Another look at Luke: What's unique?

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paradox3

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Interested in taking another look at Luke? Would you like to explore what's unique about it?

Of the three synoptic gospels, Luke has the most material not appearing in the other two. Chapters 1 and 2 are entirely unique, which has led to some speculation they may represent later additions to early manuscripts.

Luke alone gives us the parables of the good Samaritan, the prodigal son, and many others.
The stories of Mary & Martha and Zaccheus are not related elsewhere.
Ditto for certain miracles, teachings of Jesus, and other encounters.

It is a long list. In some cases, there are nuances of difference between the various gospel accounts. Commentators vary in their opinions about what to consider unique. But I have chosen one list as a reference point and will present the stories in the order they appear. As we work our way through the chapters, please feel free to comment on any "uniqueness-es" you think have been left out.

Now for some guidelines. Please stay on topic. Experience tells me this is the single most important thing we can do.

If you wish to refer to another book of the bible or a different portion of Luke, please explain why you are doing this. If you would like to post a joke or musical offering, you may do so as long as it is in good taste. If you post a video of a sermon, please explain why you want us to watch it.

As this is a study thread, I intend to make judicious use of the Report button and request moderator assistance with any posts I find to be off topic. Any posts which are too obscure to be easily understood (with reasonable ease) will be considered off-topic. Please just stick to the topic and all will be well!

paradox3/ P3
 

Mendalla

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If you would like to post a joke or musical offering, you may do so as long as it is in good taste.

And on topic, of course. Randomly posting jokes is for the "Someone suggested a joke thread..." thread. Jokes here should pertain to the discussion at hand.

:giggle:
 

Seeler

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my favourite gospel is Luke, although I also
Mark which is short and to the point.
Luke is easy to read, well-written, with the flow to the stories. I like the style.
Luke doesn't seem to have the harshness that is sometimes found in Mark and Matthew, yet is not his philosophical as John. It will be interesting to follow along and read others reflections on this book.
 

JRT

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Interested in taking another look at Luke? Would you like to explore what's unique about it?

Of the three synoptic gospels, Luke has the most material not appearing in the other two. Chapters 1 and 2 are entirely unique, which has led to some speculation they may represent later additions to early manuscripts.

Luke alone gives us the parables of the good Samaritan, the prodigal son, and many others.
The stories of Mary & Martha and Zaccheus are not related elsewhere.
Ditto for certain miracles, teachings of Jesus, and other encounters.

It is a long list. In some cases, there are nuances of difference between the various gospel accounts. Commentators vary in their opinions about what to consider unique. But I have chosen one list as a reference point and will present the stories in the order they appear. As we work our way through the chapters, please feel free to comment on any "uniqueness-es" you think have been left out.

Now for some guidelines. Please stay on topic. Experience tells me this is the single most important thing we can do.

If you wish to refer to another book of the bible or a different portion of Luke, please explain why you are doing this. If you would like to post a joke or musical offering, you may do so as long as it is in good taste. If you post a video of a sermon, please explain why you want us to watch it.

As this is a study thread, I intend to make judicious use of the Report button and request moderator assistance with any posts I find to be off topic. Any posts which are too obscure to be easily understood (with reasonable ease) will be considered off-topic. Please just stick to the topic and all will be well!

paradox3/ P3

Sounds interesting.
 

paradox3

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Luke 1: 1 - 4: Explanatory Preface

Luke's gospel opens with a prologue, explaining the writer's credentials and intentions.

The author is widely viewed to be Luke, the physician companion of Paul. He does not identify himself in the preface. He is aware of other accounts of Jesus and he has received information from eyewitnesses. He has considered it all carefully and sets out to write an orderly account of events. He mentions "the things which have been fulfilled among us" probably referring to the Hebrew scriptures.

The comments are addressed to the most excellent Theophilus.

The identity of Theophilus is unknown although there are several theories. Could he be a Roman official? Paul's lawyer? A priest, even? Because the name means "lover of God" there is one theory that he was not an actual person.

Luke aims to be convincing. For reflection:

So that you may know for certain the things you were taught. (Luke 1: 4 NET)
 

Mendalla

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This is, of course, a common literary form in the ancient Greek and Roman world. It's basically an "open letter", framed to look like it was written to someone but really meant for general consumption. A pretty good indicator that whoever Luke was, he was definitely the recipient of a Hellenistic Greek education.

The name, as you suggest, is suspicious. "Lover of God" could easily be Luke's expected audience, not a specific person. Is the name referenced at all in Acts might be a question to ask?

I do find it interesting that he concedes that "many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us" and yet he obviously thinks another account will be of value. And keep in mind that he isn't talking just Mark, Q, and maybe Matthew here (John was written later). This would include lost Gospels and ones that didn't make canon, too. Were there stories missing or downplayed in other accounts that he is trying to bring to the fore? Does he want to spin it differently or have a different audience in mind? Certainly, history is full of authors who write in an already crowded field to put their own stamp on it, but the motivations vary.
 

Mendalla

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Is the name referenced at all in Acts might be a question to ask?

And the answer is, only in the dedication, to create continuity with Luke (who wrote both Luke and Acts).

Acts 1:1-2 said:
1 In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning 2 until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.
 

Mendalla

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So that you may know for certain the things you were taught.

So this speaks to his motivation. He is writing his own account to confirm what is in the other stories by virtue of the research he has done. But, again, the question is, if there are already many, why does adding one more mean "you may know for certain the things you were taught". Couldn't he just hand him a copy of Mark or something?
 

Redbaron

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With all the 'padding' Luke's Gospel adds to Mark. maybe just handing a copy of Mark just wasn't enough, maybe?

Seriously, though, 'That you may know for certain' seems to indicate that this person (these persons) has heard the story possibly in several conflicting versions,
and one of Luke's aims in writing was to provide a standard narrative of the events in Jesus' life.
 

paradox3

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Is Luke saying that others have attempted to write orderly accounts and he will now offer an actual "orderly" version?

I wonder what he meant by "orderly". Well organized and convincing? In chronological order, maybe?

As an educated person, maybe he feels he can offer a ruling on what needs to be standardized when the stories are told.
 

paradox3

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General consensus of opinion (although not unanimous) seems to be that Luke had Mark in hand when he wrote his gospel.

I wonder if Matthew's version came before or after Luke's.
If it came first, perhaps it was Luke's second major source rather than the hypothetical "Q".
 

JRT

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One has to wonder if Luke had ever read Matthew at all since both his Genealogy of Jesus and his Birth Narrative contradict Matthew in a great many respects ---- well, most respects.
 

Mendalla

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General consensus of opinion (although not unanimous) seems to be that Luke had Mark in hand when he wrote his gospel.

I wonder if Matthew's version came before or after Luke's.
If it came first, perhaps it was Luke's second major source rather than the hypothetical "Q".

One has to wonder if Luke had ever read Matthew at all since both his Genealogy of Jesus and his Birth Narrative contradict Matthew in a great many respects ---- well, most respects.

The Wiki on the Gospels suggests (with a citation) that Matthew and Luke were roughly contemporary, both written somewhere in the range 85-90 CE. So most likely Luke didn't have Matthew to draw on and, in fact, Luke could have come first.
 

Redbaron

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That, and the order of the temptations in the wilderness is different, for some (possibly good) reason.
 

Mendalla

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Of course, the temptations is an interesting one. Mark 1:13 just basically says Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, so Matthew and Luke were clearly fleshing them out themselves or maybe with material from Q or other lost sources.
 

paradox3

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One has to wonder if Luke had ever read Matthew at all since both his Genealogy of Jesus and his Birth Narrative contradict Matthew in a great many respects ---- well, most respects.
Good argument for another common source rather than Matthew using Luke or vice-versa.
It seems likely that Matthew and Luke had a second common source when you consider all the material they share in the 2 way tradition.
 

paradox3

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This is, of course, a common literary form in the ancient Greek and Roman world. It's basically an "open letter", framed to look like it was written to someone but really meant for general consumption.
This reminds me of present day dedications in books. Or concerts where a musician dedicates a song to one individual but is clearly performing for everyone.
 

paradox3

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continuity with Luke (who wrote both Luke and Acts).
Am I the only one who finds a big difference in style between Luke and Acts? I love Luke's gospel and it is my favorite of the four. Acts, on the other hand, I find tough going & very dry. I read it last fall and was glad when I came to the end of it.
 

Mendalla

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Am I the only one who finds a big difference in style between Luke and Acts? I love Luke's gospel and it is my favorite of the four. Acts, on the other hand, I find tough going & very dry. I read it last fall and was glad when I came to the end of it.

I probably need to give Acts a re-read myself. He's covering a fair bit of ground in it, so I guess it's more of a history of the early church whereas Luke is a hagiography of Jesus, much like Mark and Matthew, so more focussed and less of a history text. But, as I say, I haven't read Acts in a while.
 

unsafe

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This reflection verse for today in my view needs to be read in context to understand it rightly ---it pretty much tells us that Theophilus. is a real person as it says ----So that you may know for certain the things you were taught. (Luke 1: 4 NET)

If you look up the word taught here in the Greek ---it says this ----

Strong's Concordance
didaskó: to teach
n the NT, 1321 /didáskō ("teach") refers to teaching the Scriptures (the written Word of God). The key role of teaching Scripture is shown by its great frequency in the NT, and the variety of word-forms (cognates).

My view
So it seems that Luke is trying to strengthen Theophilus. Faith in the truth of the Scriptures ------as he goes to great lengths to describe how he is putting things together ----orderly ----eyewitness accounts ----things that have been fulfilled by prophecy -----

So Luke --investigated the story toughly as he himself was not an eyewitness to these accounts so he goes to the eyewitness accounts to make sure it gets it right ---Luke goes back to the Beginning to John the Baptise birth as he was the starting point for Jesus ministry -----and we see Luke's account was well thought out and precise and done in an orderly fashion -----He wants it seems for Theophilus. to get a right orderly account to strengthen him in the truth of the word -----

Theophilus is also mention in Acts 1:1 -----
 
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