The preface and purpose of Luke’s Gospel

Matthew begins his Gospel by tracing Jesus’ ancestry to Abraham (Mt 1:1-17). Mark has no infancy narrative and begins with the ministry of John the Baptist and the baptism of Jesus aged about 30 (Mk 1:1-11). John’s Gospel takes us back to before the creation of the universe where we learn that Jesus created all …

Who wrote the Gospel of Luke?

All the narrative books of the New Testament come to us as unsigned, anonymous documents. The first generation of readers probably knew who the authors of the New Testament books were, but oral tradition was not always passed on in the literary tradition. Scholars speak of “internal” and “external” evidence in support of authorship: clues …

The origins of the Gospels

The church has long affirmed that the New Testament consists of a canon (that is, a “rule” or “standard”) of 27 books. That raises several important questions, such as: Why 27 books? Why only 27? Why four Gospels? Who made the choices regarding inclusion and exclusion, and on what basis?  From a divine perspective, Scripture …

Basic features of the four Gospels

What are we reading when we open, say, Luke’s Gospel in the Christian Bible? Building on what we learned in the previous study, four literary features deserve mention. The Gospel of Luke is: historical literature. There is evidence of a history of composition. Luke drew on oral tradition and sources available to him as he compiled …