Introduction to Luke
Place Written: Caesarea
Writing Completed: c. 56-58 C.E.
Time Covered: 3 B.C.E.–33 C.E.
Luke’s account appears to have been written after Matthew wrote his account but before Mark wrote his Gospel. Luke likely wrote his Gospel after he returned from Philippi with Paul at the end of Paul’s third missionary journey. Luke may have compiled his account while Paul was spending two years in prison at Caesarea before being taken to Rome for his appeal to Caesar.
Matthew evidently wrote his Gospel especially for the Jews, and it seems that Mark wrote his account primarily for non-Jewish readers, especially the Romans. Luke, however, wrote his Gospel for all people. Some 60 percent of Luke’s Gospel is unique. He relates at least six specific miracles not recorded by Matthew, Mark, and John. (Lu 5:1-6; 7:11-15; 13:11-13; 14:1-4; 17:12-14; 22:50, 51) And he includes many illustrations that are not mentioned in the other Gospel accounts; the ones recorded at Lu 10:30-35; 15:11-32; and 16:19-31 are just a few examples.
Luke, a physician, provides extra details about the physical condition of some of those suffering from an illness. (Lu 4:38; 5:12; Col 4:14) Suggesting the level of Luke’s education, his vocabulary is larger than that of the other three Gospel writers combined.
Although Luke is nowhere named in the account, the Gospel is attributed to him in the Muratorian Fragment (c. 170 C.E.). Also, Luke was accepted as the author by such second-century writers as Clement of Alexandria and Irenaeus.
Because Luke was not one of the Twelve and probably not even a believer until after Jesus’ death, he was not an eyewitness to all the events he recorded in his Gospel. However, he accompanied Paul to Jerusalem at the end of the apostle’s third missionary journey. (Ac 21:15-17) So Luke would have been in a good position to trace accurately the things pertaining to Jesus Christ in the very land where the Son of God had carried out his activity. For example, Luke had the opportunity personally to interview many who saw the events of Jesus’ life, such eyewitnesses as the surviving disciples and possibly Jesus’ mother, Mary. In addition, Luke could have referred to Matthew’s Gospel.