Gospel of Luke Study
The Gospel of Luke began as a legal brief to a Roman official, Theophilus. Many believe that it was intended to bolster the defense of Paul in a trial to be brought before Emperor Nero himself. For this reason, beyond telling the story of Christ, the Gospel of Luke stresses that Jesus had been acquited by Roman Authorities (specifically Pontius Pilot) of any political crimes.
Luke was a doctor Paul probably met in Phillipi. Luke and Mark were followers of Paul and worked closely in helping to spread the gospel. When Paul was imprisoned in Rome, Luke took it upon himself to spend two years researching the life of Christ and the acts of the early apostles (he is also the assumed author of Acts).
After the trial and martyrdom of Paul, Luke revised the legal brief incorporating work from Matthew and the sayings of Jesus. He wanted to create a record of the life of Christ and of the history of the early church.
Interestingly, the Gospel of Luke contains stories found nowhere else in the bible; the story of Zachariah's vision that presaged the coming of John the Baptist, the story of the angels and shepherds at the birth of Jesus, Jesus in the Temple when he was a child, as well as the parables of the Lost Son and the Good Samaritan. There is much that is original in Luke and much food for contemplation and meditation.
The Gospel of Luke is also famous for its emphasis on the role of women in the ministry of Jesus. So it might be a good gospel for study by women's groups.
Since it was originally written as a Legal brief, this gospel takes some pains to present the historical case for Christ, it is an excellent study for for those seeking the human as well as spiritual side of Christ.
The Gospel of Luke, by William Barclay is great both as an in-depth study of Luke for a group and as a daily guide for individuals. Visit our page on Barclay for more information on how to use Barclay's works in a Bible study.