As when I started Mark, I realized today that I know very little about the Gospel According to Luke. Though I’ve always considered Luke my favorite gospel (mostly because I love reading about Mary so much), I know very little about why it was written, by whom, when, and other very relevant questions. So I did some very basic internet research. Let me repeat, it was VERY surface level research. In no way should this blog post be considered a scholarly work.
The first thing I learned was that Luke was, in all likelihood, NOT Paul’s friend “Luke the Evangelist”, as I had learned once. It is a long-standing tradition to call him the author of the gospel, but more recent research disagrees. The author of Luke WAS, however, almost certainly the same person who wrote Acts, so at least something I thought I knew about the gospel was correct! Luke and Acts are often paired and read together, working together to create the “Salvation History” that is central to Luke’s gospel.
Salvation History, as best as I can understand, is the idea that our salvation spans across all human history, that everything before was pointing towards it, and everything after is a result of it. Luke argues that Jesus is fulfilling the Old Testament scriptures, so like with Matthew we should see plenty of quotes from the Torah.
Luke focuses more on Jesus’s teachings, compared to Mark, which focused mainly on his deeds. For this reason we see a lot more of what Jesus has to say, including, I think, more parables. While Luke certainly referenced Mark, it appears he also had access to other documents that the other gospel writers did not, giving us a few unique stories and teachings. But it will, by and large, follow the same basic flow as Matthew and Mark did.
Within Jesus’s teachings, Luke also shifted focus away from the eventual judgement of all men, and instead focused on living our day to day lives. Jesus’s teachings and deeds should provide a perfect example of how to live our lives until the day to join God in Heaven comes. Luke was a much more practical gospel, intended to help us in our journey to become more Christ-like, not to simply be an argument in favor of Christianity, although Luke also wants to present Christianity as a viable religion for Rome.
So, in very brief summary:
-Yes, the same author of Acts
-Acts and Luke together create a Salvation History for all people
-Focus on Jesus’s teachings and every day life
-Secondary focus on Jesus’s fulfillment of the Old Testament, and the Church’s place in Rom.