Luke 1 (1)
Pray Psalm 147.1, 19, 20.
Praise the LORD!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful…
He declares His word to Jacob,
His statutes and His judgments to Israel.
He has not dealt thus with any nation;
And as for His judgments, they have not known them.
Praise the LORD!
Sing Psalm 147.1, 19, 20.
(St. Anne: O God, Our Help in Ages Past)
Praise God, for it is good to sing loud praises to the Lord!
With joy our songs of praise we bring to God and to His Word.
His Word He to His Church bestows – His promises and Law.
No other nation God thus knows: praise Him with songs of awe!
Read and meditate on Luke 1.1-4.
1. Why did Luke write this gospel?
2. How did he approach this task?
Has it ever occurred to you to ask why we have the Bible in the first place? Why do we need the Bible?
We need the Bible because God speaks to us through it, calling us to know Jesus, helping us to sort out truth from error, and refreshing us with breezes of beauty, goodness, and wisdom for our daily journey with Him. God was not content for the Good News of Christ and His Kingdom to be transmitted orally only. By Luke’s day – around the middle of the first century – many accounts concerning the life and work of Jesus were already circulating (v. 1). Because of his privileged position among the apostles (v. 2), Luke realized that not all those accounts were accurate. Probably some of them, which were being transmitted orally, were warping like the children’s “telephone” game. Luke sensed the need for a definitive account of Jesus (v. 3), and so he set himself to the task of searching out sources, consulting with the apostles, and carefully arranging his own narrative (v. 3). His goal was that Theophilus – and every “lover of God” (the meaning of “Theophilus”) might have an orderly and accurate account by which to judge other narratives.
But more than that, Luke wanted us to know the certainty of what we’ve been taught (v. 4). We can imagine that Luke, who was a physician, was careful, thorough, and focused on those who would read his work, that they might be refreshed, revived, and renewed through the words God had given him. The gospel of Luke would have had apostolic approbation. It was early on recognized by church leaders throughout the world as an inspired work of God’s Spirit. We can study it with the confident expectation that we, too, will grow in true knowledge about Jesus and His great salvation.
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162.
Luke’s opening lines remind us of words that Solomon penned many years beforehand, but with the same goal in mind. Both are proclaiming the trustworthy nature of Scripture—its inerrancy, its beauty, and its truth:
“Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge;
for it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you; let them all be fixed upon your lips,
so that your trust may be in the LORD; I have instructed you today, even you.
Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge,
that I may make you know the certainty of the words of truth,
that you may answer words of truth to those who send to you?” (Prov. 22.17-21)
Luke began the book of Acts by writing, “The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up…” (Acts. 1.1, 2). Thus, he reminded his readers of his intention in that previous work.
Paul wrote emphatically to corroborate the writings of Solomon, Luke, and all the other inspired authors of the Bible: “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15.4). He went on to say in 1 Corinthians 10.11 that these things “were written for our admonition”.
John wrote at the end of his gospel account: “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (Jn. 20.30, 31).
How grateful we are for Luke, who took it upon himself to “set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled” and “are most surely believed among us” (Lk. 1.1).
That we may know (Lk. 1.4).
1. What does it mean to “know” the truth about Jesus?
2. Why is the Word of God so important for knowing Jesus? Where should we look in Scripture to learn more about Jesus?
3. What goals would you like to set for this study of the gospel of Luke? What do you hope to learn?
So the Gospel was written to Theophilus, that is, to him whom God loves. If you love God, it was written to you. If it was written to you, discharge the duty of an evangelist. Diligently preserve the pledge of a friend in the secrets of the Spirit. Ambrose of Milan (333-397), Exposition of the Gospel of Luke 1.1, 2
Pray Psalm 147.2-7.
Thank God for His Word. Call on Him to build you up in it, to heal and revive you, and to exercise the power of His Word for good works through you today.
Sing Psalm 147.2-7.
(St. Anne: O God, Our Help in Ages Past)
The Lord builds up His Church and He His people gathers in.
The broken hearts He tenderly repairs and heals their sin.
He counts the stars, He knows the name of every chosen soul;
His pow’r is great, and great His fame Who understands us whole.
The humble God exalts above; the wicked He casts down.
Sing thanks to this great God of love; let songs of praise abound.
T. M. and Susie Moore
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.