The gospel account of Luke begins with his purpose of writing. Notice the words of Luke:
“Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed” (Lk. 1:1-4).
Several important and interesting points are brought up in this statement. First, it should be noted that this prologue is a typical prologue of Greco-Roman literary works. Second, Luke grounds the story of Jesus in the testimonies of eyewitnesses and not just random hearsay. Third, his account was the result of careful consideration and investigation. Fourth, he expected the beneficiary of his letter, Theophilus, to be reassured of the story of Jesus based upon logic and reason.
Some make the accusation that Luke didn’t actually write this gospel account since it is never explicitly stated that he is the author within this gospel account. However, there is an abundance of evidence as to why we should accept that Luke is the author.
First, it was not out of the ordinary for an author’s name to be absent within the actual writing itself. If the author’s name was not directly in the text, it was attached and included in the scroll. The earliest manuscript we have includes “The Gospel According to Luke” as a postscript (The Apologetics Study Bible, p. 1507).
Second, other early writings and the early church accepted Luke as being the author. This can be recorded as far back to around A.D. 135 (ibid, p. 1507).
Third, there is no competing tradition or authorship ever assigned to this gospel. Therefore, not only does all of the evidence point towards the fact that Luke was indeed the author, but there is not even an alternative objective.
Luke-Who Was He?
There is no reason to doubt that Luke was Paul’s traveling companion (Acts 16:10-16; 20:6-28:22; Col. 4:14; Philemon 24; 2 Tim. 4:11). Luke is considered by many today to have been a Gentile, although some argue that he was a Hellenistic Jew.
Luke wrote as an historian. He was a doctor and wrote like one. His account specifically emphasizes Jesus as Savior and Jesus’ work on the cross. We see many more parables in Luke’s account than we do in any other account. Luke’s account also emphasizes that Jesus brought salvation to the Jew and the Gentile.
Luke- His Gospel Account.
Since Luke was never said to be a disciple of Jesus, then why did he write about Jesus and how do we know that what he wrote is accurate? The answer is quite simple. Just like today, many scholars write biographies. Luke did the same thing. In fact, he stated how he received his information. He received his information from eyewitnesses and ministers of the word. He gathered the evidence, carefully considered it and historically documented the life of Jesus.
Luke- His Timeline.
One point often cited among scholars is the timeline of Luke. They point to where Luke said that he wrote an orderly account of Jesus’ life (Lk. 1:3), and then they show chronological discrepancies in the timeline of Luke’s account when comparing it to the other accounts. However, this point can be easily answered and dismissed.
The word used for orderly (kathexas) in Luke 1:3 doesn’t necessitate a precise chronological order. While the word means, “orderly,” it doesn’t tell us what kind of order. Similar to any other biography, Luke’s biography begins with detailed circumstances of Jesus’ birth and frequently ties notable events to secular history and personages.
In conclusion, the first four verses of Luke tell us a lot about the method used in telling the story of Jesus. This wasn’t some fantasized, made-up story. The story of Jesus is real. It is rooted in facts, logic and reason. The story is grounded in eye witnesses. Most importantly, this story will change your life if it hasn’t already.
– Kevin Pendergrass