Introduction and Luke 1:1-5

The Gospel of Luke like the Book of Acts were both penned under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit by Luke the Physician. They are very detailed as a man of science would normally be. Luke has been dated between 58-63 A.D. and is said to have been written by Luke in Caesarea. Matthew, Mark, and Luke constitute the synoptic gospels. It is known as the “human gospel” which depicts the perfect manhood of Christ. The book of Luke is the longest book in the New Testament having 1,151 verses and 25,640 words. Both Luke and Acts were written to a man named “Theophilus” which “means “a friend of God.” As in all my commentaries, when I use a statement like “Luke writes” or “Luke says”, it is only for brevity and I am not taking anything away from the divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures or trying to lower them to man’s words.

Luke 1:1 (KJB)
Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,

Since this was penned approximately 25 years after the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, it seemed many had begun to write about the life of the Lord Jesus Christ and Luke refers to it as “most surely believed among us.” Apparently, there had been many who were sincere writers about the Christian life, there were also many heretical writings which came out of the first century and definitely the second century. Especially penned by the enemies of the Lord Jesus Christ. What Luke is doing here is to make a detailed history of the life of Christ. Luke had spent much time traveling with the Apostle Paul. (Acts 1:22 KJV) Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. In the beginning of Acts when Luke pens the choosing of Matthias, he uses the word “us” which means that he was a first hand witness of these things and therefore very competent to pen this account.

Luke 1:2 (KJB)
Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;

The narratives which Luke had read were well accepted by him because he knew they were written by eyewitnesses who were with Christ from the beginning of His earthly ministry. They were also considered ministers of the word. These were the ones who were witnesses of the ministry of Christ and physically heard what He had preached. They not only heard the words of Christ but were also partakers of the ministering of the word. Luke was making sure he received material from primary sources.

Luke 1:3 (KJB)
It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,

Luke now includes himself in that group of witnesses because he too had perfect understanding. In fact the words “having had…understanding” means “follow closely, trace, or examine.” So Luke just did not only read accounts but he examined the accounts and that would also have included the oral accounts given by people. (1 Cor 15:6 KJV) After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. In 1 Corinthians, which was written about 54 A.D., Paul states that a great number of the 500 who saw Christ after His resurrection were still alive at that time and I am sure Luke had sought them out for their testimony. Now Luke was not just writing a narrative but his desire was to set things in order. The words “in order” carry with it the meaning of “successively or by method.” Luke desired to make this account one with order of events.

Luke 1:4 (KJB)
That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.

Luke’s desire for Theophilus was that he would know or recognize the certainty of the things about Christ. The word “certainty” carries with it the meaning of a stable or a firmness in understanding. In other words, there can be no question as to the authenticity and history of the events surrounding Christ. It seems that Theophilus had already received some prior instructions. The Greek word behind “instructed” is where we receive our English word “catechism.” Now it seems that Theophilus was now going to receive the entire story about the Lord Jesus Christ instead of bits and parts.

Luke 1:5 (KJB)
There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.

Jesus and John the Baptist were born in perilous times. Herod the Great was king of Judea which was occupied by the Roman army. Herod was an Idumaean or Edomite and was not a Jew. This made the Jews deeply resent him. He died in 4 B.C. The priest Zacharias was of the course of Abijah and his wife Elizabeth was also of a priestly lineage being in the line of Aaron. During the time of David, the Aaronic priesthood was divided into 24 orders or courses because they grew in number. Zacharias was in the eighth course. (1 Chr 24:10 KJV) The seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah, They would minister in the temple in turn.