The Gospel of Luke
Mark Goodacre: Dating the Crucial Sources in Early Christianity (2008 PDF)
INTRODUCTION TO THE GOSPEL OF LUKE
From Student’s New Testament Handbook By Marvin Richardson Vincent
DATING THE BOOK OF LUKE
Dr. Kenny Barfield (1995)
“Wenham’s latest study, for instance, concludes that all three synoptic Gospels circulated during the fifth decade of the Christian era. He even places both Matthew and Mark during the early-to-mid 40’s. An earlier treatise by the respected Dr. John A.T. Robinson reached similar conclusions. Both works show the flimsy, deteriorating foundations on which critical scholars constructed their late-date hypotheses. If even one of the three synoptic Gospels circulated before 65 A.D., one cannot deny that it contained some amazingly accurate descriptions of the period from 66-70A.D.” (The Prophet Motive; Gospel Advocate Company, 1995; p. 247)
Neale Pryor (1987)
“If Acts is dated around A.D.62, it would be logical to date Luke around A.D.60.” (“Luke” in New Testament Survey: An Introduction and Survey of the New Testament by the Faculty of Harding; p. 143)
Dr. Walter L. Liefeld (1984)
“All things considered, then, it seems preferable to date the composition of Luke’s two works somewhere in the decade of A.D.60-70.” (Luke, the Expositor’s Bible Commentary; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans; p. 8:809)
Pamela Binnings Ewen (1999)
“The silence of the Gospels with respect to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple is strong circumstantial evidence that they were written before, not after, A.D.70.” (Faith on Trial; Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman; 1999; p.39)
“There are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” (Matt. 16:28; cf. Mk. 9:1; Lk. 9:27)
“From now on, you [Caiaphas, the chief priests, the scribes, the elders, the whole Sanhedrin] shall be seeing the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Matt. 26:64; Mk. 14:62; Lk. 22:69)
“Who warned you to flee from the wrath about to come?” (Lk. 3:7)
“The axe is already laid at the root of the trees. ” (Lk. 3:9)
“His winnowing fork is in His hand….” (Lk. 3:17)
“The kingdom of God has come near to you.” (Lk. 10:9)
“The kingdom of God has come near.” (Lk. 10:11)
“What, therefore, will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy these vine-growers and will give the vineyard to others.” …The scribes and the chief priests …understood that He spoke this parable against them.” (Lk. 20:15-16,19)
“These are days of vengeance, in order that all things which are written may be fulfilled.” (Lk. 21:22)
“This generation will not pass away until all things take place.” (Lk. 21:32)
“Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’” (Lk. 23:28-30; Compare Rev. 6:14-17)
“We were hoping that He was the One who is about to redeem Israel.” (Lk. 24:21)
Luke the Evangelist (Greek Λουκάς Loukas) is said by tradition to be the author of both the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, the third and fifth books of the New Testament. He is patron saint of painters, physicians and healers, and his feast day is October 18.
His earliest notice is in Paul’s Epistle to Philemon, verse 24. He is also mentioned in Colossians 4:14 and 2 Timothy 4:11, two works commonly ascribed to Paul. Our next earliest account of Luke is in the Anti-Marcionite Prologue to the Gospel of Luke, a document once thought to date to the 2nd century AD, but more recently has been dated to the later 4th century. However Helmut Koester claims the following part – the only part preserved in the original Greek – may have been composed in the late 2nd century:
Luke is a Syrian of Antioch, a Syrian by race, a physician by profession. He had become a disciple of the apostles and later followed Paul until his [Paul’s] martyrdom. Having served the Lord continuously, unmarried and without children, filled with the Holy Spirit he died at the age of 84 years. (p.335)
Some manuscripts add that Luke died “in Thebes, the capital of Boeotia”. All of these facts support the conclusion that Luke was associated with Paul.
Later tradition elaborates on these few facts. Epiphanius states that Luke was one of the Seventy (Panarion 51.11), and John Chrysostom indicates at one point that the “brother” Paul mentions in 2 Corinthians 8:18 is either Luke or Barnabas. J. Wenham asserts that Luke was “one of the Seventy, the Emmaus disciple, Lucius of Cyrene and Paul’s kinsman.” Not all scholars are as confident of all of these attributes as Wenham is.
Another Christian tradition states that he was the first iconographer, and painted pictures of the Virgin Mary (The Black Madonna of Częstochowa) and of Peter and Paul. Thus late medieval guilds of St Luke in the cities of Flanders, or the Accademia di San Luca (“Academy of St Luke”) in Rome, imitated in many other European cities during the 16th century, gathered together and protected painters. There is no scientific evidence to support the tradition that Luke painted icons of Mary and Jesus, though it was widely believed in earlier centuries, particularly in Eastern Orthodoxy.
Luke and the New Testament Books
Contemporary scholarship is far more skeptical about Luke’s authorship of the Gospel attributed to him, and Acts. Neither work contains the name of its author, although several passages written in the first person plural (known as the We Sections), have traditionally been understood as the eye witness accounts of Luke. Both are also dedicated to one Theophilus, and Acts is clearly meant to be read as a sequel to the Gospel account; no scholar seriously doubts that the same person wrote both works.
On the other hand, the earliest manuscript of the Gospel (Papyrus Bodmer XIV = P75), dated circa AD 200, ascribes this work to Luke. Scholars defending Luke’s authorship point out that there is no reason for these works to be attributed to such a minor figure if he did not write them, nor is there a tradition attributing this work to another author.
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- 31 Oct 2003
English Standard Version reads: “for these be the days of vengence, to fulfill all that is written.” Thank you for the great website and study helps. RW San Diego, CA
- 30 Jan 2005
trying to solve the “number of the beast” by adding up the letters in someone’s name may not be the correct way. “The number of his name” may have a totally different meaning. Read www.biblebits.com/666.htm C.P.M. North Carolina
Date: 12 Dec 2005
Luke 21:22 is the completion of the prophetic reading which Jesus began in Luke 4:18
v18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
v19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
v20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
v21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
Jesus stopped in the middle of Isaiah’s prophecy, and didn’t mention the “Day of the vengeance of our God.” That was a logical place to stop reading. It would not have been appropriate to mention God’s judgments for rejecting the offer of the kingdom before the nation had actually done the deed.
But by Luke chapter 21, the rejection was complete, and it was time to read the rest of Isaiah’s prophecy, pronouncing judgment on the wicked unbelievers of Israel.
Futurists somehow miss the connection between Luke 4 and Luke 21, believing that the last part of Isaiah’s prophecy will be completed in some future “tribulation.” I beieve that is a mistake. The days of God’s vengeance came in AD70.
Date: 22 Aug 2010
I can’t buy the theory that the lack of mention of the Fall of Jerusalem means that Luke-Acts was necessarily written before then. When did the Gospel of Luke stop? Doesn’t that logic mean that Luke’s Gospel must have been written ca 33 CE? A quick online search for US History textbooks showa the book “From Colonies to Country: 1735-1791 A History of US Book 3”. It was written in 2007, not 1791!
Personally, I believe the theory that Luke was the first-written Gospel, using the source, among many (see his prologue), that Mark used also.