The book of Luke is largely regarded as one of the synoptic gospels that provide a different account of the ministry of Jesus Christ. The author of the book not only provides a different account of the events and life of Jesus Christ but also adopted a biblical approach to his writing instead of a classical style. This book has attracted considerable attention among biblical scholars because of its different approach and account of the life of Jesus. The considerable attention is also attributed to the fact that approximately 40% of the content of this book is not found in the other synoptic gospels. Some of the differences in this book as compared to the other synoptic gospels include the stories of the life and times of Jesus, the Good Samaritan, and the Prodigal Son. The differences in the book of Luke in comparison with other synoptic gospels are an indication of Luke's major themes and concerns. Moreover, these differences also illustrate what is commonly regarded as Lukan ideas.
Luke's Major Themes and Concerns
As previously mentioned, the book of Luke is one of the synoptic gospels that provide an account of Jesus in relation to his ministry. Even though the four gospels have many differences between them since they are accounts of the same individual presented by four different people, Luke differs from the rest because of its themes and concerns. From a historical perspective, the book of Luke is seemingly written for a wide audience of Christian readers several years after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman. One of the major things that make this book different from the rest is the artistic style used in writing, which contributes to the uniqueness of the gospel. Luke adopted a more biblical writing style than classical one, which creates assumptions that the author was probably suitable for the brotherhood of Hellenistic historians.[footnoteRef:2] [2: Raymond E. Brown, An Introduction to the New Testament, (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press) 1998: 322]
Apart from the writing style, the book of Luke contains a significant portion of material that does not appear anywhere else in the New Testament. Some of these distinctive materials that contribute to the uniqueness of the book include attention to women, riches and poverty, Samaritans, and Jerusalem city. It seems that Luke edited the sources of his information to seemingly enhance the literary or linguistic style or to improve perceptions regarding Jesus, his disciples, and family members. The different writing style provides the basis for a unique way through which the author presents his themes and concerns differently from the other synoptic gospels. Moreover, the author embraced a structural arrangement of his Gospel to start with a remarkable and emotional overture coupled with the Jerusalem journey as the focal point of the teaching and ministry of Jesus. Some of the major themes and concerns of the book of Luke include
Worship and Prayer
One of the major themes in Luke's Gospel is worship and prayer, which has obtained special attention. The special attention on worship and prayer is characterized by a strong emphasis on joyful praise, true prayer, and the significance of Holy Spirit empowerment. Through focusing on worship and prayer, Luke is basically concerned with humility and persistence in prayer. Luke shows concern regarding persistence and humility in prayer in the parable regarding the Friend at Midnight and the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in Luke 11:5-8 and Luke 18:9-14 respectively. Luke considers prayer as a spiritual discipline linked to openness to God's Spirit who is mentioned more often unlike in Matthew or Mark. People who witness the power of God in worship and prayer respond with joyful praise.[footnoteRef:3] [3: Luke 10:21; 24:52-53 ESV]
The second main theme in the book of Luke is salvation for every individual given Jesus' concern for all individuals despite their social standing as presented in all the gospels. While this theme is also included in the other synoptic gospels, Luke has a specific emphasis about it. The book of Luke...
[4: Mark Allan Powell, Introducing the New Testament -- A Historical, Literary, and Theological Survey, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Publishing Group) 2009:161]
Poverty and Wealth
The third significant theme in the book of Luke is poverty and wealth, which is less presented in the other synoptic gospels. Actually, Luke refers to this theme several times more than any other synoptic gospels. With regards to poverty and wealth, Luke displays a special concern and attention to people who are disadvantaged and considered as outcasts in the society. During this process, the role of Jesus is described in relation to concepts and terms that would be appealing to readers who are well acquainted with various pagan and Jewish models. The parable of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16:19-31 is the core passage that demonstrates this theme of poverty and wealth. Luke seems harsh to the wealthy and powerful individuals as compared to his approach towards the disciples and the Pharisees.
As the synoptic gospels attempt to examine who Jesus is, Luke presents a different approach to the issue by including God's plan as one of the themes in the book. He examines the issue of who Jesus is from a theological and historical perspective, which is underpinned in God's plan for the world. As a result, Luke states that Jesus is the core and fulfillment of God's plan, which is to redeem all humanity. God's plan is a major theme in this book as compared others since Luke seemingly describes the global plan of God across human history in relation to the crucial role Jesus plays in this process.
In addition to the themes raised in this book, Luke has some concerns that played a crucial role in making it the longest synoptic gospel. First, Luke seemingly argues that the good news of God's mercy emphasizes on radical inclusiveness of all people, especially the Gentiles. This concern is demonstrated by the fact that the book was primarily written for a Gentile audience who had probably excluded themselves from being part of God's redemptive plan and purpose for mankind. When writing to this Gentile world, Luke demonstrates his considerable knowledge of the Jewish religion and Hebrew Scriptures. Secondly, disadvantaged people and those regarded as outcasts were major concerns for Luke. Despite having a specific theme on poverty and wealth, Luke is seemingly concerned with the poor as part of his explanation of God's mercy and inclusiveness embedded in God's plan for humanity. These people include Samaritans, women, the poor, and tax collectors. Third, unlike other synoptic gospels, the book of Luke seemingly has a strange interest in or concern about food.[footnoteRef:5] This is exemplified in passages regarding food for the hungry, table etiquette, Jesus presence in more than 10 meals, and banquet parables. [5: Mark Allan Powell, Introducing the New Testament -- A Historical, Literary, and Theological Survey, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Publishing Group) 2009:158]
As evident in the analysis of the themes and concerns of this book, it is increasingly evident that Luke utilizes several passages and concepts to present and demonstrate his ideas, which are commonly known as Lukan ideas. Through a unique writing style and approach, Luke provides a literal and theological unity of God's master plan in which Jesus is the masterpiece of the fulfillment and basis of his redemptive purpose and plan. The themes and concerns in the book of Luke appropriately fit the Lukan ideas of God's redemptive plan and radical inclusiveness of all people regardless of their social standing. In addition to the themes and concerns, the parables in this book are also utilized to reinforce Lukan ideas.
Some of the major examples that appear in this book only and are utilized in illustrating Lukan ideas include the parable of Lazarus and the rich man and the parable of the prodigal son. The parable of the prodigal son is used to demonstrate that God's mercies are extended to every individual regardless of their sins or the things they have done. This parable reflects the Lukan idea of salvation for all people by demonstrating how accommodating God is and his willingness to accept every individual regardless of their history, background, and sins. The extension of these mercies to every person is evident in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ who is the masterpiece of God's redemptive plan.
In contrast, the parable of Lazarus and the rich man also illustrate the Lukan idea of God's redemptive plan though by focusing on the socio-economic status of the individual. In this case, Luke is challenging the common belief and assumptions presented…
Search of Jesus of Nazareth The Four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are four of the most controversial books in what makes up what we know as the modern Bible. They are the first four books of the New Testament and depending upon the view of the interpreter, form the basis of the modern Christian religion itself. There are two conflicting views of the four Gospels. The first is