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Critical Exegesis of the Gospel of LUKE

by Robert Randle  
9/26/2009 / Bible Studies

The book of LUKE contains more information and it contains more events which happened during Jesus' earthly ministry than any narrative. While MATTHEW and MARK provide over 70% of the source material, still there are some noteworthy divergences found in this last book of the tripartite "Synoptic Gospels." Although far from comprehensive, this study reveals the unique character of the author or redactor [editor] which makes it an interesting read.

Luke 1: 5-7
There was in the days of Herod [The Great], the King of Judea, a certain priest named Zecharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, Because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.

8-9, 11, 13-17, 19
So it was that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar. But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zecharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. "And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. "For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink (Cp. Numbers 6: 3: was John a "Nazarite"??). He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. "And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. "He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, 'to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children (Cp. Malachi 4: 6),' and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

[NOTE: This last part of the verse has no known Scriptural reference]. And the angel answered and said to him, "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings {"GOOD NEWS" or Gospel}. The name of the angel is not mentioned in MATTHEW.

26-28, 30-33, 35-36, 38
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth [city of the "Branch"], to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; [Blessed are you among women]!" Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end (Cp. II Samuel 7: 12-17; Isaiah 9: 6-7; Daniel 7: 13-14)." Then the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. "Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, and entered into the house of Zecharias and greeted Elizabeth. And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

NOTE: The city where Elizabeth lived, as a descendant of Aaron, was most probably Hebron (Cp. Joshua 21: 13).

2: 1-2
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the entire world should be registered [for taxation]. This census first took place while Quirinus was governing Syria.

NOTE: Why does the narrative mention about a Governor in Syria instead of in Judea, or even Galilee?

3: 1
Now in the fifteenth year (about 26 A.D.) of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea (about 26-36 A.D.), Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene.

3: 19-20
But Herod the tetrarch, being rebuked by him concerning Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, also added to this, that he shut John up in prison.

3: 23-31
Now Jesus began His ministry at about thirty years of age (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli. . .

NOTE: If Jesus was about thirty years old during 26 A.D., then His birth must have been around at least 4-5 B.C.; and the 42 names from Joseph to King David include several repeats, namely: Matthathah/Matthathiah (3); Joseph (4); Levi (2); Matthat/Mattat (3); and Melchi (2). In the genealogical list, included are some prophets: Naggai [Haggai??], Nahum, and Amos; while some names are not found anywhere else in Scripture, besides here, such as: Menan, Melea, Jonan, Jorim, Eliezer, Jose, Elmodam, Cosam, Addi, Neri, Rhesa, Joannas, Semei, Maath, Janna, and Heli.

5: 27
After these things He went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, "Follow Me."

6: 13-15
And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles: Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zealot; Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became traitor.

NOTE: Why does the narrator revert back from using Levi earlier to Matthew? Additionally, this account as well as the gospel of JOHN and ACTS, is proof that there were more disciples than just the twelve.

"The Beatitudes"

Matthew 5: 3-12
(1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (2) Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (3) Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (4) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. (5) Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. (6) Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (7) Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God. (8) Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of God. (9) Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely (9a) for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

NOTE: Notice the use of 'they' and 'you' during Jesus' discourse.

Luke 6: 20-23
(1) Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. (4) Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled. (2) Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. (9) Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, (9a) for the Son of Man's sake; Rejoice in that day and be leap for joy! For indeed; your reward is great in heaven for in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.

NOTE: Luke's version omits #'s 3, 5-8 of Matthew's account and the order is not sequential; but it does use 'you/your' exclusively.

"The Law of Love Your Enemies"

Matthew 5: 43-48
You have heard that it has been said; You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemies. But I say to you, (1) love your enemies and bless those who curse you; (2) do good to those who hate you and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be the sons of your Father in heaven. For He makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. (3) For if you love those who love you, what rewards have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? (4) And if you greet your brethren ['friends'] only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors ['Gentiles'??] do so? (5) Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Luke 6: 27-35
But I say to you who hear: (1) Love your enemies; (2) do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. [To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him, who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him, who takes away your goods, do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise]. (3) But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. (4) And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. [And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive back as much.] (1) But love your enemies, do good and lend (??), hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For, He is kind to the unthankful and the evil. (5) Therefore be merciful, just as your Father is also merciful (??).

NOTE: There are several points here which are radically different from Matthew's narrative, namely: 'turning the other cheek' {'passive resistance'}, 'giving away or allowing your goods to be plundered,' and 'lending without expectation of repayment' or even to hold some sort of asset in the form of collateral/equity as security against the borrower.' Also, instead of using 'tax collector' Luke uses 'sinners,' repeats #'s 1&2, and uses phrases in [ ]'s that are not in Matthew at all. Lastly, Matthew ends with being 'perfect' as your Father in heaven is perfect and Luke says, being 'merciful' as your Father is merciful.

"The Law of Do Not Judge"

Matthew 7: 1-6
(1)Judge not, that you be not judged. (2) For what judgment you judge, you will be judged; (3) and with what measure you use, it will be measured back to you. (4) And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank ('beam') in your own eye? (5) Or how can you say to your brother, "Let me remove the speck from your eye; and look, a plank is in your own eye?" You hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. [(6) Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine {'wild hogs/boars'??}, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces].

NOTE: The phrase of the last verse in the [ ] does not seem to reflect the theme of this section.

Luke 6: 37-38
(1) Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. [Give; and it will be given you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom.] (2) For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.

NOTE: Notwithstanding the comments on Matthew's narrative, Luke is consistent with #'s 1&2 but he excludes Matthew's #'s 4-6; and although not part of the original (??) of Matthew; 'condemning' and 'forgiving' is consistent with the essence of Jesus' teaching on this point. There is again, the part contained in the [ ] that just doesn't seem to fit comfortably at this placing.

"A Tree is known by Its Fruit"

Matthew 7: 16-19
(1) You will know them by their fruits. (2) Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? (3) Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. (4) A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruits you will know them.

NOTE: In this account, there is no pruning, replanting in different soil, or a determination made to see if the tree is taking up an adequate supply of nutrients (sunlight, water, nitrogen, etc.) and if 'photosynthesis' is taking place; It is just the end results that matter, not the process.

Luke 6: 43-45
(3) For a good tree does not bear bad fruit; nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. (1) For every tree is known by its own fruit. (2) For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. [ A good man out of the treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks].

NOTE: The order is a little mixed up in Luke in comparison to Matthew and #4 is not included. Again, the words enclosed with the [ ] seem to be a little out of place here, too.

7: 1-10 (Healing of the Centurion's servant)

NOTE: According to an Aramaic version, it should be the Centurion's son; which would make more sense. Also, is this possibly the Centurion Cornelius mentioned in Acts 10: 1-47; esp. verses 2, 4, and 22?

7: 18
And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to Jesus, saying, "Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?"

NOTE: John was puzzled as to circumstances mentioned by the Prophets (Cp. Micah 5:2; Zechariah 9: 9; Malachi 3: 1-3) about the Coming King and Redeemer who would liberate them from their enemies and usher in the final Apocalyptic battle between the "Sons of Darkness and the Sons of Light" as taught by the Essenes in the Qumran community near Bethany (Bethabara) of the Jordan.

9: 1
Then He called His twelve disciples [apostles] and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases.

10: 1, 17
After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He himself was about to go. Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your Name."

NOTE: Only the "seventy" are mentioned here and not even the "twelve" claimed the demons were subject to them in Jesus' Name in this narrative.

11: 1-4 ("The Lord's Prayer")

NOTE: "Do not lead us into temptation" is a mistranslation because God does not tempt anyone (Cp. James 1: 13), so it should read, according to the Aramaic, "And do not let us enter temptation." Luke also leaves out, "For Yours [Thine] is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory [similar to I Chronicles 29: 11and Revelation 5: 13] forever. Amen

11: 15
But some of them said, "He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons."

NOTE: If this being is the ruler of the demons, where does this leave Satan of the Devil?

11: 27-28
And it happened, as He spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!" But He said, "More than that, blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it!"

NOTE: Only here and not in the other Gospels.

17: 20-21
Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For the kingdom of God is within you." (Cp. Matthew 8: 11; Luke 13: 28??)

19: 11
Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear suddenly.

22: 24
Now there was a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest (Cp. 9: 46)

NOTE: How vain and petty were the disciples on the very evening of Jesus' arrest and crucifixion.

22: 31-32
And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. "But I have prayed for you; that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren."

NOTE: What did the Lord mean by "returning back to Him, unless He meant 'repentance'?"

22: 40
When He came to the place, He Said to them, "Pray that you may not enter temptation."

NOTE: See comments at 11: 1-4 ("The Lord's Prayer"), which is consistent and confirms the Aramaic translation.

23: 6-12 (Jesus on trial before Herod tetrarch)

NOTE: Only here and not in the other Gospels; and why does it mention that seemingly insignificant part about the relationship between Pilate and Herod and of what interest is it; and to whom?

23: 27
And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him.

NOTE: Why didn't this great number of His followers intervene, help Jesus escape or fight to prevent Him being delivered up for crucifixion?

23: 44-56 "The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ"

23: 34a, 46
Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, into Your hands do I commit My spirit. ' "Having said this, He breathed His last.

NOTE: This is quite different from 'Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani' ("My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?") recorded in MATTHEW and MARK.

24: 9
Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest (Cp. verse 33).

24: 50-51
And He led them out as far as Bethany [in Judea], and he lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while he blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up to heaven.

NOTE: The other Gospel books mention Galilee (Cp. Matthew 28: 16; Mark 16: 7, 19; John 21: 1) as the last place Jesus met with His disciples ("The Twelve") before His ascension back to heaven.

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