Luke1-2001

Luke

Notice that the book of Luke starts out by addressing the same man as does the book of Acts, someone with the Greek name of Theophilus, who was likely some sort of governor. This gives us a good reason to believe that the person who wrote Acts also wrote Luke (and about the same time), ‘the beloved Physician,’ Luke. Who was Luke?

The Bible doesn’t tell us much about him, other than he was a regular traveling companion of Paul. Notice that throughout the book of Acts he says that ‘we’ did this or that. So, Luke was likely someone who was also assigned to preach to Gentiles. And although he may have witnessed some of the events of the Life of Jesus, there is no record of it. However, that wasn’t true of the book of Acts, because the account shows that he lived most of it, especially the journeys of Paul.

Luke was quite a chronicler, since both of his books were compilations of things he was told (he probably relied on many sources). And, because he ended Acts with the imprisonment of Paul in Rome, we have to assume that he did all his writing about the year 62-C.E., which is almost thirty years after Jesus’ death.

If you look at writing styles, you can see that Luke likely wrote some of the epistles that are attributed to Paul. Not that they weren’t dictated by Paul, but that Luke may on occasion have served as Paul’s secretary. Luke’s writing style is flowery and educated, and his greetings can go on for paragraphs.

Something that only a translator would notice is that much of Luke’s Gospel account is borrowed from Matthew. There is nothing wrong with that, because it was admittedly a compiled account, and Matthew’s writing was just one of his sources.

The reason why Luke prepared both writings (Luke and Acts) was apparently to set things straight in the hodge-podge of things people were saying by then, and in the stories that they were telling. That’s why he started out his Gospel account with the words (Luke 1:1-3), ‘Since many others have already taken on the job of putting together a statement of the facts of the things we believe as they were given to us by those who were eyewitnesses from long ago, and by caretakers of the message, it seemed good for me to trace everything accurately from the start, then write them to you in the order they happened, mighty Theophilus, so you can feel confident about the things you’ve been taught by word of mouth.’

There are several important places where Luke’s Gospel disagrees with Matthew’s Gospel. However, that is simply to be expected when several people tell the same story from different points of view. An example of this is: Luke said that Jesus didn’t cleanse God’s Temple until the day after his triumphant ride into Jerusalem. While Matthew’s account indicates that it happened on the same day. Is this a significant discrepancy? No, the words that were said and the things that happened are what was important, not their order in telling.

Also, many of the things that Jesus said and did didn’t follow the same order as in Matthew. This could be, because Jesus said and did similar things on other occasions, or simply because someone remembered them as happening on other occasions.

Is Luke’s Gospel more accurate than Matthew’s Gospel? Well, he did have a second look at what Matthew wrote, which always provides an edge when it comes to accuracy. However, his Gospel was likely written almost twenty-five years later, so Matthew’s Gospel was written much closer to when the events actually happened.

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Hypocrite

Hypocrite is a Greek word that is just spelled a little differently than it is in English (hypocritai). However, we give the English word a nuance that isn’t implied in Greek. The first part of the Greek word, hypo, means under, and the second part, critai, means judge (it’s what we get critical and criticize from). So, in the Bible a hypocrite is a ‘lesser judge,’ or one who is very judgmental of the actions or conduct and others. This differs from the meaning in English, which is, someone who doesn’t follow his own advice.

The Scribes and Pharisees were referred to as Hypocrites in the Bible, because they condemned the actions of others. And like anyone who tends to be critical of others, they likely failed in the same ways that they condemned others, which would make them also fit the English definition. However, the Bible meaning is ‘judgmental.’

Being too judgmental is a very serious flaw, which is common to those who think they are very righteous. It is reported that the Pharisees especially thought of themselves as more righteous than others, and it was their opinion that they would be the only ones to be found righteous and worthy of a resurrection by God. Notice what Jesus said would happen to those who are judgmental (Matthew 7:1): Don’t judge [others], so you won’t be judged. For, the [rules] that you use to judge others, are the rules that will be used to judge you, and the standards you are setting for them, are the standards that they’ll set for you.’

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