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The making of a gospel!

how the holy spirit led luke the physician to research his gospel, a beautiful life of christ. yet every word is still divinely inspired of almighty god!

LUKE 1:1-4

 

 A Preacher in his Study

 

 

 

 

"Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed." Luke 1:1-4

 

LESSON 1, WRITTEN FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2007:

The Doctrine of Inspiration is critical to the fundamentalist.

We believe God directed His men, the writers of Scripture, not simply in their ideas or outlines, but in the very words they penned!

It's called "verbal inspiration."

So it is with Luke's Gospel also. When Paul said in 2nd Timothy 3:16 that "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God," he included the third Gospel too!

Yet, even as God inspired His men, He apparently still worked through their personalities and backgrounds, allowing some of that to filter through into their literature.

How else can one explain the medical terms in Luke and Acts? Luke was a Doctor!

Of the financial terms in Matthew? He was a tax collector!

Or the farm terms in Amos? He was a herdsman and gatherer of sycamore fruit!

Or the musical terms in the Psalms? David was an inventor of musical instruments and artist par excellence!

In the first four verses of Luke's Gospel he tells us just how he prepared and studied and researched the material God led him to use!

This is one interesting paragraph!

Verse one opens with an admission that many others have also written account of the Faith. But God has obviously led Luke to do so too.

"Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us." Luke 1:1

Folks who knew Jesus could not refrain from telling about Him!

By word of mouth or by pen and paper!

"Many" translates "polus" and means great in number or size. Our English prefix "poly" as in polygamy (many wives) is a derivative.

"Taken in hand," the whole expression, translates "epicheireo" in Greek. Their noun for "hand" is  "cheir" which is here verbalized with the added prefix "epi," meaning "upon." Hence, to put one's hand upon a job, to attempt, to undertake! The aorist property here indicates past action, now fulfilled and complete.

"To set forth in order" is "anatassomai," a combined word consisting of "tasso," a military word meaning to get in one's place and stay there ... plus "ana" meaning again. The middle voice of this infinitive tells us that those attempting this noble project, writing about Jesus, were "changed" by their task! For the better no doubt! Jesus has that effect upon a man or woman!

The noun "declaration" is spelled "diegesis" and means the full disclosure of a story or narrative.  It also can have the idea of putting that news on display! Placarding it! Advertising it!

"Most surely believed" is represented by "plerophoreo" in Greek. It means "to bear or carry a load" ("phoreo") to the fullest extent ("pleres") possible! Luke here indicates the great responsibility of his task!

Paul once said of his ministry, of his preaching, that "necessity had been laid upon him!" See 1st Corinthians 9:16.

To Luke to believe something is to bear it about in one's daily behavior! To really live it!

"Among" us these things are positively accepted!

The preposition is "en" and with the dative case means "on, at, near, by, or before" as well as "among!"

What internalization!

"Us," the plural personal pronoun "hemin," means that Luke includes himself among the host of other Believers who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ the Living Saviour!

Now we know Luke's goal.

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, WRITTEN SATURDAY MORNING, FEBRUARY 17, 2007:

As Doctor Luke prepared the materials for his Gospel, a Gospel miraculously inspired by the Holy Ghost of God mind you, he gathered certain reliable bits of information about our Saviour!

"Things most surely believed" to be exact. In Greek "plerophoreo pragma." The noun "things" is derived from the verb root "prasso," meaning to practice or to do repeatedly. These hence are deeds, actins of the Lord Jesus.

Beliefs her are "weights" that one carries, but in this sense, they "matter" to the person who has adopted them! They "weigh" on his mind and conscience and will and emotions and behavior! They "impact" his very lifestyle!

Then Luke adds: "Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the Word." Luke 1:2

Literally the verb "delivered" translates "paradidomai" and means "given over" or "handed alongside" us. Forty times in Scripture it carries the idea of "betrayal," but that certainly is not the thought here. The context forbids such a meaning. The word's etymological definition serves well as used by Luke in this introduction.

But "who" were the sources of this information?

Who described these deeds of Jesus?

The doctrines of the Faith?

The very words of our Lord?

Some who were "from the beginning eyewitnesses!"

The "beginning" is "arche" and means "the point of commencement." Really  "archo" means "to be first!"

At the very inception of God the Son's Life on earth someone knew Him! Mary His Mother did for sure! As did Joseph her husband! And Simeon and Anna too! What if Luke could have found and spoken to some of those shepherds? Or one of the Wise Men too?

And from the beginning of Jesus' public ministry John and Andrew and Simon Peter and a few more could have told of their recollections of Jesus.

But Luke goes further. He identifies his sources with the term "eyewitnesses!" Now in Greek "autoptes" nearly defines itself. Look at it. The "opts" is from "optanomai" and means "to gaze upon, to see, to stare" at something or someone. The "auto" suffix means just what it does in English, "self" ... like an automobile is self-propelled or an auto-focus camera self focuses. These people have seen Jesus! They themselves have done so! Luke did not rely simply on "hear-say" evidence!

He went to the people who saw Zacchaeus come down the tree! Or Jesus calm the storm! Or knew He was raised from the Dead!

But these eyewitnesses became more! They not only saw, they told! They related the facts about our Lord so fluently and so broadly that they became, Luke says, "ministers" of the word!

"Huperetes" means literally "under rowers!" Let me explain. "Hupo," the prefix means "under" or "underneath." And "eresso" means "to row" a boat or even a large ship!

The large grain vessels of Rome, traveling to and from Egypt for example, had sails as their main means of propulsion. But when the wind was not blowing, or not blowing favorably, they also kept on board a host of slaves who manned the oars below deck and en masse rowed the ship toward its destination! These are among the most menial of all the slaves! Yet strong and healthy for the most part!

That's what these eyewitnesses became to the Cause of the Gospel, says Luke! Servants!

"Word," the last noun in the verse, is "logos," just as one would think. If the living Word is in Luke's mind, that is Jesus! If the written Word, then the Scriptures are meant.

Do not tell me that the Gospels are not authentic!

Luke was precise and exact in all he reported! Plus, to avoid any human error, His Word is inspired of God too, verbally inspired!

Surely Psalm 12:6 is right! "The words of the Lord are pure words, as silve tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times."

Amen!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, WRITTEN SATURDAY EVENING, FEBRUARY 17, 2007:

The man we know as Luke, whom Paul in Colossians 4:14 called "the beloved physician," is quite a writer! Two Books of the New Testament are attributed to him, at least by conservative Bible believing teachers and preachers.

Anyone the Holy Spirit can use to give us 52 chapters of Scripture should be a hero to us!

But Luke, unlike Matthew or Mark or even John, gives us his method of research, of gathering his facts prior to his composition.

Now let me say this. He did not have to do this. The Holy Spirit not only gave him permission to do so, but led him in the choosing of each word! That's what "inspiration" means.

All men of God are modest and humble. That's just part of the indwelling Holy Spirit's character. But once Luke says something that on the surface nearly "pushes the envelope" of self abasement.

Paul is "less than the least of all saints" in Ephesians 3:8 and "the least of the Apostles" in 1st Corinthians 15:9 and even "the chief of sinners" in 1st Timothy 1:15.

But Luke, again writing under the Spirit's direction, is one who had "perfect understanding of all things" concerning Jesus "from the very first."

What a claim, apparently accurate too!

Read with me Luke 1:3. "It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus."

Luke, "as it seems good to you?"

Is that what you want to write?

Yes!

Again Paul occasionally says these kinds of things. Hence 1st Corinthians 7:6, talking about marriage, Paul admits: "But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment." He was talking about the physical relationship between a husband and his wife. Yes, the sexual side of marriage.

Wow!

Then listen, discussing the possibility of a wife's remarriage after her husband's death, he writes: "She is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God." 1st Corinthians 7:40

"My judgment?"

"I think I have the Spirit of God?"

But remember, the Holy Spirit, inspiring every word of the Bible, also allows human personality to show from time to time!

What Paul said is right, without error, infallible in fact ... because inspired!

But so human in its expression!

Back to what "seems good" to Luke!

"Dokeo" is the verb used here. It means "to think, to account, to appear good or even to please." This might be Luke's way of telling us God led him to write this Gospel!

It was the right thing to do!

Good!

Acceptable!

Pleasurable even!

I know we Christians are certainly glad he did so!

Again our verse, Luke 1:3, "It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus."

"To me also," others have written, I shall too! "Kago" combines "kat," meaning "and," the conjunction ... plus "ego," the personal pronoun meaning "me!"

Luke says, "Me too!"

He may or may not have known about Matthew's Gospel and John's likely had not been written yet. We don't even know if he had seen a copy of Mark yet. None of which matters all that much! God told Luke to do it!

We are listening to the "inner workings" of a Gospel writer's mind as he proposes His Work!

How much less we would have known about Jesus had Luke not thought it good to tell us!

We would have never met Anna or Simeon when Jesus was an Infant. Or Elisabeth the Mother of John the Baptist or Zacharias his Father. Or the woman bent double for eighteen years, whom Jesus healed in the Temple that day! Or Zacchaeus! Or know about the rich man who died and went to Hell! And much more!

Next Luke claims "perfect understanding!"

"Having had understanding" translates "parakoloutheo." This term blends the word for "road," in Greek "keleuthos," and "para" the prefix and preposition meaning "alongside." Luke has traveled alongside the eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word, those he just mentioned in the previous verse, listening and taking notes diligently!

And he has done a good job too!

"Perfect" is "akribos" and pictures that which is "most straight," exact! Precise! "Circumspectly" is rendered in Ephesians 5:15. This English word means "looking all around" as you walk or travel! Watching and listening! Alert!

Luke the Doctor, trained in precise diligent methods of examination, now applies his skills to relating the Life of Jesus, as directed by God the Holy Spirit!

"From the very first" is "anothen" and is built upon the "ano" stem and means "above!"

From above?

From the top!

By analogy, from the first!

Even "anew" is acceptable.

As long as one leaves Luke's Text God-inspired and inerrant!

"Grapho" means "to write or to compose or even to sign one's name!" It is here an aorist infinitive in the active voice.

See in it words like autograph, monograph and paragraph.

"To you" is the pronoun "su" in the dative case and singular number. One man is the original addressee of Luke's Gospel!

How blessed he was!

This is not the case with Matthew, Mark or John.

"In order" translates "kathexes" and means something like "in sequence." It combines "kata" and a form of "echo." That is, a "holding down" of certain facts, making them join each other successively.

Now as to the identity of this man Theophilus, that awaits the next Lesson, Lord willing.

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, LATE SUNDAY NIGHT, FEBRUARY 18, 2007:

Luke names his addressee, both in the Gospel he gave us and the New Testament's volume of history, Acts.

Compare Luke 1:3 with Acts 1:1. Both mention a man named Theophilus.

The name itself has a wonderful meaning! "Theos" is the Greek noun for God and "philos" means friend or lover. God lover, one who loves God!

We are not sure if this is his real name, or a title given him since his salvation. With such a name or title he surely had been born again! Remember, Scripture is replete with people whose names were changed after the met the Lord. Saul of Tarsus ... Paul the Apostle!

But why would Luke write to this man?

In both his pieces of literature?

In those ancient days a writer often had a person, usually one of some wealth, to underwrite his endeavor. He would provide the funds to buy the papyrus or vellum and the ink and stylus. Also such a one would provide any transportation costs for the author to travel doing his research. In other words, he may have been Luke's "patron."

By his being called "most excellent" in our Text Theophilus may have been a well-known governmental official. "Kratistos" means "most noble" twice in the New Testament, used of Felix and Festus in Acts 24 and 26. Technically the term is the superlative degree of the adjective "kratos," strong!  O strongest Theophilus!

Luke, being a doctor, might would have been accustomed to a high standard of life, and Theophilus' aid would have been a real help to the godly historian here. If this is the case, I believe that Paul later on may have received much of Luke's stipend!

Also notice Luke's willingness to follow the protocol of his day. This is an expression of his good manners and kindness. After all, real love "doth not behave itself unseemly."

Each of us should be grateful to Theophilus for his part in the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. We would all be poorer without them.

God uses all kinds!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, WRITTEN MONDAY AFTERNOON, FEBRUARY 19, 2007:

The last verse of our Text is powerful. "That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed." Luke 1:4

Luke tells us the purpose of his writing Theophilus specifically. At least one of his purposes.

A saved man, Theophilus who name means friend of God or lover of God, has been taught basic Christian doctrine.

The verb "hast been instructed" is "katecheo" and means "to sound down" into one's ears or mind or heart! "Echos" means sound and "kata," the prefix, just means "down" as a direction. The verb here is an aorist, the classes have ended. It is passive also, Theophilus did not teach himself. The English word catechism can be seen in "katecheo." So can our little noun "echo."

Luke wants Theophilus to know the truth wherein he has been taught! This verb, another beauty, is "epignosko" and blends "gnosko," to know absolutely, and "epi," meaning upon or supermposed, otherwise used to intensify the meaning of a verb! This is full knowledge! This is experiential knowledge! This is assurance!

Then comes "certainty." In Greek "asphaleia" means "a" the privative particle meaning no or not, and "sphallo" meaning "to fail." Not to fail! Secure! Safe! Stable! Only used two other times in Scripture, "asphaleia" describes locked and secured prison doors in Acts 5:23 and safe political conditions in 1st Thessalonians 5:3. But prison doors and earthly politicians both fail in their tasks. The Word of God, never!

Eyewitness testimony ... one source of our assurance in the validity and reliability of the Gospel of Luke!

Our Gospels, all four of them, Matthew and Mark and Luke and John, are inerrant inspired Scripture and, as Jesus promised, cannot be broken! See John 10:35.

Praise the Lord!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

THANK GOD FOR OUR SECURITY! AND FOR THE WAY LUKE OPENED HIS PRECIOUS GOSPEL!

 

 

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