If you asked the average church attendee or someone who is a little familiar with the Bible, “Who wrote most of the New Testament?” you’re usually going to get the answer, “the apostle Paul.” And that’s partly true. Paul did write most of the books in the New Testament. But in terms of the number of words written, most of the pages in our New Testament were written by Luke.
Luke wrote two large documents that account for about 28 percent of the New Testament. He wrote the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts, and Acts is really just a continuation of the book of Luke. The Gospel of Luke gives an account of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection. Then Acts gives an account of how the early church got started.
Luke became a Jesus follower several years after Jesus walked the earth, most likely under Paul’s influence. Luke was probably a Gentile (someone without a Jewish background), so he would have come to know and understand Jesus without being raised learning the Hebrew Scriptures.
Professionally, it appears Luke was a medical doctor, and that he left his full-time profession to travel with Paul and do the work of spreading the good news that people could access God through his Son, Jesus.
Luke wasn’t a firsthand witness to the stories and teachings—and miracles—of Jesus, but he took the time to collect all the information he could, summarize it, and put it in an orderly fashion. There were tons of stories circulating about Jesus, and Luke was passionate about organizing those stories in a way to help people understand who Jesus was and what he came for.
One of his main sources was Mark, the same Mark who wrote the Gospel of Mark by documenting a lot of what Peter told him about Jesus. So if you ever notice that a lot of Luke’s Gospel looks like Mark’s Gospel, that’s why. And there’s also some overlap with Matthew’s Gospel. Matthew, Mark, and Luke share some of the same stories about Jesus with different details here and there. That’s why those three Gospels are known as the Synoptic Gospels. “Synoptic” means “seen in a similar way.”
But Luke found some other nuggets about Jesus that are only in his account and not in the other Gospels… things like Jesus’s parables of the prodigal son and the good Samaritan.
Ultimately, Luke wanted to present a clear, historical narrative of the person and work of Jesus as the Savior of all people.
Over the next five weeks, we’ll provide a guide to help you read through the 24 chapters in Luke. You’ll get a two-minute devotional every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and we’ll give you instructions to read a chapter or two of Luke on the off days.
So, here we go: Before next time, read Chapters 1 and 2. We hope as you journey through Luke, you’ll see God in a fresh, new way.
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, as we begin to journey through Luke’s account together, help me better understand the good news of Jesus and how he brought the kingdom of God to us and those around us. Amen.”