The ... of St Luke


The Gospel and The Acts of the Apostles

It is generally recognised that St Luke wrote a two part work with the Gospel followed by The Acts of the Apostles. Whilst it has long been recognised that the evangelist wrote both the Gospel and Acts, it is less than a hundred years since they were seriously read together as one writing. For convenience, the combined work is refered to as Luke-Acts. Together they form about a quarter of the New Testament in terms of length.

However, not only have the two read books been read separately in the past but also in the traditional arrangement of the New Testament they are separated by the Gospel of John. As a result, they are both complete works on their own even though neither can really be read separately from the other. As we read the Gospel of Luke, we will often be making reference to the Acts of the Apostles.
As an example, we can compare Luke 23,46 with Acts 7,59. Think about the conclusion we make make as a result.

Then have a look at my response

Luke and the Gospels

Traditionally, the four Gospels are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, are presented in that order in the New Testament. However, along with the majority, I take it that all the evidence shows that Mark was the first Gospel to be written. That is because we can see clearly how Mark's Gospel story was taken over by Matthew and Luke but was then adapted by them for their purposes.

Briefly, Mark tells a story which begins with Jesus' baptism in the Jordan, moves to Galilee for a time of preaching and teaching by Jesus. After a turning point at Caesarea Philippi (Mk 8,27-9,2), Jesus makes the journey to Jerusalem. After another period of ministry in and around the Temple, there follows his passion and then his resurrection. If you have not already done so, it is good to read Mark's Gospel as a preparation for our reading of Luke's Gospel.

The Gospel of Matthew keeps close to Mark's story. His main addition is five great teaching discourses. Luke as we will see makes a much greater adaptation of the story of Mark.

The similarities though are such that traditionally these three Gospels are known as Synoptic Gospels, "synoptic" coming from Greek meaning "with one eye". For a good reading today, we need rather to be alert to the dissimilarities between these three Gospels more than to their similarities. Our aim is to find the distinctive presentation of the story of Jesus as told by each Gospel. The fourth Gospel, John, has a different story to the other three, a story where Jesus makes several visits to Jerusalem instead of just the one in the other Gospels. It can therefore be helpful to see the Gospel of Luke as a bridge between the first two Gospels and the fourth as the one Gospel develops and unfolds through the four Gospels.

The best way to explore the story of Luke is through geography, by looking at the different places visited by Jesus in the Gospel story. Exploring these different places will be a good way for us to get an outline of the Gospel. It will also help us to begin the essential process of becoming familiar with the Gospel by thumbing our way through many references.
For this, it is best if we now continue on a new page.