Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
Luke, Gospel According to,
the third in order of the canonical books of the New Testament,
I. Author — Genuineness. — The universal tradition of Christendom, reaching up at least to the latter part of the 2d century, has assigned the third member of our Gospel collection to Luke, Paul's trusted companion and fellow-laborer, συνεργός, who alone continued in attendance on his beloved master in his last imprisonment (Colossians 4:14; Philemon 1:24; 2 Timothy 4:11). Its authorship has never been questioned until comparatively recent times, when the unsparing criticism of Germany — the main object of which appears to be the demolishing of every ancient belief to set up some new hypothesis in its stead — has been brought to bear upon it, without, however, effectually disturbing the old traditionary statement.
The investigations of Semler, Hilgenfeld, Ritschl, Baur, Schleiermacher. Ewald, and others, have failed to overthrow the harmonious assertion of the early Church that the third Gospel, as we have it, is the genuine work of Luke. It is well known that, though the " Gospels" are referred to by Justin Martyr as a collection already used asnd accepted by the Church (Apol. 1:66; Dial. c. Tryph. c. 10). and his works supply a very considerable number of quotations, enabling us to identify, beyond all reasonable doubt, these εὐαγγἐλια with the first three Gospels, we do not find them mentioned by the names of their authors till the end of the 2d century. In the Muratorian fragment, which call hardly be placed later than A.D. 170, we read, "Tertium Evangelii librum secundum Lucam Lucas iste medicus post ascensum Christi cum eum Paulus quasi ut juris (τοῦ δικαίου ) studiosum ['itineris socium,' Bunsen] secum adsumsisset nomine suo ex ordine 'opiinione,' Credner] conscripsit (Dominum tamen nec ipse vidit in carne), et idem prout assequi potuit,ita et a nativitate Johannis incepit dicere" (Westcott, Hist. of Can., page 559). The testimony of Irenaeus, A.D. cir. 180, is equally definite, Λουκᾶς δὲ ὁ ἀκόλουθος Παύλου τὸ ὑπ᾿ ἐκείνου κηρυσσόμενον εὐαγγέλιον ἐν βιβλίῳ κατέθετο (Contra Haer. 3:1, 1), while from his enumeration of the many particulars, pluria evangelii (ib. 3:14, 3), recorded by Luke alone, it is evident that the Gospel he had was the same we now possess. Tatian's Diatessaron is an unimpeachable evidence of the existence of four Gospels, and therefore of that by Luke, at a somewhat earlier period in the same century. The writings of Tertullian against Marcion, cir. 207, abound with references to our Gospel, which, with Irenaeus, he asserts to have been written under the immediate guidance of Paul (Ach. Marc. 4:2; 4:5).
In Eusebius we find both the Gospel and the Acts specified as θεόπνευστα βιβλία, while Luke's knowledge of the sacred narrative is ascribed to information received from Paul, aided by his intercourse with the other apostles (τῆς τῶν ἄλλων ἀποστόλωνὁμιλίας ὠφελημένος, H.E. 3:4 and 24). Eusebius, indeed, tells us that in his day the erroneous view which interpreted εὐαγγέλιον (Romans 2:16; comp. 2 Corinthians 8:18) of a written document was generally received, and that, in the words "according to my Gospel," Paul was supposed to refer to the work of the evangelist. This is also mentioned by Jerome (De Vir. Illust. 7), and accepted by Origen (Eusebius, H.E. 6:25) — one among many proofs of the want of the critical faculty among the fathers of that age. Additional evidence of the early acceptance of Luke's Gospel may be derived from the guaestio vexata of its relation to the Gospel of Marcion. This is not the place to discuss this subject, which has led critics to the most opposite conclusions, for a full account of which the reader may be referred to De Wette, Einleit. in N.T. pages 119-137, as well as to the treatises of Ritschl, Baur, Hilgenfeld, Hahn, and Volckmar. It will be enough for our purpose to mention that the Gnostic teacher Marcion, in pursuit of his professed object of restoring the purity of the Gospel, which had been corrupted by Judaizing teachers, rejected all the books of the canon with the exception of ten epistles of Paul and a gospel, which he called simply a gospel of Christ. We have the express testimony of Irenaxus (Conr. lcaer. 1:27, 2; 3:12,12, etc.), Tertullian (Cont. Marc. 4:1, 2, 6), Origen (Colit. Cels. 2:27), and Epiphanius (Illusr. 42:11) that the basis of Marcion's Gospel was that of Iuke, abridged and altered by him to suit his peculiar tenets (for the alterations and omissions, the chief being its curtailment by the first two chapters, see De Wette, pages 123-132), though we cannot assert, as was done by his enemies among the orthodox, that all the variations are due to Marcion himself, many of them having no connection with his heretical views, and being, rather, various readings of great antiquity and high importance.
Of late years, however, the opposite view, which was first broached by Semler, Griesbach, and Eichhorn, has been vigorously maintained, among others, by Ritschl and Baur, who have endeavored to prove that the Gospel of Luke, as we have it, is interpolated, and that the portions Marcion is charged with having omitted were really unauthorized additions to the original document. See Bleek, Einl. in das N.T. § 52. Volckmar, in his exhaustive treatise Das Evansn. Marcions (Lips. 1852), has satisfactorily disposed of this theory, and has demonstrated that the Gospel of Luke, as we now have it, was the material on which Marcion worked, and, therefore, that before he began to teach, the date of which may be fixed about A.D. 139, it was already known to and accepted by the Church. Zeller and Ritschl have since abandoned their position (Theol. Jahrb. 1851, pages 337, 528), and Baur has greatly modified his (Isl-Markusevangel. 1851, pages 191). See also Hahn, Das Evangelium Marcions (Konigsb. 1823); Olshausen, Echtheit der vier Kanon. Ecanszyelien (Kinignsb. 1823); Ristschl, Das Evangeliunm Marcions (Tubing. 1846); Baur, Krit. Untersuchung ü ber d. Kan. Evangelien (Stubing. 1847); Hilgenfeld, Krit. Untersuchunzenz (Halle, 1850); bishop Thirlwall's Introduction to Schleierunacher on St. Luke; De Wette, Lehrbuch d. N.T. (Berl. 1848); Norton, Genuineness of the Gospels (Bost. 1844), 3, add. note C, page 49.
II. Sources. — The authorities from which Luke derived his Gospel are clearly indicated by him in the introduction (Luke 1:1-4). He does not claim to have been an eye-witness of our Lord's ministry, or to have any personal knowledge of the facts he records, but, as an honest compiler, to have gone to the best sources of information then accessible, and, having accurately traced the whole course of the apostolic tradition from the very first, in its every detail (παρηκολυθηκότι ἄνωθεν πᾶσιν ἀκριβῶς ), to have written an orderly narrative of the facts (πραγμάτων ) already fully believed (πεπληροφορημένων ) in the Christian Church, and which Theophilus had already learned, not from books, but from oral teaching κατηχήθης; comp. Acts 18:25; Galatians 6:5).
These sources were partly the "oral tradition" (παρέδοσαν ) of those "who from the beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of the Word," and partly the written records (to which Ewald, 6:40, on unexplained grounds, dogmatically assigns a non-Judaean origin) which even then "many" (πολλοί ) had attempted to draw up, of which, though the evangelist's words do not necessarily bear that meaning, we may well suppose that he would avail himself. Though we thankfully believe that, as well in the selection of his materials as in the employment of them, Luke was acting under the immediate influence of the Holy Spirit, it will be remarked that he lays claim to no such supernatural guidance, but simply to the care and accuracy of an honest, painstaking, and well-informed editor, not so consciously under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as to supersede the use of his own mental powers. His use of his authorities is not mechanical; though often incorporating, apparently with little alteration, large portions of the oral tradition, especially in the case of the words of our Lord, or those with whom he conversed, and adopting narratives already current (of which the first two chapters, with their harsh Hebraistic phraseology, immediately succeeding the comparatively pure Greek of the dedication, are an example), the free handling of his pen is everywhere to be recognized. The connecting links and the passages of transition evidence the hand of the author, which may again be recognized in the greater variety of his style, the more complex character of his sentences, and the care he bestows in smoothing away harshnesses, and imparting a more classical air to the synoptical portions. Notwithstanding the almost unanimous consent of the fathers as to the Pauline origin of Luke's Gospel (Tertull. adv. Marc. 4:5, "Lucre digestum Paulo adscribere solent;" Irenaeus, Cont. Haer. 3:1; Origen apud Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 6:25; Euseb. Hist. Ecclesiastes 3:4; Jerome, De Vir. Illust. 7), there is little or nothing in the gospel itself to favor such a hypothesis, and very much to contradict it. It is true that the account of the institution of the Lord's Supper, 1 Corinthians 11:23-25, displays an almost verbal identity with Luke 22:19-20; and, as Paul affirms that he received his "from the Lord," it is highly probable that the evangelist has in this instance incorporated a fragment of the direct teaching of his master. But this is a solitary example (Luke 24:34, comp. with 1 Corinthians 15:5, is too trifling to deserve mention), and it is impossible that the evangelist should have expressed himself as he has done in his preface if he had derived the facts of his narrative from one who was neither "an eye-witness" nor "a minister of the Word from the beginning." Nor again in the general tone and character of the gospel, when impartially viewed, is there much that can fairly be considered as bearing out the hypothesis of a Pauline origin.
Those who have sifted the gospel with this object have, it is true, gathered a number of passages which are supposed to have a Pauline tendency (see Hilgenfeld, Evang., and the ingenious essay prefixed to this gospel in Dr. Wordsworth's Greek Testament), e.g. Luke 4:25 sq.; Luke 9:52 sq.; Luke 10:30 sq.; Luke 17:16-18; and the parables of the prodigal son, the unprofitable servant, and the Pharisee and publican, which have been instanced by De Wette as bringing out the apostle's teaching on justification by faith alone; but, as dean Alford has ably shown (Greek Test. 1:44, note b), such a list may easily be collected from the other gospels, while the entire absence of any definite statement of the doctrinal truths which come forward with the greatest prominence in the apostle's writings, and, with very scanty exceptions, of his peculiar theological phraseology, is of itself sufficient to prove how undue has been the weight assigned to Pauline influence in the composition of the gospel. It is certainly true that, in the words of bishop Thirlwall (Schleiermacher On St. Luke, Introd. page 128), "Luke's Gospel contains numerous indications of that enlarged view of Christianity which gave to the gospel, as preached by Paul, a form and an extent very different from the original tradition of the Jews," but no more can be legitimately inferred than that Luke was Paul's disciple, instructed by the apostle of the Gentiles, and naturally sharing in his view of the gospel as a message of salvation for all nations; not that his gospel was in any sense derived from him, or rested on the apostolic basis of Paul. The question naturally arises whether the gospels of Matthew and Mark were among the διηγήσεις to which Luke refers.
The answers to this have been various and contradictory, the same data leading critics to the most opposite conclusions. Meyer (Comment. 2:217) is of opinion that Luke availed himself both of Matthew and Mark, though chiefly of the latter, as the "primitive gospel;" while De Wette, on the other hand (Einleit. sec. 94, page 185), considers Mark's Gospel the latest of the three, and based upon them as authorities. In the face of these and other discordant theories, of which a list may be seen (De Wette, Einleit. § 88, pages 162-168), it will be wise not to attempt a categorical decision. A calm review of the evidence will, however, lead most unbiassed readers to the conclusion that all three wrote in perfect independence of one another; each, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, giving a distinct view of the great complex whole, the reflex of the writer's own individual impressions, and that least of all is Luke to be considered as a mere redaucleur of the prior writings of his brother synoptists-a theory, the improbabilities and absurdities of which have been well pointed out by dean Alford in the Prolegonem to his Greek Testament, 1:2-6, 41.
III. Relation to Matthew and Mark. — Believing that no one of the three synoptical gospels is dependent on the others, and that the true explanation of this striking correspondence, not only in the broad outline of our Lord's life and work, and the incidents with which this outline is filled up, but also, to a considerable extent, in the parables and addresses recorded, and even in the language and forms of expression, is to be sought in the same apostolical oral tradition having formed the original basis of each, we have presented a very interesting point of inquiry in tracing the correspondence and divergence of the several narratives. In particular, a comparison of Luke with the other synoptists furnishes many striking and important results. With the general identity of the body of the history, we at once notice that there are two large portions peculiar to this evangelist, containing events or discourses recorded by him alone. These are the first two chapters, narrating the conception, birth, infancy, and early development of our Lord and his forerunner, and the long section (Luke 9:51 to Luke 18:14) devoted to our Lord's final journey to Jerusalem, and comprising some of his most beautiful parables. We have also other smaller sections supplying incidents passed over by Matthew and Mark — the questions of the people and the Baptist's replies (Luke 3:10-14); Simon and the woman that was a sinner (Luke 7:36-50); the raising of the widow's son (Luke 8:11-17); the story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10); our Lord's weeping over Jerusalem (Luke 19:39-44); the journey to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). In other parts he follows a tradition at once so much fuller and so widely at variance with that of the others as almost to suggest the idea that a different event is recorded (Luke 4:16-30; comp. Matthew 13:54-58; Mark 6:1-6; Luke 5:1-11; comp. Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20). Even where the language employed so closely corresponds as to remove all question of the identity of the events, fresh details are given, often of the greatest interest, e.g. προσευχομένου (Luke 3:21); σωματικῷ εἴδει (Luke 3:22); πληρ . πνεύμ . ἁγ . (Luke 4:1); ὅτι ἐμοὶ παραδέδοται, κ . τ . 50 · ( Luke 4:6); ἄρχι καιροῦ (Luke 4:13); δύναμις Κυρίου ην, κ . τ . 50 · (Luke 5:17); καταλιτών ἃπαντα and δοχὴ μεγ . (Luke 5:28-29); the comparison of old and new wine (Luke 5:39); ἐπλήσθ . ἀνοίας (Luke 6:11); δύναμιςπαῤ αὐτοῦ ἐξήρξ . (Luke 6:19); the cures in the presence of John's disciples (Luke 7:21), and the incidental remarks (Luke 7:29-30); many additional touches in the narratives of the Gadarene demoniac (Luke 8:26-39), and the transfiguration, especially the fact of his "praying" (Luke records at least six instances of our Lord having prayed omitted by the other evangelists), and the subject of the conversation with Moses and Elijah (Luke 9:28-36); notices sipplied (Luke 20:19; Luke 21:37-38), all tending to convince us that we are in the presence not of a mere copyist, but of a trustworthy and independent witness. Luke's account of the passion and resurrection is to a great extent his own, adding much of the deepest significance to the synoptical narrative, particularly the warning to Simon in the name of the twelve (Luke 22:31-32); the bloody sweat (Luke 22:44); the sending to Herod (Luke 23:7-12); the words to the women (Luke 23:27-31); the prayer for forgiveness (Luke 23:34); the penitent thief (Luke 23:39-43); the walk to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35); and the ascension (Luke 24:50-53).
It has been remarked that there is nothing in which Luke is more characteristically distinguished from both the evangelists than in his selection of our Lord's parables. There are no less than eleven quite peculiar to him:
(1.) The two debtors; (2.) Good Samaritan; (3.) Friend at midnight; (4.) Rich fool; (5.) Barren fig tree; (6.) Lost silver; (7.) Prodigal son; (8.) Unjust steward; (9.) Rich man and Lazarus; (10.) Unjust judge; (11.) Pharisee and publican; and two others, the Great Supper, and the Pounds, which, with many points of similarity, differ considerably from those found in Matthew.
Of our Lord's miracles, six omitted by Matthew and Mark are recorded by Luke:
(1.) Miraculous draught; (2.) The son of the widow of Nain; (3.) The woman with a spirit of infirmity; (4.) The man with a dropsy; (5.) The ten lepers; (6.) The healing of Malchus's ear.
Of the seven not related by him. the most remarkable omission is that of the Syrophoenician woman, for which à priori reasoning would have claimed a special place in the so-called Gospel of the Gentiles. We miss also the walking onl the sea, the feeding of the four thousand, the cure of the blind men, and of the deaf and dumb, the stater in the fish's mouth, and the cursing of the fig-tree.
The chief omissions in narrative are the whole section, Matthew 14:1 to Matthew 16:12; Mark 6:45 to Mark 8:26; Matthew 19:2-12; Matthew 20:1-16; Matthew 20:20-28; comp. Mark 10:35-45; the anointing, Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9.
With regard to coincidence of language, a most important remark was long since made by bishop Marsh (Michaelis, 5:317), that when Matthew and Luke agree verbally in the common synoptical sections, Mark always agrees with them also; and that there is not a single instance in these sections of verbal agreement between Matthew and Luke alone. A close scrutiny will discover that the verbal agreement between Luke and Marl is greater than that between Luke and Matthew, while the mutual dependence of the second and third evangelists on the same source is rendered still more probable by the observation of Reuss, that they agree both in excess and defect when compared with Matthew: that when Mark has elements wanting in Matthew, Luke usually has them also; while, when Matthew supplies more than Mark, Luke follows the latter; and that where Mark fails altogether, Luke's narrative often represents a different παράδοσις, from that of Matthew.
IV. Character and general Purpose. — We must admit, but with great caution, on account of the abuses to which the notion has led, that there are traces in the gospel of a leaning towards Gentile rather than Jewish converts. The genealogy of Jesus is traced to Adam, not from Abraham, so as to connect him with the whole human race, and not merely with the Jews. Luke describes the mission of the Seventy, which number has usually been supposed to be typical of all nations; as twelve, the number of the apostles, represents the Jews and their twelve tribes.
On the supposed "doctrinal tendency" of the gospel, however, much has been written which it is painful to dwell on, but easy to refute. Some have endeavored to see in this divine book an attempt to ingraft the teaching of Paul on the Jewish representations of the Messiah, and to elevate the doctrine of universal salvation, of which Paul was the most prominent preacher, over the Judaizing tendencies, and to put Paul higher than the twelve apostles! (See Zeller, Apost.; Baur, Kanon. Evang.; and Hilgenfeld.) How two impartial historical narratives, the Gospel and the Acts, could have been taken for two tracts written for polemical and personal ends, is to an English mind hardly conceivable. Even its supporters found that the inspired author had carried out his purpose so badly that they were forced to assume that a second author or editor had altered the work with a view to work up together Jewish and Pauline elements into harmony (Baur, Kanon. Evang. page 502). Of this editing and re-editing there is no trace whatever; and the invention of the second editor is a gross device to cover the failure of the first hypothesis. By such a machinery it will be possible to prove in after ages that Gibbon's History was originally a plea for Christianity, or any similar paradox.
The passages which are supposed to bear out this "Pauline tendency" are brought together by Hilgenfeld with great care (Evangelien, page 220); but Reuss has shown, by passages from Matthew which have the same "tendency" against the Jews, how brittle such an argument is, and has left no room for doubt that the two evangelists wrote facts and not theories, and dealt with those facts with pure historical candor (Reuss, Histoire de la Thioloyie, volume 3, b. 6, chapter 6). Writing to a Gentile convert, and through him addressing other Gentiles, Luke has adapted the form of his narrative to their needs, but not a trace of a subjective bias, not a vestige of a personal motive, has been suffered to sully the inspired page. Had the influence of Paul been the exclusive or principal source of this gospel, we should have found in it more resemblance to the Epistle to the Ephesians, which contains (so to speak) the Gospel of Paul.
The chief characteristic of Luke's Gospel which distinguishes it from those of the other synoptists, especially Matthew, is its universality. The message he delivers is not, as it has sometimes been mistakenly described, for the Gentiles as such, as distinguished from the Jews, but for men. As we read his record, we seem to see him anticipating the time when all nations should hear the Gospel message, when all distinctions of race or class should be done away, and all claims based on a fancied self-righteousness annulled, and the glad tidings should be heard and received by all who were united in the bonds of a common humanity, and felt their need of a common Savior, "the light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of his people Israel." It is this character which has given it a right to the title of the Pauline Gospel, and enables us to understand why Marcion selected it as the only true exponent of Christ's Gospel. This universalism, however, is rather interwoven with the gospel than to be specified in definite instances; and yet we cannot but feel how completely it is in accordance with it that Luke records the enrollment of the Savior of the world as a citizen of the world-embracing Roman empire-that he traces his genealogy back to the head of the human race-that his first recorded sermon (Luke 4:16-27) gives proof of God's wide-reaching mercy, as displayed in the widow of Sarepta and Naaman — that in the mission of the twelve, the limitation to the "cities of Israel" should have no place, while he alone records the mission of the seventy (a number symbolical of the Gentile world) — that in the sermon on the mount all references to the law should be omitted, while all claims to superior holiness or national prerogative are cut away by his gracious dealings with, and kindly mention of, the despised Samaritans (9:52 sq.; 10:30 sq.; 17:11 sq.).
As with the race in general, so with its individual members. Luke delights to bear witness that none are shut out from God's mercy — nay, that the outcast and the lost are the special objects of his care and search. As proofs of this, we may refer to the narratives of the woman that was a sinner, the Samaritan leper, Zacchaeus, and the penitent thief; and the parables of the lost sheep and lost silver, the Pharisee and publican, the rich man and Lazarus, and, above all, to that "which has probably exercised most influence on the mind of Christendom in all periods" (Maurice, Unity of the Gospel, page 274), the prodigal son.
Most naturally also in Luke we find the most frequent allusions to that which has been one of the most striking distinctions between the old and modern world the position of woman as a fellow-heir of the kingdom of heaven, sharing in the same responsibilities and hopes, and that woman comes forward most prominently (the Syrophcenician, as already noticed, is a single marked exception) as the object of our Lord's sympathy and love. Commencing with the Virgin Mary as a type of the purity and lowly obedience which is the true glory of womanhood, we meet in succession with Anna the prophetess, the pattern of holy widowhood (comp. 1 Timothy 5:5); the woman that was a sinner; the widow of Nain; the ministering women (Luke 8:2-3) Mary and Martha; the "daughter of Abraham" (Luke 13:11); and close the list with the words of exquisite tenderness and sympathy to the "daughters of Jerusalem" (Luke 23:28).
This universal character is one, the roots of which lie deep in Luke's conception of the nature and work of Christ. With him, more than in the other gospels, Jesus is "the second man, the Lord from heaven" (Lange); and if in his pages we see more of his divine nature, and have in the more detailed reports of his conception and ascension clearer proofs that he was indeed the Son of the Highest, it is here too, in " the life-giving sympathy and intercourse with the inner man, in the human fellowship grounded on not denying the divine condescension and compassion" (Maurice, u.s.), that we recognize the perfect ideal man.
Luke, it has been truly remarked, is the gospel of contrasts. Starting with the contrast between the doubt of Zacharias and the trustful obedience of Mary, we find in almost every page proofs of the twofold power of Christ's word and work foretold by Simeon (2:34). To select a few of the more striking examples: He alone presents to our view Simon and the sinful woman, Martha and Mary, the thankful and thankless lepers, the tears and hosannas on the brow of Olivet; he alone adds the "woes" to the "blessings" in the sermon on the mount, and carries on in the parables of the rich man and Lazarus, the Pharisee and publican, and the good Samaritan, that series of strong contrasts which finds so appropriate a close in the penitent and blaspheming malefactors. Once more, Luke is the hymn-writer of the New Testament. "Taught by thee, the Church prolongs her hymns of high thanksgiving still" (Keble, Christian Year). But for his record the Magnificat, Benedictus, and Nunc Dimittis would have been lost to us; and it is he who has preserved to us the Ave Maria, identified with the religious life of so large a part of Christendom, and the Gloria in Excelsis, which forms the culminating point of its most solemn ritual.
To turn from the internal to the external characteristics of Luke's Gospel, these we shall find no less marked and distinct. His narrative is, as he promised it should be, an orderly one (καθεξῆς, 1:3); but the order is one rather of subject than of time. As to the other synoptists, though maintaining the principle of chronological succession in the main outline of his narrative, "he is ever ready to sacrifice mere chronology to that order of events which was the fittest to develop his purpose according to the object proposed by the inspiring Spirit, grouping his incidents according to another and deeper order than that of mere time" (Maurice, u.s.). It is true that he furnishes us with the three most precise dates in the whole Gospel narrative (Luke 2:2; Luke 3:1; Luke 3:23 — each one, be it remarked, the subject of vehement controversy), but, in spite of the attempts made by Wieseler and others to force a strict chronological character upon his gospel, an unprejudiced perusal will convince us that his narrative is loose and fragmentary, especially in the section Luke 9:49 to Luke 18:14, and his notes of time vague and destitute of precision, even where the other synoptists are more definite (Luke 5:12; comp. Matthew 8:1; Luke 8:4; comp. Matthew 13:1; Luke 8:22; comp. Mark 4:35, etc.).
"The accuracy with which Luke has drawn up his Gospel appears in many instances. Thus, he is particular in telling us the dates of his more important events. The birth of Christ is referred to the reign of Augustus, and the government of Syria by Cyrenius (2:1-3). The preaching of John the Baptist is pointed out as to its time with extreme circumstantiality (Luke 3:1-2). But it is in lesser matters that accuracy is chiefly shown. Thus the mountain storm on the Lake of Gennesaret is marked by him with a minute accuracy which is not seen in Mark or Matthew (comp. Luke 8:23 with parallel Gospels, and with Josephus, War, 3:10; Irby and Mangles, Travels, chapter 6). In Luke 21:1, we read of a gesture on Christ's part which marks a wonderful accuracy on the part of Luke. We read there that Christ "looked up," and saw the rich casting their gifts into the treasury. From Mark 12:41 we learn the reason of Luke's expression, which he does not give himself, for there we read that Christ, after warning his disciples against the scribes, "sat down," and would therefore have to look up in order to see what was going on. This minute accuracy marks Luke's description of our Lord's coming to Jerusalem across the Mount of Olives (Luke 19:37-41). Travellers who are very accurate in topographical description speak of two distinct sights of Jerusalem on this route, an inequality of ground hiding it for a time after one has first caught sight of it (Clerical Journal, August 22, 1856, page 397). Luke distinctly refers to this nice topographical point; in Luke 19:37 he marks the first sight of Jerusalem, and in Luke 19:41 he marks the second sight of the city, now much nearer than before. The correctness of Luke's date in the matter of the government of Syria by Cyrenius has indeed been often questioned, but on insufficient grounds. The just way of dealing with very ancient documents which have given general proofs of trustworthiness, but which, in particular instances, make statements that do not appear to us to be correct, is to attribute this apparent want of correctness to our ignorance rather than to that of the writer. In the particular case before us recent research has shown that Cyrenius was in all probability twice governor of Syria, thus establishing, instead of overthrowing, the correctness of Luke" (Fairbairn). Compare Huschke, Ueber den zur Zeit der Geburt Christi gehaltenen Census (Breslau, 1840); Wieseler, Chronologische Synopse der vier Evanzgelien (Hamburg, 1843); Tholuck, Glaubwü rdigkeit der evanzgelischen Geschichte. (See CYRENIUS).
In his narrative we miss the graphic power of Mark, though in this he is superior to Matthew, e.g. chapter 7:1-10; comp. Matthew 8:5-13 : chapter 8:41-56; comp. Matthew 9:18-26. His object is rather to record the facts of our Lord's life than his discourses, while, as Olshausen remarks (1:19, Clark's ed.), "He has the peculiar power of exhibiting with great clearness and truth our Lord's conversations, with all the incidents that gave rise to them-the remarks of the bystanders, and their resuits."
We may also notice here the passing reflections, or, as bishop Ellicott terms them (Hist. Lect. page 28), "psychological comments," called up by the events or actors which appear in his Gospel, interpolated by him as obiter dicta in the body of the narrative. We may instance Luke 2:50-51; Luke 3:15; Luke 6:11; Luke 7:29-30; Luke 7:39; Luke 16:14; Luke 20:20; Luke 22:3; Luke 23:12. V. Style and Language. — Luke's style is more finished than that of Matthew or Mark. There is more of composition in his sentences. His writing displays greater variety, and the structure is more complex. His diction is substantially the same, but purer, and, except in the first two chapters, less Hebraized, as remarked by Jerome (Comment. in AEs.; compare ad Damas. Ep. 20). It deserves special notice how, in the midst of close verbal similarity, especially in the report of the words of our Lord and others, slight alterations are made by him either by the substitution of another word or phrase (e.g. Luke 20:6; comp. Matthew 21:26; Mark 11:32 : Luke 7:25; Mark 11:8 : Luke 9:14; Mark 6:39-40 : Luke 20:28-29; Mark 12:20; Mark 12:22 : Luke 8:25; Mark 8:27), the supply (Luke 20:45; Mark 12:38 : Luke 7:8; Matthew 8:9), or the omission of a word (Luke 9:25; Matthew 16:26; Mark 8:36), by which harsh constructions are removed, and a more classical air given to the whole composition.
The Hebraistic character is more perceptible in the hymns and speeches incorporated by him than in the narrative itself. The following are some of the chief Hebraisms that have been noticed:
(1.) the very frequent use of ἐγένετο in a new subject, especially ἐγένετο έν τῷ, with the accusative and infinitive, corresponding to וִיְהַי ב, twenty-three times, not once in Matt., only twice in Mark;
(2.) the same idiom, without ἐγένετο, e.g. Luke 9:34; Luke 9:36; Luke 10:35; Luke 11:37;
(3.) ἐγένετο ὡς, or ὡς alone of time, the Hebrew כּ, e.g. Luke 2:15; Luke 5:4, only once each in Matthew and Mark;
(4.) Υψιστος, used for God= עֶלְיוֹן, five times, once in Mark;
(5.) olscog, for family בֵּית;
(6.) ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν = מֵעִתָּה, four times, not once in the other gospels;
(7.) ἀδικία in the genitive as an epithet, e.g. οἰκονόμον τῆς ἀδικίας, κριτὴς τῆς ἀδικίας;
(8.) προσέθετο πέμψαι, Luke 20:11-12;
(9.) καρδία = לֵב . On the other hand, we find certain classical words and phrases peculiar to Luke taking the place of others less familiar to his Gentile readers, e.g. ἐπιστάτης for ῥαββί, six times; νομικοί for γραμματεῖας, six times; ναί, ἀληθῶς, or ἐπ ἀληθείας for ἀμήν, which only occurs seven times to thirty in Matthew, and fourteen in Mark; ἃπτειν λύχνον for καίειν λ ., four times; λίμνη of the Lake of Gennesareth for θάλασσα, five times; παραλελυμένος for παραλυτικός; κλίνιδιον for κράββατος; φόρος for κῆνσος .
The style of Luke has many peculiarities both in construction and in diction; indeed, it has been calculated that the number of words used only by him exceeds the aggregate of the other three gospels. Full particulars of these are given by Credner (Einleit.) (copied by Davidson, Introd. to the N.T.) and Reuss (Geschichte d. II. Schfri-.). The following are some of the most noteworthy. Of peculiar constructions we may remark,
(1.) the infinitive with the genitive of the article (Winer, Gr. Gr. 1:340), to indicate design or result, e.g. Luke 2:27; Luke 5:7; Luke 21:22; Luke 24:29; Luke 1:9; Luke 1:57; Luke 2:21.
(2.) The substantive verb with the participle instead of the finite verb. Luke 4:31; Luke 5:10; Luke 6:12; Luke 7:8; Luke 23:12 (Winer, § 6567). (3.) The neuter participle with the article for a substantive, Luke 4:16; Luke 8:34; Luke 22:22; Luke 24:14.
(4.) τό, to substantivise a sentence or a clause, especially in indirect questions, Luke 1:63; Luke 7:11; Luke 9:46, etc.
(5.) εἰπεῖνπρός, sixty-seven times; λέγειν πρός, ten times; λαλεῖν πρός, four times, the first being used once by Matthew, and the others not at all by him or Mark.
(6.) Participles are copiously used to give vividness to the narrative, ἀναστάς, seventeen times; στραφείς, seven times; πεσών, etc.
(7.) ἀνήρ used with a substantive, e.g. ἁμαρτωλός, Luke 5:8; Luke 19:7; and προφήτης, Luke 24:19.
Of the words peculiar to, or occurring much more frequently in Luke, some of the most remarkable are, the use of Κύριος in the narrative as a synonym for Ι᾿ησοῦη, which occurs fourteen times (e.g. Luke 7:13; Luke 10:1; Luke 13:15, etc.), and nowhere else in the synoptical gospels save in the addition to Mark 16:19-20; σωτήρ σωτηρία, σωτήριον, not found in the other gospels, except the first two once each in John; χάρις, eight times in the Gospel, sixteen in the Acts and only thrice in John, χαρίζομαι, χαριτόω; εὐαγγελίζομαι, very frequent, while εὐαγγέλιον does not occur at all; ὑποστρέφω, twenty-one times in the Gospel, ten in the Acts, and only once in Mark; ἐφιστάναι, not used in the other three gospels; διέρχεσθαι . thirty-two times in Luke's Gospel and the Acts, and only twice each in Matthew, Mark, and John; παραχρῆμα, frequent in Luke, and only twice elsewhere, in Matthew; ὑπάρχω, seven times in Gospel, twenty-six in Acts, but nowhere in the other gospels, and τὰ ὑπάρχοντα, eight times in Gospel to three in Matthew alone; ἃπας, twenty times in Gospel, sixteen in Acts, to thrice in Matthew and four times in Mark; ῾Ιερουσαλήμ, instead of the ῾Ιεροσόλυμα of the other gospels; ἐνώπιον, twenty-two times in Gospela fourteen times in Acts, once besides in John; σύν, twenty-four times in Gospel, fifty-one in Acts, and only ten times in the other gospels; the particle το, which hardly appears in the other gospels, is very frequent in Luke's writings. The words ἀτενίζω, ἄτοπος, βουλή, βρεφος, δέομαι, δέησις, δοχή, δράχμη, θάμβος, θεμέλιον, ἴασις, καθότι, καθόλου, καθεξῆς, κακοῦβος, θκόραξ, λεῖος, λυτρόω, λύτρωσις, οἰκόνομος - ία - έω, παιδωύω, παύω, πλέω, πλῆθος, πλήθω, πλήν, πράσσω, σιγάω, σκιρτάω, τυρβάζομαι, χήρα, é σει, καθώς, are almost or quite peculiar to him; he is very partial to καί αὐτός and καὶ αὐτοί, εί, δέ, μή γε, and abounds in verbs compounded with prepositions, where the other evangelists use the simple verb.
Some omissions are to be noted: ἀληθής does not occur once, (ἀληθινός only once, εὐαγγελιον, διάκονος, δαιμονιζόμενος, not once; δαμονισθείς only once; and ὤστε, which is found fifteen times in Matthew, and thirteen in Mlark, occurs only thrice in the whole gospel.
A few Latin words are used by Luke — ἀσσάριον, Luke 12:6; δηνάριος, Luke 7:41; λεγέωνς, Luke 8:30; μόδιον, Luke 11:33; σουδάριον, Luke 19:20; Acts 19:12, but no Hebrew or Syriac forms, except σίκερα, Luke 1:15.
On comparing the Gospel with the Acts, it is found that the style of the latter is more pure and free from Hebrew idioms, and the style of the later portion of the Acts is more pure than that of the former. Where Luke used the materials he derived from others, oral or written, or both, his style reflects the Hebrew idioms of them; but when he comes to scenes of which he was an eye-witness, and describes entirely in his own words, these disappear.
VI. Quotations from the O.T. — It is a striking confirmation of the view propounded above of the character of Luke's Gospel, and the object of its composition, that the references to the O.T., the authority of which with any except the Jews would be but small, are so few — only twenty-four in the one against sixty-five in the other — when compared with their abundance in Matthew. Only eight out of the whole number are peculiar to our evangelist (marked with an asterisk in the annexed list), which occur in the portions where he appears to have followed more or less completely a παράδοσις of his own; th
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Luke, Gospel According to,'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/l/luke-gospel-according-to.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.