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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4
Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8
Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12
Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16
Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20
Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24

Book Overview - Luke

by Arthur Peake



Contents and Sources.—The book falls into well-marked divisions—

(a) If.—The Birth and Infancy of John and of Jesus.

(b) Luke 3:1 to Luke 4:13.—The Mission of John. The Baptism and the Temptation.

(c) Luke 4:14 to Luke 9:50.—The Ministry in Galilee.

(d) Luke 9:51 to Luke 19:28.—The Journey to Jerusalem.

(e) Luke 19:29 to Luke 24:53.—Last Days in Jerusalem. Death and Resurrection.

(a) and most of (d) are peculiar to Lk. Cf. pp. 680f.

In his preface Luke refers to the labours of previous workers in the field of gospel literature. His relation to some of these (Mk. and Q) is described in a previous article (pp. 673ff.), and is indicated in the commentary. There are signs that Lk.'s Marcan document was briefer than our Mk, e.g. in Luke 8:4 to Luke 9:50 several sections in the corresponding part of Mk. have no parallel in Lk. In the story of the Supper, the Passion, and the Resurrection, Luke seems to have used not only Mk. but some other document, or, more likely, a number of distinct pieces of oral tradition.

Several scholars now hold that Luke used, instead of a separate special source, an expanded form of Q, in which Passion and Resurrection incidents were included. This was Hebraistic in tone, and the tone is also discernible in the Infancy section and in Luke 9:51 to Luke 18:14. Holdsworth (Gospel Origins), anticipated by Sanday (HDB, 2639), thinks that Luke 9:51 to Luke 18:14 depends upon an eye-witness. Its Samaritan element, its acquaintance with the court of Herod, and its sympathy with women, point to Joanna (Luke 8:3; Luke 24:10). He traces the same influence in the Infancy and the Resurrection narratives, and thus postulates three main sources of Lk., viz. Mk., Q, and a narrative by Joanna.

Characteristics.—Renan described this gospel as "the most beautiful book ever written." The author reveals himself in the narratives he has selected, especially in Luke 1 f. and Luke 9:51 to Luke 18:14. He is not only the physician, but the "beloved" physician. "His was indeed," says J. V. Bartlet, "a religio medici in its pity for frail and suffering humanity, and in its sympathy with the triumph of the Divine healing art upon the bodies and souls of men. His was also a humane spirit, a spirit so tender that it saw further than almost any save the Master Himself into the soul of womanhood. In this, as in his joyousness, united with a feeling for the poor and suffering, he was an early Francis of Assisi." It is he who emphasises Christ's freedom from Jewish exclusiveness as regards Samaritans (Luke 9:52 ff., Luke 10:30 ff., Luke 17:15-19), Gentiles (Luke 4:25-27, Luke 23:2; Luke 23:36), and outcast Jews, like Zacchæus. He portrays our Lord's humanity with special clearness and gives us many glimpses of His inner life, e.g. His habit of prayer, His life of temptation (Luke 4:13, Luke 22:28), and His sense of the painfulness of His mission (Luke 12:49 ff.). Much stress is laid on the virtue of almsgiving, and wealth is depreciated. But to argue from this strain of asceticism that the author was an Ebionite is to overlook the equally prominent strain of joy and gladness. From a purely literary point of view the gospel has great merits; its simple and direct narrative, its fascinating character sketches, its skilful contrasts—e.g. Mary and Martha, Dives and Lazarus, the repentant and unrepentant thieves—bespeak the artist, as do the hymns in Luke 1 f. (even if we ascribe to him simply their Greek dress), and the ease with which he passes from one style to another according as his sources were oral or written, Aramaic or Greek. It only remains to repeat the intimation already given (p. 700), that the plan of this Commentary necessitates the student's study of what has been written on the parallel portions of Mk. (and of Mt.).

Literature.—Commentaries: (a) Adeney (Cent.B.) Garvie (WNT), Farrar (CB), Lindsay. (b) Burnside, Carr, Farrar (CGT), Plummer (ICC), Wright, Bruce (EGT), Bond. (c) *Godet, J. Weiss (Mey.8), B. Weiss (Mey.9), Knabenbauer, Wellhausen, Rose, Baljon, Holtzmann (HC). (d) Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture; Burton (Ex.B). Other Literature: Articles in Dictionaries and Encyclopædias, Introductions to NT, the Gospels, and the Synoptic Problem; Works on the Life and Teaching of Jesus; Harnack, Luke the Physician; Bruce, With Open Face; Selwyn, St. Luke the Prophet; Ramsay, Luke the Physician; M'Lachlan, St. Luke, Evangelist and Historian; Blass, Evang. secundum Lucam; Hobart, The Medical Language of St. Luke.

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Sunday, November 29th, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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