Gospel of Luke

The 'Gospel of Luke' is the third of the four gospels. It is the first of a two volume account by Luke; the second is the Acts of the Apostles.




Traditionally, the Luke of Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 24.

Luke's aims

Luke's own opening tells his recipient that his intent was to "write an orderly account" in order that the reader might "know the certainty of the things [he has] been taught." ( Luke 1:1-4, NIV) However, Luke is not writing simply as an historian. As the section "Themes" below will explore, Luke is also writing with a keen eye on the theological aspects of the life of Jesus, seeking to proclaim a particular message in his account.


Jesus, friend of outcasts

Luke, a Gentile doctor, writing for Gentiles and with a concern for the sick, is particularly concerned to show Jesus' dealings with Gentiles, lepers and other medical outcasts, despised tax collectors, and many others. We meet Jesus as one to whom the social boundaries of polite society were irrelevant, and who is himself relevant to people from all backgrounds.

Jewish roots and the Temple

In a careful counter-point to his view of Jesus as reaching out to those whom contemporary Jewish society rejected, Luke emphasises the Jewishness both of Christ and the Jewish roots of the early church, as well as having a focus on the Temple. His gospel starts with Zechariah in the Temple; he quotes Mary's song, with its links to Hannah's prayer in 1 Samuel; and he recounts two separate incidents in the life of Jesus, set in the Temple. He closes the account of his gospel with the disciples staying "continually at the temple, praising God." ( Luke 24:53, NIV)

Relationship to other biblical books

Matthew and Mark

The synoptic problem is the issue raised by literary similarities and differences between Matthew's, Mark's and Luke's gospels.


The book of Acts plainly sets itself forth as having been written by the same author as Luke's gospel and to the same person. In many senses, it functions as a sequel to Luke's gospel, and seems to share some narrative structures.

Online commentaries