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Luke, Gospel of

Morrish Bible Dictionary

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It has often been declared that this gospel was gathered by the writer from various sources, especially from the apostle Paul, because he was so much with that apostle. This was an early opinion. Irenaeus and Tertullian asserted that we have in Luke the gospel that Paul preached. Eusebius referred the words 'according to my gospel' ( 2 Timothy 2:8 ) to the gospel of Luke; and Jerome agreed with this. Many modern writers repeat the same. In this theory there are two grave errors. The one is endeavouring to account for the Gospel of Luke by mere human agency, instead of recognising that the writer was led and guided by the Holy Spirit. The other is ignoring the unique character of the gospel taught by Paul, which he declared he had received by the revelation of Jesus Christ, and which is called "the gospel of the glory of the Christ." It associated the believer with Christ in the glory. 2 Corinthians 4:4 .

On the other hand, it is evident that Luke's presentation of the service of Christ on earth is in correspondence with the service of 'the apostle of the Gentiles,' whose fellow-labourer and companion Luke was. Grace to man — 'to the Jew first, and also to the Greek,' as Paul expresses it — is the key-note of Luke's gospel.

The Gospel of Luke sets the Lord before us in the character of Son of man, revealing God in delivering grace among men. Hence the present operation of grace and its effect are more referred to, and even the present time prophetically, not the substitution of other dispensations, as in Matthew, but of saving, heavenly grace. At first no doubt (and just because He is to be revealed as Man, and in grace to men), He is presented (in a prefatory part in which there is the most exquisite picture of the godly remnant) to Israel, to whom He had been promised, and in relationship with whom He came into this world; but afterwards this gospel presents moral principles which apply to man generally whosoever he may be, whilst yet manifesting Christ, for the moment, in the midst of that people. This power of God in grace is displayedin various ways in its application to the wants of men.

After the transfiguration ( Luke 9 ), which is recounted earlier, as to the contents of the gospel, than by the other evangelists, we find the judgement of those who rejected the Lord, and the heavenly character of the grace which, because it is grace, addresses itself to the nations, to sinners, without any particular reference to the Jews, overturning the legal principles according to which the latter pretended to be, and as to their external standing were originally called at Sinai to be, in connection with God. Unconditional promises to Abraham, etc., and prophetic confirmation of them, are another thing. They will be accomplished in grace and were to be laid hold of by faith.

After this (Luke 19 , Luke 20 , Luke 21 ), details are given as to that which should happen to the Jew according to the righteous government of God; and, at the end, the account of the death and resurrection of the Lord, accomplishing the work of redemption.

Luke morally sets aside the Jewish system and introduces the Son of man as the Man before God, presenting Him as the One who is filled with all the fulness of God dwelling in Him bodily, as the Man before God, according to His own heart, and thus as Mediator between God and man, centre of a moral system much more vast than that of Messiah among the Jews. While occupied with these new relations (ancient in fact as to the counsels of God), Luke nevertheless gives the facts belonging to the Lord's connection with the Jews, owned in the pious remnant of that people, with much more development than the other evangelists, as well as the proofs of His mission to that people, in coming into the world — proofs which ought to have gained their attention, and fixed it upon the child who was born to them.

That which specially characterises the narrative, and gives peculiar interest to this gospel, is that it sets forth what Christ is Himself. It is not His official glory, a relative position that He assumed; neither is it the revelation of His divine nature in itself; nor His mission as the great Prophet. It is Himself, as He was, a man on the earth — the Person one would have met every day had one lived at that time in Judaea or in Galilee.

A remark may be added as to the style of Luke. He often brings a mass of facts into one short general statement, and then expatiates at length on some isolated fact, where moral principles and grace are displayed. [Adapted from the "Synopsis of the Books of the Bible."]

Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Luke, Gospel of'. Morrish Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​mbd/​l/luke-gospel-of.html. 1897.
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