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by Matthew Poole
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE
Concerning the penman of this history, the certain time when he wrote it, and the occasion of his writing of it, we have little in holy writ; and there is such an uncertainty in traditions, as it is hardly worth the labour to transcribe what men have but guessed at. For those who would have him to be Barnabas, or one of the seventy, they seem not to have considered what Luke himself saith, Luke 1:2, that he wrote, as they delivered them to him, which from the beginning were eye witnesses, and ministers of the word. By which is fairly hinted to us, that he was no eye witness, nor (from the first at least) a minister of the word. That there was one Luke contemporaneous with Paul, and his fellow labourer, appeareth from 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 1:24; Colossians 4:14; in both which latter texts he is joined with Demas, and in Colossians 4:14, he is called the beloved physician. Those three texts seem all to speak of one and the same person, who, probably, at first practised physics, afterwards, being made a disciple, exercised the ministry. It is generally thought that this was he, who was the penman both of this history and of the Acts of the Apostles. Whether by nation he was a Syrian, or a Roman, or of what other nation, is but an unprofitable speculation. That he was an evangelist we know, that is, one inspired by God to transmit to the world the history of the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of our Saviour; as also of the acts of the apostles, until Paul was a prisoner at Rome. For his history of the Gospel, so far as it relates to Christ himself, it containeth many remarkable things, not mentioned by the other evangelists. The generation of John Baptist; the history of Zacharias; the angel's coming to the blessed virgin; Elisabeth's exclamation, and salutation of her; the publication of Christ's birth to the shepherds, with the things spoken by them; the testimony which Simeon and Anna gave to Christ; the occasion of Joseph and Mary's going to Bethlehem; the circumstances of our Saviour's birth there; his disputing with the doctors at twelve years of age; are things reported by no other evangelist, and of great use to complete the history of John the Baptist and of Christ. Besides that he hath many parables (as those of the lost sheep, the lost groat, and of the prodigal, &c.) that are to be found in no other evangelist, together with several other parables and pieces of history; to say nothing of divers circumstances in those parables and pieces of history, which other evangelists have recorded, omitted by them. He dedicates his book to some friend, either named Theophilus, or to whom the signification of that name (which is, a lover of God) in his judgment did very well agree. The time when he wrote it is uncertain; some would have it to be written the fifteenth, some the twenty-second, some the twenty-seventh year of our Saviour. The matter written by him is of much more concern to us to know than these circumstances. We have in our annotations spoken to those things which he mentions, before recorded by Matthew or Mark, more shortly. To other things which we in him first meet with, more largely.
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17