Truth and Freedom in the Gospels. The Book of Luke

Term Paper, 2011

12 Pages, Grade: B+


Table of contents

I. Introduction

II. Analysis of the book of Luke
i. Structure of the book of Luke
ii. Message
a. Theme
b. Anticipated reader response
iii. Argument
a. Theme development
b. Anticipated reader response

III. Background of the book of Luke

IV. Conclusion


If two people who have been living in Nassarawa Gwom, a community in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau state, Nigeria who have been eye witnesses to any of the Jos crisis are asked to give a report or the story of what they saw and experienced, their story will mostly be similar but with more emphasis and details to events that interest them the most or affects them the most either negative or positive. This was somewhat the scenario of the writers of the synoptic gospels in some sense. Mark and Matthew were Jews, so their gospels, which were written for a Jewish audience reflects the Jewish worldview, Jewish perspectives, style of writing, and a more detail explanation of beliefs, practices and values of the Jews, etc.

Luke was a gentile; his style of writing too reflected the gentile worldview, beliefs, practices and values targeted at the gentile audience. For example, to the Jew, a person’s family line or genealogy determines his/her identity (genuity, respect and dignity). The Jews also trace their genealogy to Abraham, who was the founder of the Jewish nation. This justifies why Matthew began his writing with the genealogy of Jesus, tracing Jesus’ line to David (to show a fulfillment of the OT prophecies that the messiah will descent from the line of David) and to Abraham (who is the father of the Jews, to show that Jesus was related to al the Jews). The gentiles on the other hand believed that Adam is the father of all human beings. This is evident in Luke’s gospel; he was a gentile, writing from a gentile perspective, he traced the genealogy of Jesus to Adam. This was to show that “Jesus is related to all human beings. This is consistent with Luke’s picture of Jesus as the savior of the whole world.”[1]

The similarities of the gospel accounts are without differences, there are events that are captured in one account that is not captured in the other. There are instances where Matthew agrees with Luke against Mark. The differences are considered as the synoptic problem but this paper will not delve into the debates concerning that.

Analysis of the Book of Luke

Structure of the book of Luke

From my readings of the book of Luke, I see the main structure of the book of Luke divided into four: Jesus’ early life Chap. 1:1-4:13, the ministry of Jesus in Galilee 4:14-9:50, Jesus’ ministry on his way from Galilee to Jerusalem 9:51-19:27, Jesus’ ministry in Jerusalem where he was eventually betrayed, died, resurrected and ascended into heaven 19:28-24:53. But for the purpose of this research, I have adopted the detailed outline for the book of Luke as presented by John A. Martin:

I. The Prologue and Purpose of the Gospel (1:1-4)

II. The Births and Maturations of John and Jesus (1:5-2:52)

A. The announcements of the births (1:5-56)

B. The births and boyhoods of John and Jesus (1:57-2:52)

III. The Preparation for Jesus' Ministry (3:1-4:13)

A. The ministry of John the Baptist (3:1-20)

B. The baptism of Jesus (3:21-22)

C. The genealogy of Jesus (3:23-38)

D. The temptation of Jesus (4:1-13)

IV. The Ministry of Jesus in Galilee (4:14-9:50)

A. The initiation of Jesus’ ministry (4:14-30)

B. The authentication of Jesus' authority (4:31-6:16)

C. Jesus’ sermon on the level place (6:17-49)

D. Jesus’ ministry in Capernaum and surrounding cities (chaps. 7-8)

E. Jesus’ teaching of His disciples (9:1-50)

V. The Journey of Jesus toward Jerusalem (9:51-19:27)

A. The rejection of Jesus by most on His journey toward Jerusalem (9:51-11:54)

B. Jesus’ teaching of His followers in view of the rejection (12:1-19:27)

VI. The Ministry of Jesus in Jerusalem (19:28-21:38)

A. Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem as Messiah (19:28-44)

B. Jesus in the temple (19:45-21:38)

VII. The Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus (chaps. 22-24)

A. The death and burial of Jesus (chaps. 22-23)

B. The resurrection and appearances of Jesus (chap. 24)[2]


Theme: Jesus came to save the lost

Anticipated Reader Response: Repent, believed and be saved.

Key verse: Luke 19:9-10. Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” NIV

Key text: Luke 5:27-32. After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him. Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” NIV


Theme Development

i. Truth and salvation: Luke was not a Jew, meaning that he was a gentile as the Jews might have called him. Writing probably for the gentiles though he wrote to Theophilus. He presented salvation in Christ Jesus open to people from every part of the world. Luke sees everybody, regardless of ethnicity and race as included in the scope of salvation. He thus presented the message of the angels to the shepherds as good news of ‘peace on earth’ and a goodwill to men (2:14), not simply peace in Israel and goodwill to the Jews. Leon Morris observes that “it is significant that both he [Luke] and Matthew quote from Isaiah 40 in connection with the ministry of john the Baptist. But where Matthew has three lines of prophecy, enough to tell of the voice calling on people to prepare the way of the Lord, Luke adds another five until he comes to the words ‘all flesh will see God’s salvation’ 3:4-6”[3]

Luke’s gospel and his other account in the book of Acts of the Apostles presented and emphasized in details and more of women, children, the poor, the disreputable and worst of all the Samaritans. All of the above listed were regarded as nothing, inferior, outcast and without dignity in the Jewish culture and contexts which the gospels of Mark and Matthew gave no or less details and considerations to. Unlike in Rome, before and during Jesus’ time on earth, women, especially those of the upper class had freedom compared to women in the Greek and Jewish culture and contexts. The Jewish culture sees women as inferior to men, jewish women were arraigned alongside the slaves, deaf, mutes, the binds etc. they are considered not eligible to lay hands on an animal to be sacrificed, and they are also not eligible to give witness or evidence in the courts. They are excluded from being disciples to Rabbis; the Rabbis regarded teaching women as a sin. Leon Morris submitted that as far as a Jew is concern, “if any man gives his daughter a knowledge of the law it is as though he taught her lechery (Mishnah, Sotah 3:4). There is a very old prayer that a man might pray: ‘Blessed art thou, O Lord … who hast not made me a woman’.”[4] In the Greek culture on the other hand, women have no rights and freedom, they belong to their husbands. If they become widows, they belong to their sons, suitors are arranged for them, and they are not allowed to own property of their own etc.

Luke included more women and gave more detailed information of them than the other gospels did. He begins his account with a long narrative of the infancy of John the Baptist and Jesus where he presented Elizabeth and Mary as the subjext of the narrative. He also included the song of Mary 1:46-55, he included the comment of prophetess Anna concerning the fate of Jesus. He also mentions the women in Jesus’ entourage by name 8:1-3, and many instances where Jesus encountered women more detailed than the other gospels. He presented Jesus’ ministry as including the poor when he used the word poor ten times against Mark and Matthew who both used the word fives. Luke also has various accounts that involved the outcast. Out of the 21 appearances of tax collectors, Luke has ten. Luke also presented several of Jesus’ parables where the outcasts were the central figure 18:9-14, 7:41-42; 12:13-21; 15:11-32; 16:1-12; 18:1-8.


[1] Ronald A. Beers (Ed.), New Living Translation Life Application Study Bible. Carol Steam, Illinois, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2007: 1682.

[2] John A. Martin, “Luke,” in the Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament. (eds., Walvoord, John F. and Zuck, Roy B.), Cook communications ministries, 2000. Accessed through the PC Study Bible, version 5.

[3] Leon Morris, New Testament Theology, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan Publishing House, 1990:200.

[4] Morris, New Testament Theology, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan Publishing House, 1990:202.

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Truth and Freedom in the Gospels. The Book of Luke
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Longji Ayuba Dachal (Author), 2011, Truth and Freedom in the Gospels. The Book of Luke, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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