The word “gospel” means “good news.” When we use that word to refer to the good news of salvation delivered by Jesus and his apostles, it is singular. There is one gospel (Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Phil. 1:27). But “gospel” may also refer to a literary genre: a selective record of historical events in the life of Jesus designed to create and build faith (cf. John 20:30-31; Luke 1:3-4). In this sense, there are four gospels. This lesson will introduce the last two gospel accounts: Luke and John.
THE GOSPEL OF LUKE
- Luke was a Gentile (Col. 4:10-17, note 11b), the only Gentile writer of New Testament literature. In addition to this gospel, he also wrote the book of Acts (cf. Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1-2). He was a medical doctor (Col. 4:14).
- The letter is addressed to “Theophilus,” a Greek name that means “lover of God” (1:3). It is typically dated around AD 60.
- While Matthew emphasizes the Kingship of Jesus, and Mark emphasizes his Deity and suffering, Luke emphasizes the humanity of Jesus and his compassion for individuals and the marginalized. He is the ideal man.
- Regarding his humanity: Luke traces Jesus’ lineage all the way to Adam (3:23-38). Luke’s birth narrative is the longest (1:1–2:40). Jesus refers to himself as “Son of Man” 26 times (5:24; 6:5; 12:40, et al.).
- Luke records Jesus’ concern for: Gentiles (2:32; 3:6; 24:44-47), Samaritans (10:30-37; 17:11-19), women (1:39-56; 2:36-38; 7:11-17, 36-50; 8:1-3; 10:38-42; 13:10-17; 21:1-4; 23:27-32), and social outcasts (15:1-2; 18:9-14; 19:1-10).
- Introduction (1-2)
- Preparation (3-4)
- Ministry (5-9:50)
- Toward Jerusalem (9:51-19:27)
- Death and Resurrection (19:28-24:53)
THE GOSPEL OF JOHN
- John was one of the sons of Zebedee and Salome (Mark 15:40; Matt. 27:56).
- John was closer to Jesus than any other disciple. He is believed to be the one designated as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20).
- Most conservative historians and scholars date the writing of John’s gospel in the last decade of the first century, some as late as AD 98.
- The key to understanding the message of this book is 20:30-31. Regarding purpose, John wrote to produce faith in the reader. Regarding content, John focused on certain signs, or miracles.
- Consider the significance of three key words in John’s purpose statement (from Merrill Tenney, John: The Gospel of Belief, pp. 28-34):
- Signs – this is the word that John uses most in his gospel account to describe the miracles of Jesus. The word refers to a miracle that has a spiritual truth attached to it that is more important than the miracle itself.
- Believe – the recording of the above signs was for the purpose of producing faith.
- Life – this is the ultimate end. The faith produced by the signs would result in something more than just existence, but an abundant existence both here and in eternity (10:10; 17:3).
OUTLINE (Tenney, p. 36)
- Prologue (1:1-18)
- Period of Consideration (1:19-4:54)
- Period of Controversy (5-6)
- Period of Conflict (7-11:53)
- Period of Crisis (11:54-12:36a)
- Period of Conference (12:36b-17)
- Period of Consummation (18-20)
- Epilogue (21)