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The Gospel of Luke

Updated on January 23, 2010

Gospel of Luke is the last of the three Synoptic ("common view") Gospels. It was probably written between 60 A.D. and 100 A.D. by Luke, the "beloved physician" and companion of Paul.

In general outline and content it parallels the Gospel of Mark. Scholars believe that the Gospel of Luke was addressed to Greek and Roman converts. The unique material on the Annunciation and the birth and childhood of Jesus is not found in the other Gospels. The account of Jesus' ministry includes a section (Luke 9:51-18:31) not found in Mark or Matthew.

This section contains many parables, such as those about the good Samaritan, Mary and Martha, the prodigal son, and the rich man and the beggar Lazarus. Luke is also the only Gospel to contain accounts of the penitent thief who was crucified with Jesus and of the meeting of Christ and the Disciples on the road to Emmaus.

As well as the third Gospel Luke was also the author of the Book of Acts.

Because Paul calls him the beloved physician and does not include him among his Jewish helpers, many scholars have concluded that Luke was a Greek doctor. He may have belonged originally to the Christian community in Antioch in Asia Minor. Luke apparently joined Paul during the Apostle's second missionary journey, traveling with him from Troas in Asia Minor to Macedonia in Europe (Acts 16:9-18:22). He also seems to have accompanied Paul on the third missionary journey, to Philippi and Jerusalem (Acts 18:23-21:19), and then sailed with him to Rome, where he shared Paul's imprisonment (Acts 27:1-28:29). Throughout his association with Paul, Luke took careful note of all that he heard about Christ and all that he saw of Paul's missionary work. Traditionally, he wrote down his clear accounts for the Greek-speaking world in Greece, where he died.


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