Studies In Luke By Brian A. Yeager

"That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth..." (Proverbs 22:21).

Studying Luke

Study Notes For Luke
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(Chapter One)

Luke 1:1 -

  • As we begin this study, we have to be mindful that there are changes taking place during the time John lived and Jesus walked in the flesh. The Law of Moses is still in effect (Romans 7:1-6 and Hebrews 9:15-17), but it is passing (Luke 16:16). This means there will be a blend of things from the Law of Moses and new teachings as well. This record was written after the death of Christ. What Jesus taught, while on earth, is very much part of His will and testament (John 14:21-26).
  • Many had undertaken the task of setting forth in order a declaration [a narrative; an account of] of what happened regarding things most surely believed among us, etc. (cf. II Peter 1:12).
  • Some of which we have in writing (Matthew 1:1, Mark 1:1, and John 20:30-31).
  • Much of which was spoken (Acts 4:33, Acts 5:30-32, Acts 10:36-43, and Acts 28:17-31).
  • All of this was by the will of the Lord (Luke 24:44-49 and Acts 1:6-8).
  • The wording of “among us” is a fraternal statement in reference to the believers. We should understand such to be “us who believe” (Ephesians 1:18-20). This therefore is written towards one who already has the faith (I Thessalonians 2:13 and I Peter 1:18-25).
  • Seeing that these things were already believed (II Thessalonians 1:10), therefore this is not an account set forth to initially convert one to these things. Teaching to convert is a different kind of teaching (Acts 17:1-3).
  • Furthermore, we should understand that this narrative will not be an explanation of things as though the one being written to doesn’t know it already. Teaching one to understand something initially is a different type of teaching (Nehemiah 8:8 and Acts 8:26-40).
  • The things which are “most surely believed” (I Corinthians 15:1-11, I Thessalonians 1:5, Hebrews 10:22, Hebrews 11:1-3, and II Peter 1:16-21).
  • In doing some studying of “most surely believed”, you find this definition: “to carry out fully (in evidence), i.e. completely assure (or convince), entirely accomplish: — most surely believe, fully know (persuade), make full proof of; to bear or bring full, to make full; to cause a thing to be shown to the full; to fulfil the ministry in every part; to carry through to the end, accomplish; things that have been accomplished; to fill one with any thought, conviction, or inclination; to make one certain, to persuade, convince one; to be persuaded, persuaded, fully convinced or assured; to render inclined or bent on” (Strong’s # 4135).
  • “Surely believed” is also translated “fully persuaded” (Romans 4:13-21 and Romans 14:5).
  • “Surely believed” is also translated “full proof” (II Timothy 4:1-5) and “fully known” (II Timothy 4:17).
  • These things were most surely believed because of the evidence and the testimony given (Hebrews 2:1-4).
  • We will later discuss how this is a letter of reassurance (Luke 1:3-4).

Luke 1:2 -

  • The writer of this book is referring to things he had been taught, things that had be “delivered” (cf. Romans 6:17, I Corinthians 11:2, and I Corinthians 11:23).
  • He learned, as did others, from the eye-witnesses of these things as Jesus wanted such to be the case (John 15:26-27).
  • These eye-witnesses, called “ministers of the word”, were the Apostles (Acts 1:12-26).
  • “They” were witnesses “from the beginning” (I John 1:1-5).
  • Those witnesses testified of the things said and done by Christ (John 21:24-25).
  • This means that Paul was NOT the one who taught these things to this writer (I Corinthians 15:8; cf. Acts 9:1-20).

Luke 1:3 -

  • “It seemed good” (Acts 15:24-32). The word translated “seemed” is most often translated as “think” [33 of the 63 times the Greek word is used in the N.T.] (i.e. Luke 12:40, John 5:39, and I Corinthians 8:2).
  • If one were to condemn the judgment of one writing, consider how that judgment of an inspired man is not reasonably questionable (I Corinthians 7:6, I Corinthians 7:12, I Corinthians 7:25, and I Corinthians 7:40).
  • By inspired man, I mean one lead to teach by the Spirit (I Corinthians 2:9-13 and II Timothy 3:16-17).
  • Even when the thoughts, regarding what seems good or bad of uninspired men or women; think about spiritual discernment (I Corinthians 2:14-16). Shouldn’t faithful Christians have and grow in wisdom (Proverbs 4:5-7, Proverbs 23:23, and Colossians 3:16). Aren’t we to listen to wise counsel (Proverbs 1:5, Proverbs 11:14, Proverbs 12:15, Proverbs 13:20, Proverbs 19:20-21, and Titus 2:3-5)?
  • “It seemed good” could be just about this being an expedient time, according to this writer’s judgment, to reassure this disciple of Christ (II Corinthians 8-8:10).
  • “Having had perfect [diligently; circumspectly; perfectly] (Matthew 2:8, Acts 18:25, Ephesians 5:15, and I Thessalonians 5:2) understanding [attained; fully known] (I Timothy 4:6 and II Timothy 3:10)”. Think about how important it is that a teacher understands what he is teaching (I Timothy 1:3-7).
  • One can obtain such an understanding by considering diligently what is taught (II Timothy 2:7; 2:14-18).
  • “Of all things from the very first” should be understand as “from the beginning” (i.e. Acts 26:5).
  • “In order” (cf. Acts 11:1-4).
  • “Most excellent” or “most noble” is indicative that this man had some position in civil government (Acts 23:26, Acts 24:3, and Acts 26:25). This is appropriate behavior of a faithful child of God (Titus 3:1 and I Peter 2:13-17).
  • This is the first of two letters to Theophilus (Acts 1:1-3).

Luke 1:4 -

  • “That thou mightest know” (Proverbs 22:21 and I John 5:13).
  • The word translated “know” [ἐπιγινώσκω] here means: “to know upon some mark, i.e. recognize; by implication, to become fully acquainted with, to acknowledge: to become thoroughly acquainted with, to know thoroughly; to know accurately, know well; to know; to recognize by sight, hearing, of certain signs, to perceive who a person is; to know i.e. to perceive; to know i.e. to find out, ascertain; to know i.e. to understand” (Strong’s # 1921).
  • In addition to “know”, “knew”, “knowing”; That word is otherwise translated as: “acknowledge” (I Corinthians 14:37, I Corinthians 16:18, and II Corinthians 1:13-14), “had knowledge” (Matthew 14:35), “perceived” (Mark 2:8, Luke 1:22, and Luke 5:22), “took/take knowledge of” (Acts 4:13 and Acts 24:8), and “well knowest/known” (Acts 25:10 and II Corinthians 6:9). You can study this on your own by following this link:
  • This word was set apart from “believe” in Paul’s letter to Timothy (I Timothy 4:3).
  • This word doesn’t imply faithfulness when used about saints for it is also used when people departed from the faith in the past tense (II Peter 2:20-22; * in verse 21). In other words, someone can “know” and still be unfaithful (Romans 1:28-32).
  • Think about this process of teaching from other contexts (II Peter 1:1-21 and I John 2:18-27).
  • Think about the value of increasing what is already known (Proverbs 9:8-9 and II Peter 3:1-2) or knowing better, more in depth things you’ve previously been taught (I Thessalonians 4:1-2).
  • The word “certainty” [ἀσφάλεια] meaning: “certainty, safety. Firmness, stability, certainty, undoubted truth. Security from enemies and dangers, safety (Strong’s # 0803). The only two other times this Greek word appears in the New Testament it is translated as, “safety” (Acts 5:23 and I Thessalonians 5:3).
  • From that, we can conclude Luke is reassuring Theophilus to make him feel secure in his faith (Colossians 2:1-10 and Hebrews 10:22).
  • We are to test all things (I Thessalonians 5:21).
  • What do we read about being doubters; about being uncertain (Matthew 14:22-33, I Timothy 2:8, James 1:8, and James 4:8)?
  • While he had already been instructed… Even our Lord Jesus Christ, living upon this earth, increased his wisdom (Luke 2:52; cf. Hebrews 4:14-5:9) though He knew in the sense of information all there was for Him to know (John 2:25-25, John 5:20, John 13:3, John 16:15, John 18:4, John 21:17, etc.).
  • Though Jesus taught the disciples throughly, to a degree (Mark 4:33-34 and John 16:12), what did they still need (John 14:26)?
  • In fact, the disciples had seen and learned, but some things they saw and heard did not make sense to them at the time (John 12:12-16).

Luke 1:5 -

  • The Herods were a Royal family in the first century (Strong’s # 2264).
  • Herod the king of Judaea, in this context, died while Jesus was a child (Matthew 2:1-23).
  • There was another Herod that beheaded John (Matthew 14:1-12). This was Herod the tetrarch [in the Roman Empire the governor of one of four divisions of a country or province] (Luke 3:1). As you read through the New Testament there are multiple Herods.
  • Zacharias was a priest of the course of Abia, of the sons of Aaron [Abijah; Strong’s # 0007] (I Chronicles 24:1-31; *note verse 10).
  • From the days of Aaron until Christ became our high priest (Hebrews 4:14-7:28); the Levites were the priesthood (Exodus 28:1 and Numbers 16:10-11). All of us in Christ are priests (I Peter 2:5-9 and Revelation 1:5-6).
  • Elisabeth was also from the bloodline of Aaron. Therefore, John the baptizer [their son] was, under the Law of Moses, in line for service under the Levitical priesthood (I Chronicles 23:13).
  • Think about that. John the Levite was the one preparing the way for Christ (Mark 1:1-4). He was a Levite handing over the priesthood to one of another tribe (Hebrews 7:11-14).

Luke 1:6 -

  • They (Zacharias and Elisabeth) were both righteous (Genesis 6:8-9; 7:1, Genesis 15:1-6, Psalms 15:1-5, Proverbs 2:10-20, Proverbs 10:11, Proverbs 10:32, Proverbs 11:5, Proverbs 12:5, Proverbs 12:17, Proverbs 13:6, Proverbs 21:21, Proverbs 28:1, Romans 6:16, and I John 2:29).
  • Think of the benefit of the righteous (Proverbs 14:34 and Proverbs 29:2) as opposed to the wicked (Ecclesiastes 9:18).
  • Think about why the distinction is made in the statement “righteous before God” (Isaiah 65:1-5, Luke 16:15, Luke 18:9-14, Romans 10:1-3, II Corinthians 10:17-18, Philippians 3:7-9, and Revelation 3:14-22).
  • They were walking in all the commandments of the Lord. Keep in mind what this meant under the Law of Moses which they lived under (Leviticus 26:1-9, Deuteronomy 5:32-33, Deuteronomy 11:18-22, Joshua 22:5, I Kings 8:61, and Jeremiah 7:23).
  • They were walking in all the ordinances [“equitable deed; by implication, a statute or decision: — judgment, justification, ordinance, righteousness… a judicial decision” (Strong’s # 1345)] of the Lord. This word is different in that it is essentially the righteous deeds or judgments that comes about from the commandments of the Lord (Romans 1:32, Romans 2:26, and Romans 8:4).
  • They were blameless which speaks of their conduct (II Corinthians 6:1-3, Philippians 2:14-16, I Thessalonians 2:10, and II Peter 3:14). This, again, meant something a little different under the Law of Moses (Philippians 3:6; cf. Mark 10:17-22).

Luke 1:7 -

  • Elisabeth was barren and well advanced in years. Since this context will go on to be concerning the birth of John, the barren womb and old age play a significant factor (Luke 1:13; 1:18-19).
  • Had Israel been faithful to God, there would not have been a barren woman among them (Deuteronomy 7:1-14 and Deuteronomy 28:1-11).

Luke 1:8 -

  • Executing the priest’s office (Exodus 28:41) before God in the order of his course [duty rotation] (I Chronicles 24:19 and Ezra 6:18).
  • There was not always a course they followed (II Chronicles 5:11).
  • Order regarding duties of one’s office even continued into the New Testament though the offices changed (Romans 12:3-8 and I Corinthians 12:28-31).

Luke 1:9 -

  • Here we learn his priestly duty was determined by lot. We find an example of casting lots of who should furnish the wood at appointed times (Nehemiah 10:28-34).
  • His responsibility was to burn incense in the temple of the Lord (I Chronicles 23:13 and II Chronicles 13:10-11).
  • This was the duty of a priest and those who did so without being in the priesthood erred (II Chronicles 26:16-21).
  • Though a different overall point, even being in the priesthood one had to do such the right way (Leviticus 10:1-2).

Luke 1:10 -

  • Since this incense is in the holy place, only the priest were permitted to be therein (Exodus 30:1-10).
  • The priest had to not only be a Levite and be properly attired (Ezekiel 44:15-19); but also had to resolve any sins of his own when He came into the holy place (Leviticus 4:1-3, Leviticus 9:7-8, and Leviticus 16:6). Zacharias was pure when he came before the Lord (Luke 1:6).
  • There was a whole multitude praying on the outside. There were times of prayer when people came to the temple (Acts 3:1).
  • The temple was supposed to be known as a house of prayer (Luke 19:45-48).

Luke 1:11 -

  • An angel of the Lord appeared to Zacharias at the altar of incense.
  • The role of angels was designed to serve, to minister (Hebrews 1:1-14). Though they delivered messages, it was not God’s design for them to teach the Gospel as such was given into the hands of men even if an angel was involved (Acts 8:25-38 and Acts 10:1-8).
  • We will see in this context that this is Gabriel (Luke 1:19) and we will study a little about him when we get to that section of this text.
  • Consider why there is a distinction made of “an angel of the Lord” (Matthew 25:41 and Revelation 12:7-9).

Luke 1:12 -

  • Zacharias saw the angel, was troubled, and fear fell upon him as we see in other accounts of appearances of angels (Daniel 8:15-18, Matthew 28:1-5, and Luke 2:8-10).

Luke 1:13 -

  • The angel said unto him, fear not, Zacharias. Angels have been sent to comfort the faithful (Genesis 21:14-21, Daniel 10:4-12, Matthew 1:20, Matthew 4:1-11, and Acts 27:14-24).
  • We have read that Zacharias was righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless (Luke 1:6). The fact that his prayers were heard is further confirmation of such (Psalms 66:18, Proverbs 15:8, Proverbs 15:29, Proverbs 28:9, Isaiah 1:10-18, Isaiah 59:1-3, Micah 3:4, John 9:31, and I Peter 3:12).
  • Elisabeth would be with child (I Chronicles 28:5, Psalms 127:1-3, and Isaiah 8:18).
  • His name was to be John (Isaiah 8:1-4, Jeremiah 1:1-5, Hosea 1:1-11, and Matthew 1:18-25). Zacharias will follow this instruction (Luke 1:63).
  • This will puzzle Zacharias (Luke 1:18) *we will talk more about this at verse 18.

Luke 1:14 -

  • The birth of a child is such a joyous occasion that even the pains of birth can be quickly forgotten (John 16:21).
  • As a child grows, he is known by his doings (Proverbs 20:11).
  • Joy and gladness is continued in the life of a parent if a child chooses to do right (Proverbs 10:1, Proverbs 15:20, Proverbs 23:15-16, Proverbs 23:24-25, and Proverbs 29:3).
  • If John were not going to be the son he became, joy and gladness would not be sustained (Proverbs 17:21 and Proverbs 17:25).
  • Many would rejoice at the birth of John (Luke 1:57-58).

Luke 1:15 -

  • The reason for rejoicing at the birth of John was that he was foretold of as one to be great in the sight of the Lord (Matthew 11:9-19, Luke 7:18-28, and John 5:33-35).
  • John would not drink wine or strong drink (Luke 7:33, Genesis 19:30-38, Leviticus 10:9-10, Proverbs 20:1, Proverbs 21:17, Proverbs 23:20-21, Proverbs 23:29-35, Proverbs 31:4-5, Isaiah 5:11, Isaiah 5:22, Jeremiah 35:5-6, Ezekiel 44:21, Matthew 26:41, Luke 21:33-34, I Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:16-21, I Thessalonians 5:6, I Timothy 3:1-3, Titus 1:7, Titus 2:1-14, I Peter 1:13-16, and I Peter 4:1-5).
  • Think about why this stands as in relation to how Israel’s leaders of the past had given themselves to alcohol (Isaiah 28:7-9, Isaiah 56:10-12, and Hosea 4:9-11).
  • In the past, the people would have loved a man teaching them they could drink alcohol (Micah 2:11).
  • John was going to be filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb (Luke 1:41-44; cf. Jeremiah 1:5-9).
  • Remember, the Holy Ghost worked among the priests, prophets, and others before the New Testament was in effect (Exodus 28:1-3, Exodus 31:1-11, Exodus 35:30-35, Numbers 11:16-30, Numbers 24:2, Numbers 27:18, Judges 3:9-10, Judges 6:34, Judges 11:29, I Samuel 10:1-7, I Samuel 16:1-13, II Samuel 23:2, II Chronicles 15:1-8, II Chronicles 24:20, Ezekiel 3:24, Luke 2:25-34, Luke 3:21-22; 4:1, Acts 1:16, Acts 28:17-29, and II Peter 1:20-21).
  • Yet, there was a difference of the work of the Spirit before and after Acts chapter two. Before, the Spirit was said not to have been given signifying a greater work of the Spirit than was given before (John 7:37-39) and was still just promised to be coming (John 14:15-26).
  • The Spirit in the first century was evidence to believers that did not have the written text to prove to them they were saved (Galatians 3:1-5 and Ephesians 1:13). The promise was clearly different in work and purpose than what had happened in the past. No one received the Spirit before the New Testament for this purpose for no one was justified then (Acts 13:38-39).
  • John himself taught that the Spirit coming by Christ was greater in some manner (Matthew 3:11 and Luke 3:16).
  • In the first century, after Jesus died, the Apostles received the Spirit in a way that occurred only one other time after that (Acts 1:5-8; 2:1-4 and Acts 10:1-11:18). By the time Paul wrote the congregation in Ephesus, the baptism of the Holy Spirit ceased (Ephesians 4:1-6; cf. I Peter 3:20-21).
  • Yet, the prophesies aforetime promised the works of the Holy Spirit upon believers (Joel 2:28-32). Peter and the Apostles preached that promise was being fulfilled (Acts 2:16-38). That promise wasn’t just for the Apostles (Mark 16:15-20 and I Corinthians 12:1-11).
  • Since Holy Spirit baptism only occurred twice and was temporary there was some other changes. The other way in which God gave the Spirit to man was through the laying on of Apostle’s hands. No one was baptized in water and as a result of baptism alone received the Spirit (Acts 8:5-24 and Acts 19:1-7).
  • Notice something about every Scripture you can look at wherein the Spirit of God was given to man (both Old and New Testament times). He was active and the evidence was visible.
  • John’s receiving of the Holy Ghost would be “even from his mother’s womb” (Luke 1:41-44).
  • While all of that is interesting, it is of no significance for us today. The work of the Spirit was temporary and has come to an end as promised (I Corinthians 12:28-13:13). We now have that which is perfect (James 1:25; 2:12).
Luke 1:16 -

  • He shall turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God (Matthew 3:1-6).
  • However, not all believed and obeyed (Matthew 21:23-32 and Luke 7:29-30).
  • One of the hardest parts of teaching the word of God is accepting the fact that people often choose not to obey the truth (Ezekiel 33:30-33, Luke 4:16-30, Acts 13:26-46, and Romans 10:14-21).
  • John “fulfilled his course” (Acts 13:24-25).
  • He was not a soft-peddler of the truth (Matthew 3:7-10 and Matthew 14:1-12).

Luke 1:17 -

  • The prophecy regarding going before Christ in the spirit and power of Elias [Elijah] (Malachi 4:5-6; cf. Matthew 11:1-15 and Matthew 17:11-13).
  • Though, John did not pretend to be Elijah (John 1:15-28).
  • The phrase “in the spirit of” does not mean the person of (I Corinthians 4:21 and Galatians 6:1).
  • The phrase “in the power of” draws you to consider the works of Elijah (i.e. I Kings 17:1-18:46).
  • In connection to Elias [Elijah], for these children of the forefathers to have the hearts of their forefathers (I Kings 18:36-40). David even prayed for that long ago (I Chronicles 29:17-18). Their hearts had been turned away (Isaiah 29:13 and Hosea 4:11).
  • Repentance requires the right heart (II Chronicles 34:22-28, Isaiah 57:15, Jeremiah 29:10-14, and Joel 2:12-13).
  • To turn the disobedient to the wisdom of the just (Luke 1:64-79) which is about more than just teaching. It was more about helping them to be wise enough to listen (Hosea 14:9).
  • Jesus was coming to save the lost house of Israel (Matthew 10:1-6, Matthew 15:21-28, Luke 19:1-10, and Acts 3:25-26).
  • John was, as prophesied (Isaiah 40:3-5 and Malachi 3:1-4), getting them ready for that (Mark 1:1-4).
  • For a while, he was a light to them (John 5:32-35).

Luke 1:18 -

  • We have seen a barren womb and old age before (Genesis 11:29-30; 18:1-15; 21:1-7, Genesis 25:19-28, Genesis 29:31-35, Judges 13:1-25, and I Samuel 1:1-20).
  • Miracles such as this served a purpose (Psalms 113:1-9) as did all miracles (Mark 16:15-20).
  • Later in this chapter, this will be used as evidence with Mary (Luke 1:27-38).

Luke 1:19 -

  • The angel Gabriel (Daniel 8:15-16, Daniel 9:20-23, and Luke 1:26-31).
  • Gabriel stood in the presence of God (Psalms 68:17).
  • Gabriel was sent as a messenger to Zacharias (cf. Acts 8:26 and Acts 10:1-7). Angels are spiritual beings that minister (Psalms 104:4) in obedience to the Lord’s will (Psalms 103:20).
  • They could appear in the form of men (Genesis 19:1-5).
  • Paul, in the context of spiritual gifts (I Corinthians 12:1-14:40), said he spoke in the tongues of angels (I Corinthians 13:1).
  • The angels are interested in the spiritual state of men (Luke 15:10).
  • They will accompany Christ at the end (Matthew 16:27 and Matthew 25:31).
  • Remember, angels are part of the body of Christ (Hebrews 12:22-23) under the authority of Christ (I Peter 3:22).

Luke 1:20 -

  • For entirely different reasons, the prophet Ezekiel was made to be a mute for a time. The similarity is that both were made such as a sign (Ezekiel 3:26; cf. Ezekiel 24:21-27 and Ezekiel 33:21-33).
  • Mute until the day these things were performed (Luke 1:57-67).
  • Because he did not believe Gabriel’s words (Mark 16:9-14).
  • Where is the line drawn between testing (I Thessalonians 5:21 and I John 4:1) and outright unbelief (Matthew 13:53-58, Mark 6:1-6, and Mark 16:9-14)?
  • Was it enough the Gabriel appeared and Zacharias feared (Luke 1:12)? Was it enough that Gabriel knew his prayers (Luke 1:13)? Was it enough that Gabriel used the words of the prophets (Luke 1:17)? Paul’s words, which were not written yet (Galatians 1:8-9), wouldn’t apply because the angel wasn’t saying anything that was false.
  • Was the past actions of God enough (Romans 15:4)? Was the example of Abraham enough (Romans 4:13-22)?
  • Could Zacharias have taken the wait and see approach (Deuteronomy 18:22)?

Luke 1:21 -

  • Apparently the ordinary time it took for him to carry out his priestly duties had long surpassed. It is certainly reasonable to wonder if something extraordinary was going on with the priest. Did he do something wrong (Numbers 3:3-4)? Had the Lord appeared to him (Numbers 20:6).

Luke 1:22 -

  • As stated in Luke 1:20, Zacharias was unable to speak.
  • The people perceived [recognized; took knowledge of] he had seen a vision (Numbers 12:6).
  • There were times of apostasy wherein the prophets and priests had no visions (Ezekiel 7:26 and Amos 8:11-12; cf. Proverbs 29:18).

Luke 1:23 -

  • Being a Levite, a priest, he had set duties to keep (I Chronicles 9:25-26).

Luke 1:24-25 -

  • Elizabeth hid herself for five months. To be barren was shameful for her as it was for all women in Israel who had no children (I Samuel 1:1-20, Isaiah 4:1, Isaiah 54:1-4, and I Timothy 2:13-15).
  • Remember, under the Law of Moses, having children was of great importance (Psalms 127:1-5).
  • Their inheritance was dependent upon having many children (Numbers 26:53-56).
  • The assumption of some sort of punishment from God would exist with barren women (Deuteronomy 28:9-11 and Psalms 128:1-6).

This is a work in progress. This study is being put on hold briefly, but should resume in weeks to come.