mortis. In
Acts 13:31-33Jesusmakes clear that his
"messianic task was unthinkable apan
from the program of suffering and death
which awaited Him."
RememberLuke's bookdoesnotend
with the Gospel. He conrinues his story
in Acts, in which he conrtnues to stress
the intpottanoe of Chrtst's death and
resurrection. "He brings out the fact that
the early church concentrated on what
Jesus had done for man's salvation and
specifically on the cross and resurrec-
tion. Here we find that the death of Jesus
took place in accordance with 'the deli-
nite plan and foreknowledge of God,'
Acts 2:23."-Leon Mortis
In the book, ApostoliC History and the
Gospel , FloydV. PUsonwtites: "Thejour-
ney narrative so silikiuglyused in Luke-
Acts is one of the dominant literary pat-
terns of the Biblical story." Thispatternis
prominentin theparrtarchal wanderings
in Genesis, the Wilderness experience of
Israel in Exodus, and even in Samuel's
itinerant judgeship in I Samuel. Luke
begins his Gospel with the wilderness
preaching of John fue Baptist and the
itinerant preaching of Jesus throughout
Galilee, followed by his clintactic and
dramaticjourneyto Jerusalem, especially
accented by Luke. After Jesus' death and
resurrection He 'journeys" with the dis-
ciples on the road to Emmaeus; and then
sends out his disciples on a world mis-
sion, journeying throughout the ends of
the earth as His wimesses, Acts 1:8. The
book of Acts is full of missionary jour-
February, March 1993 'l' THE COUNSEL of OIalcedon 'l' 25
neys. "Both the ministry ofjesus and the
preaching of the Apostles and other
Christian leaders were marked by itin-
eration and continual journeying rather
than by stable authoritative resident
In the wilderness wandelings of Is-
rael, as in the journey ofjesus, the des-
tination wasJerusalem. For Israelitwould
be the organizing center of worship and
life of God's people as the
capital of the Theocracy. For
Jesus it would be the climax
of His ministry in suffeting
and death accomplishing the
etelnal redemption of His
covenant people. 'jerusalem
and its institutions were not
really built upon the solid
and durable foundations for
which the faithful people of
God looked. Life continued
to be a restless journey, a
constant quest for the divlne
gift which Israel's eJdsting life
fulled to give them. This is
why -the itinerant ministry of
John the Baptist and Jesus
evoked so great a response; it promised
the blessings and the rest which the
journeying people of God had so long
been seelting."-Filson.
of Acts share this journey motif. The
Gospel begins with the wilderness
preachhlg ofjohn the Baptist, Lk. 1:80;
3: 1-20, the journey ofjoseph and Mary
to Bethlehem and Jerusalem for Jesus'
birth, Lk 2:4,22, theirjourneytoJerusa-
lem withJesuswhenhewastwelveyears
old, LIt. 2:42, Jesus' itinerant preaching
travels climaxing in his decisive journey
to Jerusalem, LIt. 4:14; 9:51, and the
continual ntissionaryjourneys of Acts 8-
28. The great travel section of the Gospel
of Luke, 9:51-19:44, takes up nearly
40% of the third GospeL It fills up ten of
the twenty-four chapters of the Gospel.
The other great travel section of Luke-
Acts is the final third of Acts, 19:21-
Why does Luke change the destina-
tion of the journey motive fromJerusa-
lem in the Gospel to Rome in the Acts? In
the closing chapters of the Book of Acts,
Jerusalem and the Jewish leaders lose
their opponunity to be the focus and
center of the Christian movement, be-
cause of their apostasy and refusal to
acceptJesusas the Lord's Messiah. "These
closing chapters of the Acts attest both
the potential continuing importance and
tlle actual dispensability of Jerusalem
and its temple for the Christian church.
Up to this point in The Acts, (and in the
Gospel), Jerusalem has been the central
city of the story. It has been mentioned
far more tl1an any other city, and it has
remained thus far the dominant city of
tllechurch, 9:26; 11:30; 15:2f; 18.:22.-
That he should feel bound to go to
Jerusalem again before going to Rome is
a witness to the importance Jerusalem
had for him. - As was true in the
ministry of Jesus, Jerusalem cannot be
ignored; the gospel must be preached
there; if it is ready to accept its OppOltu-
nityand responsibility, itwill continue to
go out from there; it will lose its primacy
only byits own decision, and palticularly
tIle decision of its leaders, not to accept
the gospeL
"Yet if Jerusalem fails to meet its
opportunity, that will not be the end of
26 ~ TIlE COUNSEL of Chalcedon ~ February, March 1993
the church. As in the O. T., the purposes
of God can go fOlward even if the city
does not accept its divinely given role
and opportunity. Just as in the O.T. the
fall of Jerusalem was not the end of God's
purpose nor the substantial defeat of his
will, so also in this new situation the
divlne pUlpOse can go forward in spite of
the rejection of the gospel and in spite of
tlleaggressive hosti!ityto Paul on the palt
of the Jewish leaders of the
temple and the city.
sis of the closing chapters
(and indeed of the earlier
chapters) of tIle Acts that the
gospel is the fulfillment of
God's promises to Israel as
foundin theO.T.; the church
is the divinely givencontinu-
ation of tlle life of Israel and
so the church is the true Is-
raeL Jerusalem could have
continued to be the focal
geographical and spiritual
center of that new and true
Israel. But it failed to avail
itself of its privilege. With
mob attack on Paul in the temple and the
active auempt of the Jewish leaders to
put Paul out of the way, Luke sees the
fullure of]erusalem to accept and fulfill
its role; and so Luke in this final third of
the Acts is presenting the lost opponu-
nitywhich Jerusalem had and the essen-
tial transfer of the center of the church
fromJerusalem to Rome.
"The factis that Luke sees theological
meaning in the geography of his story.
He thinks in tenus of centers of the life of
God's people. He saw no possibility that
Galilee could serve as the dominant cen-
ter of the church. As we have seen, he
reduces greatly the propOltion of his
gospel which deals with Jesus' Galilean
ministry. His outline of the gospel gives
much more attention to thejourneyfrom
Galilee to Jerusalem tl1an it does to the
entire ministry in Galilee. And when
Jesus leaves Galilee for Jerusalem, he
takes finalleave of the Galileanscene. He
never comes back The disciples stay in
Jerusalem afterthecrudfudon, and in the
Gospel of Luke none of dle resuITwion
appearances is located in Galilee. In me
entire book of Acts mere is no word of
preacbingin Galilee (it is evenomiued in
1:8). Only the one bare brief mention of
the church in Galilee in 9:31 breaks this
curioussUence about Galilee. Luke's at-
tention focuses on omer regions.
"It would capture me essential geo-
graphical oudook of Luke to entitle me
Gospel of Luke, 'From Galilee rojerusa-
lem,' and the Book of Acts, 'Fromjerusa-
!em to Rome."'-Filson. "The goal of me
mini.sny ofjesus before His resurrection
was jerusalem; but the goal of me minis-
try ofJesus after His resurrection in His
apostles is Rome, Le., me whole world,
Acts 1:8. "So when me Acts ends with
must mean iliat now from me center of
the world me gospel is beginning to go
out in all direaions to all pIrts of the
Empire. For Luke, Paul's preaching in
Rome is not jUst a local evangelistic
programme; it is or at least symbol-
izes and sets in motion me broad Em-
pire-wide fulfilhnent of Acts 1:8. The
gospel center has come from Jerusalem,
(where redemption was accomplished),
to Rome, (where redemptionis applied),
andis beginning to spread out fi:omthere
in all direaions. "-Filson
InActs a common designation forthe
Christian movement is "the Way," 9:2;
19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:22. This is anomer
indication iliat Luke patterns his books
according to iliis journey motif.
H. The "Temple" Motif
TheJewish Tempieinjel1lsaJem plays
an inlporrant role in me unfolding of
Lnl{e's gospel:
(i:9)-The famer of j ohn the Baptist
worked in me Temple.
Temple because of dumbness.
(2:27)-Simeon came in me Spirit to
the Temple to see jesus.
(2:37)-Amla sewed in the Temple
and thanked God for jesus.
me Temple
learning the Word.
(4:9)-Satansetjesuson the Temple
to tempt Him.
altar and the Temple.
(18: 1O)-.A Pharisee and a publican
went to the Temple to pray.
(19:45)-jesuscleansed the Temp!eof
the money-changers.
(19:47)-jesus tauglu daily in the
Temple in spite of danger.
(20: I)-jesus taught the people and
the gospel in the Temple, and
was confronted by priests, saibes .
(21:5)-jesus propbesies- of the de-
stlUaion of the Temple.
the day jesus
would teach in the Temple to all the
people, and in the eveniD:g He would go
out and spend the night on the Mount of
(22:52-53)-jesus rebukes and clial-
lengesHispersecutorssaying, "WhileIwas
with you daily in the Temple,youdid not lay
hands Oll Me; but Olis hour and Ole power of
darkness are yours. "
(23:45)-Whenjesus died, "t1Jeveil of
the Temple was torn ill two," from the top
to the bottom.
(24:53)-After fellowshipping with
the resurrected Chlist, His disciples "re-
continually in lile Temple, praising God."
I. The Centrality of Praise
"The gospel of Luke is a "singing gos-
pel". No other N.T. gospel writerdealsso
often with the idea of joy as Luke. "His
rec9rd is dominated by ECSTATlCJOY
that the kingdom of God has come, is
coming and will come. The gospel be-
gins with the song of the angels, 2: 14, the
Magnificat, the Benedictusand the Nunc
Dinlittis, 1:46ff, 68ff, 2:29ff. Through-
out the gospel, those who receive bless-
17:15, 18:43. The words ''rejoice'' and
"joy" occur several tinles, 1:14,44,47;
10:21, 19:6, 15:6f, 9f. There is laughter
32. And the gospel ends as it began, with
the praise of God, 24:52; 1:14. What is
the cause of iliis joy and praise in Luke?
Luke "sees God at work bringing men
salvation and it is his pleasure to bring
work" -Leon Manis
a. "The Relation of Luke to Matthew
and Mark (the Synoptic Gospels)
(1). The general oudine ofall three
gospeJsissimilar. (2). There are passages
in all three gospels which resemble each
other closely, Mat. 9:6; Mk. 2:10; Lk.
5:24. (3). Matthew and Mark oftenagree
in wordingwhere Luke differs, andMark
and Luke similarly agree against Mat-
thew. Matthew .and Luke more rarely
agree against Mark. (4). There are pas-
sages in Matthew and Luke which are
absent from similar sections in Mark,
e.g.,Mat. 3:7-10; Lk. 3:7-9; Mk.1:2 (5).
Some material is fOllnd in Matthew and
Luke which is similar, but not identical,
Mat 5:3; Lk 6:20. (6). Each gospel has
material which neither of the others
shares. (7). Almosl all of Mark is con-
tained in Matthew and Luke. (8). Mat-
thewandLuke generallyfollowthe order
of Mark. (9). There seems to be a ten-
dency in Matthew and Luke to refine
b. The Relation of Luke tojohn
The Gospel of Luke has far more
points of similariry and parallels with
John, than either Matthew or Mark has
c. TIle Relation of Luke and Mark
Regarding the Public Ministry ofJesus
TIle distinctiveness of Luke's witness
to Christ is made evident in comparing
common to Mark, and the sections in
Luke which are not in common with
February, March 1993 TIlE COUNSEL of Chalredon ;. 27
Mark, regarding the public ministry of
(1). The three blocks ofrnaterialfrom
Mark in Luke are:
[a]. Luke 4:31-44 Mark 1:21-30
[bJ.Luke5:12-6:16 Markl:40-3:19
[cJ.Luke8:4-9:17 Mark3:20-6:44
(2). The sections in Luke which are
expansions of Mark:
[a]. The Birth Narratives-Luke 1:5-
[bJ. The Mission ofJohn the Bap-
tis&-While all the gospels give promi-
nence to John the Baptist, Luke contflins
a number of distinctive features which
place the role and ministry of John in
even sharper focus and seem to attest a
large measure of independence.
[cJ. The Distinctive Narrative of the
MinistryofjesusinNazareth-Luke4: 16
(3). The Sections of Ll,lke regarding
the publicministryofJesusinGalileenot
in common with Mark's oudine:
raj. Luke 5:1-11 is an insertion be-
tween the first two blocks of Markan
material. [bJ.Luke6:7-8:3isaninsertion
between the second and third blocks of
Markanrnaterial. [cJ.Afterthethirdblock
ofMarkan material in Luke, Luke leaves
off paralleling Marking sharply. His gos-
pel contains nothing corresponding to
Mark 6:45-8:26.
(4). The Summary of the Distinctive-
ness of Luke's Gospel
"The greater extent of lnke is ac-
counted for partially by the distinctive-
ness of the binh and resurrection narra-
tives which are more than twice as long
as those in Matthew. But the most deci-
sive mctor is the singulamess of his treat-
ment of the public ministly of Jesus.
VYhile Luke devotessomewhatlessspace
than Mark, and considerably less d1llIl
Matthew, to the narration of the Galilean
ministry and of the events which oc-
curredinJerusalem until the death of our
Lord, it takes approximately three times
as much space to setfonh the story of the
approach from the borders of Galilee to
the arrival inJerusalem. One must look,
accordingly, especially to the greatmiddle
section of Luke ,as well as tothe birth and
resurrection narratives, for distinctive
features of the Gospel, although, to be
sure, thesectionswhereLukemoreclosely
parallels the other Gospels also provide
most pertinent insights for the under-
standing of his witness to Christ." -Ned
The best study on the names ofjesus
in the gospel of Luke is in Benjamin B.
Warfield's great book, The Lord of Glory,
in the chapter entided, "The Designa-
tions of Our Lord in Luke and Their
a. 'Jesus" occurs about 77 times, 1:31;
2:21,43,52; 3:21, 23; 4:1,etc.
b."TheLord" oCCUrs 14 times, 7:13,
19; 10:1,39,41; 11:39; 12:42,etc.
c. "The Lord's Christ", 2:26.
d . 'Jesus of Nazareth", 18: 37.
e. "The Cmist", 4:41.
f. 'Jesus, TI10U Son of God", 8:28.
g. "Jesus, Thou Son of David", 18: 38
h. 'Jesus, Master", 17:13.
i. "Jesus the Nazarene," 4:34; 18:37;
j. "Teacher," 7:410:25; 11:45; 12:13;
18:18; 19:39; 20:21; etc.
k. ''Master,'' 5:5; 8:24,45; 9:33,49;
17:13, meaning Commander, Leader.
1. "Lord", 5:12; 7:6; 18:41; 19:8, etc.
To address Jesus as "Lord" was to ac-
lmowledge His authority and involved
submission to His commandments, 5:8;
1-: 17, 40; 11:1; 12:41; 17:37;22:33,38,
49. (The copious use of the tide "Lord" of
Christ is cllaracteristic of Luke.) This
tide, "LORD," inlplies that 'Jesus stood
to His disciples for whatever the tide,
"Lord,"meanttothem. Thereisinvolved
in it cenaiIlly me recognition of His
Messianic dignity, and there is included,
therefore, the recognition of Hinl of all
28 ;. TIlE COUNSEL of ChaIcedon t February, March 1993
... Hewasthoughtofas"Lord"incontrast
to the eanhly potentates who were
claiming lordship of men, and especially
in contrast with the emperor in Rome,
the "Lord" by way of eminence in all
men's minds. - The simplest thing to
sayis that the term "Lord" was applied to
Jesus by Luke obviouslywith the deepest
reverence and obviously as the expres-
sion of that reverence.
"The full height of this reverence may
be suggested to us by cenain passages ill
which the term "Lord" occurs in citations
from the O.T., where its reference is to
Jehovah, though in the citations it seems
to be applied to Jesus, 3:4 .... "-Warfleld
m. "Prophet", 7:16, 39; 9:8,19; 24:19;
4:24; 13:33,34.
n. "Savior", 2:11. "like Matthew 1:21,
this passage, Luke 2: 11, clearly indicates
that to the circle in which Jesus moved
His coming as the Messiah was con-
nected with the great series ofprophecies
which promised the advent of Jehovall
as with those which predicted the com-
ing of the Davidic king.'Warfield.
Jesus is the "Savior, who is Christ the
Lord," 2: 11. This is an express combina-
tion of two lines of prophecy, denoting
that the baby boy born in the city of
David was both the promised Redeemer
of Israel and the Anointed King who was
to come. The phrase could be translated,
"There is born to you this day in the city
of David that Deliverer who is the Mes-
siall, the Lord." Here is a declaration that
in the Child born in Bethlehem, the city
of David, the functions of Redemption,
MessiallShip and Supreme Lordship are
o. "The Lord's Christ," 2:26, an O.T.
expression, Psa. 2:2; Lk 9:2-.
p. "The Son of the Most High God,"
1:32,35. His preexistence, heavenly de-
scent andsupematural, divine origin are
assened in mis title.
q. "The King," 19:38; 23:2; 23:3.
r. "God's Elect," 23:35; 9:35.
s. "The Holy One of God: Lk. 4:34.
t. "The Son," 3:22; 9:35; 20:13,14;
2:49; 10:21; 24:49. Most imponantly
in Luke 10:21,22 we find that "il is
unlimitedly 'all things' that are said to
have been delivered bytl).e 'Father' to the
'Son: so ilwt Godisalfirrned to hold
nothing, but to share all that He has with
the 'Son. "'-Warfield
u. "The Son of Man," which is Jesus'
favorite designation of Himself,
24: 7; 19: 10; 6:22; 12:8; 9:26;
12: 10; 22:69; etc.
loved physidan of the apostle Paul as the
author of the third gospel: (1). The ''we-
sections" of Acts iCientify the author of
Acts as a companion of Paul, Acts 16: 10-
18; 20:5-21:26; 27:1-28:16. (The unity
of authorship of Luke and Acts is undis-
puted, Lk.I:lf; Acts I:lf.) (2). The author
of Luke-Acts introduces himself as an
anonymous companion of Paul on cer-
tainparts ofhismissionatyjoumeys, and
therefore such companions as Timothy,
Silas and Aristarchus, who are men-
thoughts" in "Spirit-produced words,"
not in words or ideas originating in the
mind of man, I COrinthians 2: 12-13.
. Thesecondtextidentifiesforuswhat
is to be induded in "All Scripture." I
TImothy 5: 18 begins with the words,
"Forthe Scripture says," and then quotes
two passages COnsidered by the apostle
Paul to be God-breadled ScripLUre. The
first quote, "You shall not T1'l1.IZiIe an ox
while he is threshing." being a quote from
the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy
v. 'The ComiugOne," 7:19,
20; 3:16; 4:34; 5:32; 7:19;
w. "The Bridegroom,"
x. Summary by Warfield:
"The general impression left
on the mind by this seties of
designations is that Luke was
less interested in the preexis-
tence of our Lord than in His
divine qualiIy and the divine
nature of His mission. To him
"the apostolic authority which speaks
forth in the New Testament is never
detached from the authority of the
Lord. In the Epistles is consis-
tent recognition that in the church
there ;s only one absolute authority.
the authority of thee Lord Himself.
Whenever the apo$tle speak with
authority. they do stY' as exercising
the Lord's author;ty." Stonehouse
25: 4. Therefore, as we might
expect, the Old Testamem is
to be induded in "All Scrip-
ture." But, the second quote,
"The laborer is worthy oj his
wages," is not to be found in
the Old Testament; it is a
quotation from the Gospel
Accordingto Luke 10: 7, (and
from the GospelAccordingto
Matdlew 10:10). Therefore,
the apostle Paul considered
the Gospels to be God-
breathed Scripture. In II
Jesus was the authoritative Teacher, the
God-appointedMessiah, the heaven-sent
Redeemer from sin and divine Founder
of the Kingdom of righteousness, the
Judge of all the earth, Lord of men and
angels, and God's own Son, between
whom and the Father there persists un-
broken and perfect communion."
A The Human Author: Luke
Early Christian tradition unani-
mously and confidentlyidentifies Luke
as the author of the third gospel and
the book of Acts, which makes Luke
"the most voluminous contributor to
the New Testament, the two parts of
his great work, (Luke-Acts), consti-
LUting more than one fourth of the
volume (of the New Testament). His
Gospel is the longest book in the New
Testament." -Ned Stonehouse
The New Testament itself gives us
ample reason to identify Luke, the be-
tioned in Acts, may not be regarded as
the anonymous author. (3). Luke, al-
though well-known, remains
unmentioned, and yet he is present as an
24; Colossians 4: 14; II TImothy 4:11.
(Titus is excluded from consideration
because he does not appear in the letters
of Paul wriuen in the period introduced
by the conclusion of Acts.)
'This fact is imponant, not only be-
cause, if Luke is the author, Acts and Paul
would agree in plating Luke in Rome in
Paul's company, but also because the
'The laborer is worthy oj his wages. "'-I
Timothy 5: 18.
The first text tells us that the Holy
Book, called "All Scripture," originated
with God. It is not prophet -breathed, or
apostle-breathed, or man-breathed; it is
God-breathed. The Holy scripture in its
entirety, ("aU"), is the product of the
Breath (Holy Spilit) of God, II Peter 1 :2l.
It is the combination of "Spirit -produced
Peter 3:15-16, the apostle
Peter includes the letters of the aposde
Paul in the category of God-breathed
"Sclipture." Paul himself, under the
inspiration oCthe Spirit of Christ writes
that his letters are to be received as as
the very commandments of the Lord,
I Corinthians 14:37.
Why should we consider the letters
of the apostles of Christ to be of such final
and supreme authority? Because they
were the apostles of Christ! "According
to the consistent witness of the New
Testament, Jesus chose a company of
persons who were qualified, both by
their personal witness of his life and by
their endowment by the Spirit of Christ,
to declare authoritatively the Christian
message, Mk. 1:16f; 3:13 f; 4:lOf; 6:7f;
9:9; Lk. 6: Uf; Acts 1: 1, 22f;]n . 14:26f;
15:26f; 16:25f. (Paul was an aposde of
Christ, I Cor. 9:1; 15:8f; Gal.l:l, 11, 17;
2:8f.) "-Stonehouse, TIle Infallible Word
" ... the apostolic authority which
speaks forth in the New Testamem is
February, March 1993 r "IRE COUNSEL of Chalcedon 29
never detached from the authonty of the
Lord. In the Epistles there is consistent
recognition that in the church there is
only one absolute authority, the author-
ity of the Lord Himself. Wherever the
apostles speak with authority, they do so
as exercising the Lord's autl10nty. Thus,
for example, where Paul defends his
authonty asanapostle, he bases his claim
by the Lord, Gal. 1 and 2; where he
assumes the nght to regulate the life of
the church, he claims for his word the
Lord's authority, even when no direct
word of the Lord has been handed down,
I Cor. 14:37; I Cor. 7: 10. Nor may it be
overlooked that the Gospels are also
apostolic. - ... tl1e Gospels tl1emselves,
in so far as theymalce any explicit claims
of authonty, appeal to the apostolic tes-
tinlony which they contain, Lk. 1: 1-4;
In. 21:24.-The only one who speaksin
the New Testament with an authority
that is undenved and self-authenticating
is the Lord. Since, however, his message
is reqUired to be mediated to the church
through human instrumentalities, it was
necessary that those who had been ap-
pointed and qualified by the Lordshould
become his
The 11ifallible Word
"The Gospels assert their authontyin
still another way. As wimesses to Christ,
the evangelists take little or no time to
accredit themselves as qualified to pub-
lish the gospel with divine authorization.
The personality of the evangelists tends
to stay so completely in the background
that it remains for their messages to
authenticate tl1emselves as authontative
proclamations of the gospel. It is true,
nevertheless, that the original readers
must have known tl1e identity of the
wtiters. Moreover, luke and John are
not, properly speaking, anonymous
works. Luke is at pains to set forlh at the
very beginninghis qualifications, method
and goal. In particular he informs
Theophilus that he is competent to sup-
ply a completely trustworthy account of
he depiCts. He is competent to supply
such an account as provided certainty as
regards the ongins of Christianity. And
the evangelist John brings to the atten-
tion of his readers the figure of an inti-
mate disciple 'whom Jesus loved' evi-
dently in order to exhibit his qualifica-
tions to bear witness to Jesus and to
supply a wtitten record of that witness,
In.l3:23f; 19:26f;20:2f;21:24.Mark,in
spite ofits anonymity, claims for itself far
more than ordinary significance when in
the opening verse it designates itself as
'gospel: tllllt is, as tl1e glad tidings of
salvation which came to be realized in
the history of Jesus Christ. Although
Matthew does not contain any similar
self-characterization, yet it likewise was
evidently wtitten to serve the same fun-
damental purposeasMark The Gospels,
then, explicitly or implicitly, claim to set
f01th the gospel of Christ. That gospel as
word in history is essentially revelatory.
And since the revelation is histoncal, the
implication is that it must be published
authoritatively by those who stood in
intimate connection wim me events and
could declare their meaning."-
Stonehouse, The Infallible Word
Because Luke 19:41M and 21:20f
prophesy of the destruction of Jerusa-
lem, which took place in 70, AD., as a
future event, it is obvious that lukecActs
was Wlitten before that date. The EAR-
LIEST probable date for the wtiting of
Luke-Acts is 62, AD., because it can be
established with a high degree of prob-
ability that Paul reached Rome in or
about the year 60, AD. Since Acts covers
the life of Paul until the two yearsinspent
in Rome, Acts 28:30, Luke could not
have finished his book before 62, AD.
The LATEST possible date is tlle middle
of 64, AD., because on July 18,19, 64,
A.D. a great fire broke out in Rome, that
left most of the city in ruins. Nero ac-
cused, the Chlislians of arson, and so a
30 TIlE COUNSEL of Chalcedon 'I February, March 1993
fiendishly cruel and bloody persecution
of Christians began. I:.uke never lllen-
tionstllishorror,and,inmct, emphasizes
the relative mimess, friendliness and
helpfulness of the Roman authonties,
Acts 21:31; 23: 12f; 27:3; 28:30f.
"Conclusion: the book of Acts was
probably wtitten before the middle of
AD. 63. And since Luke-Acts is really a
single work, the date when Theopbilus
received the Third Gospel cannot have
been much earlier-probablysometime
during the penod A.D. 61-63."-Wm.
Hendnksen, New Testament Commen-
tary, The Gospel of Luke.
1. Stonehouse, Ned, The Witness of the
Sy11Op& Gospels tn 0l1ist, 1979, Baker
Book House, Grand Rapids, Micll.
2. Reicke, Bo, The Gospel ofllike, 1962,
John Knox Press, Richmond, Va.
3. Gasqueand Martin, Apostnlic Histnry
and ihe Gospel, 1970, Wm. B. Eerdmans
Pub. Co., Grand Rapids, Micll.
4. Marshall, 1. Howard, Luke: Histnrian
and T1leologian 1970, Zondervan Pub-
lishing House, Grand Rapids, Mich.
5. Tasker, R V.G., The Nature and PuT-
poseoftheGospels 1962,]ohnKnoxPress,
Richmond, Va.
6. Guthne, Donald, New Testament In-
troduction 1968, Inter-Varsity Press,
Downers Grove, Ill.
7. Ladd, George, TIle New Testament
and Clitfcism, 1967, Wm. B. Eerdmans
Publishing Company, Grand Rapids,
. 8. Ridderbos, Herman, TIle Coming of
the Kingdom 1975, Presbyterian and Re-
fOlllledPublishingCo., Philadelphia, Pa.
9. warfield, Benjamin, TIle Lord of
Glory, 1974, Baker Book House, Grand
Rapids, Mich.
10. Guthrie, Donald, A Slwrter Life oj
011ist, 1970,ZondervanPublishingCo.,
Grand Rapids, Mich.
11. Morris, Leon, TIle Gospel According
to St Luke TyndaJe NT Commentaries,
1975, Wm.B.EerdmansPub. Co., Grand
Rapids, Mich
12. Ryle,J .C.,ExpositoryThough!5onthe
Gospels, Vol. m and N, The Baker and
Taylor Co., New York.
13. Lenski, RC.H., ThelnterpretatiDllof
St. Luke's Gospel, 1961, Augsbum Pub.
House, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
14. Geldenhuys, N orval, Commenfary
on flle Gospel of Luke, New InternatiDnal
CommentaryontheN.T., 1951,Wm.B.
EerdmansPub. Co., GrandRapids,Mich
15. Plummer, Alfred., A Critical and
Exegetlcl Commentary on ale Gospel Ac-
cording to Sl Luhe, The International
Criticalcornrnentary,1896, T&TClark,
Edinburgh, Scotland.
16. Hendriksen, William, The Gaspel of
Luke, New Testament Commentary,
1978, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids,
17. Calvin, John, Commentary on a
Harmony oftJleEvangelists, Matthew, Mark
and Luke Baker Book House, Grand
Rapids, Mich.
18. Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henry's
Commentary on the Whole Bible,
Macdonald's Pub. Co., McLean, Va.
19. Alford, Henry, The New Testament
for English Readers, Moody Press, Chi-
cago, ill.
. 20. Edersheim, Alfred, 111e Life and
Times of Jesus the Messiah 1910,
Longrnans, Green and Co., New York.
21. Morecraft, Joe, Sermons on Mam
22. Morecraft, Joe, Sermons on the
Parables, unpublished.
23. Vos, Geerhardus, The Self-Disclo-
sure of Jesus, 1926, George H. Doran Co.,
New York.
24. Herrer, Theophilus, TheAbrahamic
Covenant in the Gospels, 1966, Mack
Publishing Co., Cheny Hill, NJ.
25. Bromiley, Geoffrey, Theological
D!ctiDnary of ale New Wm. B.
EerdmansPub. Co., GrandRapids,Mich
Our study of the GospelAccording
to Luke is entitled "111e Most Beautiful
Book in the World" because of: (1). its
CONTENTS-the minisny of ,Jesus,
the most beautiful Person ill the world;
and (2). its LITERARY,STYLE. Luke
has been described as the most literary
author of the New Testament, "the
painter in words." His ar&tic literary
skill is probably responsible for the
tradition of several centuries that Luke
was a painter who painted a portrait of
Mary, the mother of Jesus.
"The idyllic charm, homely
earnestness, simplidty and purity, and
the deep, devotionalspiritcharacterizing
the stories concerning the birth oOohn
and that ofJesus, are unsurpassed. These
stories as well as others in the Gospel of
Luke have indeed done more than
anything else in the world to inspire
painters and other anists to create
masterpieces of art. - His description of
the various personalities in the Gospel is
so simplyrealisticandatthesametirneso
sublime that throughout the centuries it
has set to work tens of thousands of
anists." -Geldenhuys
"Something velY stliking in Luke's
language and style is his literary
versatility. We find, for instance, that
he commences his Gospel with an
accurately balanced sentence written
in irreproachable, pure,literaryGreek.
After the preface, however, in the
description of the nativities of John
andJesus he immediately switches over
to a Hebraistically tinted language
corresponding to that of the Septuagint,
the Greek translation of the O. T. This
transition from the one kind of style to
the other shows that Luke is
consciously an anist. He could, had
he chosen, have retained throughout
the distinguished literary style with
which he had commenced. But in
order to adapt his style better to the
nature of the events that had taken
place in a Jewish environment, he
changes to a more Hebraistic diction
in the descriprion of such events. - In
his descliptionsof stories with aJewish
background Luke is Semitizing
throughout, but in stories with a Greek
background ... he writes in a purely
Greek style. "-Geldenhuys
"His Greek style may be explained
from the fact that he was of Gentile
origin and spoke Greek and that as a
' physician he was, moreover, an
educated man. However, the fact that
'he was also at horne in a Hebraistic
style may be explained mainly from
the use that he made );hroughout of the
Greek Septuagint translation of the
Old Testament, which is through and
through Hebraistic. In this way he
became expen in Dhe characteristic
Septuagint style. We should also bear
in mind that Jesus and His disciples
themselves spoke Aramaic and that
the earliest traditions concerning Him
were circulated either in Aramaic or in
translations made by persons who
spoke Aramaic. By these means Luke
would have corne in contact with
another class of Semitizing language
and style fOlms." -Geldenhuys
Luke's mastery of Greek is evident
from "the freedom ofhis constructions
and from the exceptional wealth ofhis
vocabulary. Inhis twowrirings, (Luke-
Acts), he has a larger vocabulary than
any other N. T. writer and uses about
800 words which occur nowhere else
in the N.T."-Geldenhuys
February, March 1993 "IRE COUNSEL of Chalcedon ;. 31
A. Gospel as literary genre
The four Gospels, (Matthew, Mark,
Luke,johu), are not four biographies
of jesus, although they are partly
biographical. They are not the
"memoirs" ofjesus nor are they to be
non-fiction book on the life of some
great person.
The "gospel", (EUANGELLION),
is the good news of God's
salvation of His people in
the life, ministry, death
and resurrection ofjesus
Christ. The "gospel" is "the
power of God for salvation
to every one who believes"
in jesus, Romans 1: 16.
The four "Gospels" tell the
story of that one "gospel."
They contain the material
for Christian preaching,
i.e., "they contain the
essence of the saving
events .which form the
bedrock of the apostolic
gospel. They are keryg-
maticinnarure, (i.e., they
are for preaching), and evangelical in
deSign, (i.e., they are aimed at
converting people to jesus).
"They (the four Gospels) are historical
in the way in which they root the life-
story ofjesusin the world offirst-century
Judaism and the ancient Graeco-Roman
SOciety, but it is history with a novel
twist. The gospel writers were not
biographers concerned to praise the
personal impact made by their subject
on those who came under his spell in
Galilee andjerusalem .... Nor were they
ofhis deeds and movements. - The
Christian writers are correcdy named
EVANGEUSTS. - They are men of
faith who write to direct their readers'
faith to a living person, once localized iu
GalileeandJerusalem but now .... exalted
as Lord of heaven and the One in whom
alone salvation is to be found." -Ralph
Martin, Mark, Evangelist and TheolOgian
Zondervan Pub. Co., Grand Rapids,
B. The relation of the Gospels
concerning their focus on Christ
Whyfour GoSpeJ.<r-.Matdiew, Mark,
Luke, and John? In answering this
question we must keep in mind one
important fact: actuallythereisone gospel
related to us by four evangelists. The
concern of all four evangelists is the
Good News of Jesus Christ, each
recording it in his own way to make his
own point. Each requires the otherto be
fully understood. And, although there
are differences of emphasis and
presentation in them, there are no
contradictions among them. It is the
same Lord who is spealdng in all four
Why four Gospels? Each of the four
Gospels was written fora celtain category
ofpeoplewifuaspecific purpose to focus
ona distinctive emphasis in die ministry
Custance, inhis book, Noah's Sons, seeks
tomakethecasethat the book ofMatfuew
was addressed to the Shemites, the book
32 TIlE COUNSEL of Chalcedon February, March 1993
of Mark to the Hamites, and the book of
Luke to the Japhethites, i.e. Gentiles.
Read the book to seeifhe madehispoint.
(2). THEIRPURPOSES: Thepurpose
of Matthew was to connect the gospel of
jesus with the covenantal themes of the
Old Tesl:i!IlleIll, Mat. 1:1; the purpose of
Mark was to set fonh "the beginning of
the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of
to set forth the historical basis for the
gospel ofJesns in an orderly fashion so
that you might know the exact truth
about the things you have
the purpose of tlie gospel of
jolm is explained in john
20:31-"these have been
written that you may believe
that jesus is the Christ, the
Son oj God; and that
believing you may have life
in His Name."
of the four gospels, but in
the dissimilarities of these
individual emphases that
is seen. Each gospel is
written "with a distinctive design, and
that which isincludedinitspages, andall
that is left out, is stricdy subordinated to
that design, according to a principle of
selection. In other words, nothing
whatever is brought into anyone of the
Gospels save that which was strictly
relevant and pertinent to its peculiar
theme and subject, and all that was
irrelevant and fuiled to illustrate and
exemplify its theme was excluded."-
Arthur Pink, Why FourGospels? Word of
Truth Publications, Canton, Georgia.
(1). Matthewpresentsjesns Chtistas
the promised King, whose Kingdom is
triumphant over evil, and in whose
Kingdom is salvation from sin.
(2). Mark presentsjesns Christ as the
King who became a servant without
ceasing to be the King. "The SonojMan
came not to be served, but to serve; and to
give His life a ransom jor many, Mk.
(3). John presents Jesus Christ as
the Son of God in human flesh who is
"the Lamb oj God who takes away the sins
oj the world.
Luke focuses on the HUMANITY
and theSAVIORHOOD of Jesus Christ,
without downplayingHis deity. Jesusis
God the Savior in our
humanity, who has come to
seek and to saye those who
are lost. T)J.e opening
Gospel is found in Mary's
description of God as her
savior, Luke 1:47. In her
beautiful and moving hymn,
knoWjlas the Magnificat, slle
praises God for His saving
mercy revealed to His people
in the promised birth of the
Messiah, who would enter
womb, as her SOIL In Him,
who is to becalledJesus, God
will be faithful in fulfilling all His
covenant promises. "Mary speaks of
God as her Savior because the angelic
promise of the birth of the Son of God to
heris proof that God has already begun
to act and that His saving purpose
includes her and is to be wrought
through her."-I.Howard Marshall,
Luke, Historian and Theologian,
Zondervan Publishing Company.
Why are we beginning a study of the
Gospel According to Luke on Sunday
a. Unless we keep our eyes focused

walks through the four gospels, our
theology can become icy cold, and our
ethics can become harshly legalistic. We
must learn to see theology and ethics as
obedience of life and thought to Jesus
Christ, Who is the source of all true
theology and the model of all true ethics.
we will see them "fleshed out" in the life
and ministry of Jesus Christ. Both our
theology and our ethics will be out of
balance if we do not take seriously that
the focus of biblical theology and ethics
is the triune God revealed in the Person
of Jesus Christ.
b. In order to be kept from religious
and ethical error, and to enter more
deeply and in fuller measure into the
salvation which is ours in Christ to the
glory of God, believers must be given
comprehensive and exact lmowledge,
and the certainty that the things they
believe are really true.
A. Its Nature
The first four verses of Luke's Gospel
is one beautiful and balanced sentence
written in flawless and elegant Greek.
"Since many have undertaken to draw
up a narrative concerning the things tl1at
have been jidfilled a1110ng us, just as they
who jro171 the beginning were eyewitnesses
alJd ministers of the word handed them
34 t THE COUNSEL of Chalcedon February, Match 1993
down to us, it seemed fitting jar me also,
having traced the course oj all things
accurately front the beginning, to write an
orderly account jar you, 1110st excellent
Theophilus, in order thatyouma;y know the
exact truth with respect to the matters
concemingwhic1t you received i115truction.
(William Hendriksen's translation)
B. Its Purpose
The purpose of Luke's preface is to
give his readers COMPLETE,
ACCURATE and CERTAIN lmowledge
of the historical basis of
Christianiry. TIle gospel of
Jesus is based on DEFINITE
ungrounded theories, figments
. of inlagination, uncertainties,
exaggerations or half- truths.
Religions which are founded
on sum things offer no true
satisfaction for the deepest
yearnings of the human healt.
In the Gospel of]esus we
see God revealing Himself to
man in space-time history. In
Jesus we see God accomplish-
ing our eternal redemption
from sin in space-tinle history. These
stories of the Gospel are not fantasy.
They did not take place ina never-never-
land kind of history . Theyacrually took
place in history as we know it and live it
everyday. Christianityis not the figment
of somebody's inlagination. Whlle all
other religions are built on fallen human
subjectivity, and therefore unable to
sarisfy the needs of the hean, ''we find in
the Word of God the history of how the
living God in His saving grace entered
into the life of mankind, seeking to save
those who are lost. Luke, therefore,
justly emphasizes the historical
trustwonhiness of the data of the Gospel
narrative. -Geldenlmys
C. Its Relation to the Prologue of the
Book of Acts
Dr. Luke wrote both the Gospel
According to Luke and The Acts of the
Apostles. Infact,LukeandActsconstitute
a single work rather than two
independently conceived writings.
Compare the preface of the Gospel, 1: 1-
4, and the preface of the Acts, 1: 1-2.
"This conclusion is based chiefly upon a
study of the prefaces of Luke andActs in
comparison with prefaces in literary
works of that era. Withinasingle literary
work consisting of an umber of divisions,
writers are wont to utilize the device of
prefuces of various sorts to indicate the
scope and progress of ' their
undertakings." -Geldenhuys
Uniting Acts with the Gospel of Luke
''places this Gospel in the perspective of
the history of Christianity. Whether, in
is dealing with the historical career of
Jesus Christ, or whether he is
the founding of the Christian Churcll, he
is treating a single theme. His theme is
Jesus Christ. More palticularly he ainls
to deal with the action ofjesus Christ,
both in word and deed, as He once for all
laid the foundationS of Christianity. The
living Lord of the Churm is the same as
the person who lived as a man among
men. The Jesus who is portrayed as
beingHimselfled of the Holy Spiritisthe
One whose effusion of the Holy Spirit
from on high brought the Church into
existence and who through His bestowal
of the Spirit continued to manifest His
gtadous rule of and on behaU of the
Church." -Geldenhuys
1. The Work of the "many"
Luke's prologue gives us some
iusight imq that peliod of time between
the AscenSion oOdus Christ and the
writing of the books of the New
Testament, a period of about twenty
years before the earliest epistles were
written, and of more than thirty years
before the earliest gospels were
published. During that time "many"
disciples of Christ saw the need to
compile a record of the events and
"facts of foundational significance for
the Church, including especially the
birth, the death and the resurrection of
Jesus Christ. Those events are viewed
as belonging to the past, the choice of the
perfect tense (of "accomplished")
confirms tlle inlpression tlIat they are
thought of as being of abiding
significance." -Stonehouse, The Witness
oJLuke to 01rist.
of ule first centUlY several attempts had
been made in the various churclles to
provide written accounts of the apostolic
preaching and teaching. Theneed whim
Mark and Luke supplied, for example,
may well lIave been felt previously in
many churches. To suppose, however,
existence prior to Luke's literary activity
does not inlply tlIat tlley were generally
as comprehensive as our canonical
Gospels or that they were ever regarded
as possessing the authority and
competence of our Gospels . "-Stonehouse
2. The Significance of "accomplished"
"The things accomplished among us"
is 1he comem of the record "many" felt
the need to preserve for and to hand
down to future generations. The word,
"accomplished," reveals to us Luke's
philosophy of history. Leon Morris says
that "the word has about it the air of
'fulfillment,' II Tim. 4:5. It connotes tl1l!
working out of God's purpose, a thought
that will come out cline and again in
Luke-Acts. For Luke history is not the
result of blit1d chance or of a series of
unrelated, fortuitous events, it is the
fulfilinlent, the accomplishment of the
plan of God, Luke 1:45, 54, 55, 69, 70;
2:38; 3:3-6; 4:21, 43; 5:32; 7:20; 9:22,
44; 12:50; 18:31-33; 19:41-44; 21:1;
22:22; 24:25-28, 44-49;Acts2:23; 3: 18;
The use of this word, "accomplish,"
cemersattention uponLuke'sphilosophy
of history. "According to Luke's
understanding the matters accomplished
were of such a cl1aracterthat they did not
somehow accomplish themselves in the
onrush ohhe stream of history. Forin
Acts 1: 1 he SUlns up U1l! Gospel as being
concerned with what JESUS began to do
February, Mardl1993 t TIlE COUNSEL of Cbalcedon t 35
and teach, and in the total perspective of
Luke-Acts Jesus is viewed as the divine
Lord who through His presence upon
earth and through the agency of the Holy
Spirit after His ascension accomplished
the divine plan: - Stonehouse
3. The Identity of "accomplished"
place in the midst of the Christian
community in Palestine. The "us" refers
to those for whom the events of the life
and ministry of Christ were so
extraordinary, those who were the
believing recipients of the grace of Go din
Jesus Christ.
1. The Meaning of
. 'from the beginning"
"From the beginning" probably has
reference, not merely to the beginning of
Jesus' public ministry, but even farther
back to the very beginning of the gospel
era in tbe ministry of J ohn the Baptist.
The Gospel According to Mark opens
with these words, "The beginning of the
gospelofJesus OlnsL," and then proceeds
Mk. 1:1-S.
2. The Identity of the
"eyewitnesses and ministers of the word"
"The great events of the Gospel
belonged to the past when their
communication to the church began."-
Stonehouse. And the people who were
responsible for the transmission of this
knowledge were those "who from the
beginning were eyewitnesses and
ministers (servants) of the Word." Luke
is not distinguishing dIe eyewitnesses
from the ministers of the Word as is
obvious from his use of the singular
predicate, "handed down" with the
compound subject. In other words, the
eyewitnesses to the ministry of John the
Baptist alld to the life and ministry of
Jesus, who had handed down the
narrative of these events to those who
compiled the records ofit, were ministers
of the Word of God, i.e., men who not
only believed and preached the word of
the gospel, but who also served, (the
meaning of "minister" is "servant"),
and obeyed that word in their own
personal lives.
It is dIe activity of these eyewitness-
ministers of the Word in transmitting a
first -handlmowledge of the events of the
gospel ofJesus which is the connecting
link between the actual occurrence of
those events alld the literary activity of
Luke's predecessors, who compiled into
narratives the information they had
received fTOm them. These ministers
were fully and historically qualified to
TRANSMIT accurate information,
because they had RECEIVED it as
eyewitnesses. eTheeanciuslontharLuke
has only one group of persons in mind
receives confinnation, moreover, from
the patticipial construction which,
employing a single article, serves to join
together the persons designated by the
nouns into one close-knit group."-
Who was this original compallY of
qualified persons that Luke hadinmind?
Whowerehisoriginalsouroesfrom which
he drew the material for his Gospel?
They must have been the aposdes and
perhaps a few of their close associates.
..... allpossibleremainingdoubtthatLuke
has the apostolic circle pointedly in view
is removed when account is taken of the
clear distinction drawn between this
group and Luke's predecessors," Le.,
between the eyewitnesses and the mallY
who had undertaken to compile an
account of the gospel events. Or, more
specifically, Luke's source material alld
resource persons surely included:
a. The Aposde Paul, who was an
eyewitness of the resurrected Christ, was
onewitll whom formanyyears Lukewas
36 TIlE COUNSEL of Qllllcedon February, Marclt 1993
in the most intimate contact as a fellow-
traveler on some of Paul's missionary
journeys, Acts 21-27:2.
b. Luke's travels with Paul would
have brought him into close personal
contact with numerous "eyewitnesses-
ministers" such as Peter andJames, Acts
Co Lukewasveryintimatelyassociated
with Mark, the Gospel- writer. He was
velY probably an eyewitness of some of
the events of Jesus' life, and was also a
close associate of the Aposde Peter, who
referred to him as "my son, Mark" Luke
had been with Mark, at least in Rome
during Paul's imprisonment there,
Colossians 4:10,14; Pbilemon 24. It is
obvious, when comparing the Gospel of
Mark and the Gospel of Luke that in
composing his Gospel Luke made great
use of the Gospel of Mark whim had
already been written, and which was
based on the authoritative first-hand
informarion of Peter. He may also have
had the Gospel of Matthew.
d.InlITinlOthy4:11,13, Paul says to
Timothy: "Only Luke is with me. Take
Mark, and bring him with you, for he is
profitable to me ... The cloke that I left at
T roas widl CarplLS, when you come, bring
with you, and the books, but especially the
parchments." Paul wrote these words
from Rome about AD. 64-65, probably
during his second im prisomnent there.
Could it be that, under the guidance of
Paul, Luke was already engaged in some
kind of writing?
In the light of the assault on the
tlustworthiness of the Gospels by "form-
criticism" it is importam to make clear
what Luke is saying in his prologue. ltis
not the Christian community at-large
and in general that is the principal agem
for the transmission of "the things
accomplished" inJesus of Nazareth , nor
is the general Christiall community
responsible for the origin or the
formulation of that record and tradition.
"Rather Luke intimates that there was a
small well-defined group ofpersonswho
had been in immediate touch with the
events and who had special authority
and responsibility for their earliest
proclamation. That Luke actually
attached unique significance to the
apostolic preaching is abundantly
confirmed by the place assigned to the
apostles' testimony in me early chapters
of Acts, 1:22; 2:42; 6:4."-Stonehouse
3. TIle Meaning of
"handed them down to us"
The form in which Luke's
predecessors received lhisinfonnationis
uncertain. Some of the infOlmation was
transmitted by oral tradition, while some
ofitwasalso transmitted through written
documents, Acts 6:14.
Almough Luke was a Spilit-inspired
Biblical Wllter, he tells us in his prefuce
that he made use of all available human
means and resources to present an exact
and well-arranged account. "TI1! men
called by the Lord to write tile Bible
books were not used by Hiln as mere
automatons. He selected persons who,
Ihrough meir natural, God -given gifts
and training, under the guidance of the
Holy Spirit, were suited to meir special
task. God always respects the
independence of personality given by
Him to mose whom He has called. The
Spirit of God does not despise human
means, but recognizes and blesses memo
- But God always led, formed and
inspired the Biblical Wliters in such a
manner that what tiley composed was
truly tile Word of GOd-not human
uncertainties but fucts and divine trulhs.
For Ihis reason we also 'may know the
celtainty of mose things wherein we
have been instructed.'" -Geldenhuys
1. The identity of
'you": "most excellent Theophilus'
Theophilus, whose name means
"lover of God," was a Greek who was a
person worthy of high honor, "most
excellent," who was probably a member
of the intelligent middle-class at Rome."
By refening to him as "most excellent"
or "your excellency" Luke could be
indicating that Theophilus was a
procurator or governor in some
province or omerofmeRomanEmpire.
He may also have been the patron of
Luke-Acts, Le., theone financing its
publication. He was more than likely a
man of distinction and of wealth.
Theophilus may have been a new
Christian, who had been "catechized,"
(in verse four the Greek word for
"instructed" is "catachein"),in the
elementary rudiments of Christianity,
and who needed to advance in his
understanding of the Gospel. He may
have been given catechetical training
when he was preparing for baptism.
Whatever is the case Luke thinks there
are some things lacking in Theophilus'
knowledge of the gospel; and he desires
to supplement what is lacking "and to
make Theophilus realize how
unshakable is the histOlical foundation
on which the Christian faim rests."-
2. The Significance of
"know the exact truth about the
things you have been taught"
Luke's goal is to provide
Theophilus, who is already an
informed, catechized person, with
certainty as to the origins of
Chlistianily. "The emphasis upon
38 lHE COUNSEL of Olalcedon l' February, March 1993
THOROUGH (epignos) lmowledge,
and especially 'upon CERTAIN
lmowledge accords rather with the
viewthatLukehadinmind an audience
which was favorably informed
concerning Christianity, howbeit
perhaps in fragmentary and
unsystematic fashion, and that what
was required was a completely
trustworthy record of all things fTOm
the beginning in orderthat faith might
be further informed and might receive
confil'lllation." - Stonehouse
Luke recognizes that Theophilus
KNOWLEDGE (epignos) and "THE
CERTAINTY", (NIV) , (logon tan
asphaleian) "of the things he had been
taught,"Le., me origins of Christianity.
He was in need of more thorough
grounding in the truth concerning
"Epignos" expresses definiteness,
certainty and fullness of lmowledge,
with special reference to the
trustworthiness of the information
imparted. "Logon" refers to the
"words," the details ofthe "Word: or
Gospel which had been handed down
by the "ministers of the Word."
"Asphaleian" indicates the absolute
certainty and exactitude of the record
of the life and ministry ofJesus. It can
be translated "with full certainty".
1. The Careful Investigation
Luke in no way depreciates the
work of his predecessors. He
acknowledges their positive worth and
builds on that work. He mentions
them not to discount them, but to
indicate that he is not engaged in
something new. He will be. dealing
with the same subject matter, but in a
more comprehensive manner. In doing
so Luke will carefully and thoroughly
srudythe source-material made available
to him <;onceroingtheoriginand progress

"Luke's comprehensive inquiry into
the history of Christianity is carned out
with an eye for explicit and accurate .
knowledge. - ... the prindpal claim
which he makes, and that with
cDlisiderabie force, is that, rather than
having beennecessarily dependent upon
his predecessors, he was in the fortunate
a comprehensive and accurate inquiry
into the course of Christian history as
that had been disclosed to the church by
the originalwirnesses." -Stonehouse
2. The Orderly Presentation
. rile word translated by
Hendriksen and the NN as "an orderly
account," istranslated bytheNASV as "in
consecutive order," as "in order" in the
KJV, as "an ordered accoum" in the]B.
This phrase does notnecessarilyindicate
that Luke had chronological order in
mind Itdenoresratherlogicalandartisdc
order, or a narrative orderly and
continuous in itself. In contrast to the
acCounts ofhispredecessors, whlch were
probably conllned to certain phases of
Jesus' ministry, and wrirren in piece-
meal manner, Luke wants to produce a
connected, orderly and complete
narrative, a continuous and compre-
hensive account. "That he fuliilled this
aim is borne out fully byhis achievement
in the composition of Luke-Acts which
excels in orderliness as in compre-
1. "What, then, is the main impact
made by the prologue? It gives explicit
expression to the conviction, which
obviously all the writers of the New
Testametitshare, dlatCbristianityistrUe
and is capable of confirmation by appeal
to what had happened. Christianity
according to Lukewasnomereideology,
nor a pragmatic or positivist philosophy
oflife or ethic. For him it stood or fell
widl the objective reality of certain
happenings, which took place in the full
of the Christian church, were repolted
widely Imown."-Stonehouse
2. There is no reason
whatsoever to doubt the
truthfulness, exactitl!4e and
historical accuracy oftpe biblical
record of the gospe!. The Word
of God is perfectly. true and
comprehensively eJlct. The
events described in 'ihe gospel
reallydidtakeplace. Christianity
is not a fairy tale. It is truth. It is
history. You do not have to live in
doubt concerningthe claims and
promises of Cluistianity. You
can be absolutely certain of its
truth and power.
3. In order to avoid error and to be
finnly rooted in the Christian faith and
life you need: a. Comprehensive and
elalct knowledge of the gospel account;
b. Certainty that that account is trUe; c.
An accurate, comprehensive, orderly
written account of the gospel, i.e., the
Bible. d. Confidence that Christianity is
historical and its biblical interpretation
4, Luke's insrtuction of Theophilus
that he may come to know more fully the
elalct truth of Christianity, reminds us of
the statement of] esus Himself-''I[ you
abideinMyword, thenyouaretrulydisciples
oj Mine; and you shall know the truth and
Ole truOl shall make you Jree: Joh11 8:31-
A.A. Hodge, 1886
Outlines of Theology
Banner of Truth Trust
February, Mardl1993 mE COUNSEL of Chalcedon 39