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: https://www.wordsoftruth.net/studytools.htm
- 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).
This is a work in progress. Check back weekly (late Tuesday evenings) for updates.