Archive | October 19th, 2010

October 19th – Christian Scholarship



We have been appreciating the work of St. Luke this last couple of days. It’s time we read once again, in Luke’s own words the reason why he wrote the third gospel.
Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things which have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eye-witnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. Luke 1: 1-4
In the original language in which Luke wrote, it is most polished, beautifully constructed and stylish Greek one could read. Then he goes on in the next verse “In the time of Herod the King of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah …” and so his matchless story continues, not in the opening polished, academic style, but in the clear factual lines of the story teller, the reporter. This preface tells us such a lot about Luke’s aims and methods. Let’s pick out one or two:
He had researched other accounts of the story of Jesus, and wrote to deepen and broaden and improve our picture of Jesus.
He was not himself a physical eye-witness of the great Jesus-events, but he knew and went to interview those who were. He is reporting the words of the eye-witness, like a devoted detective.
He researched and recorded his material accurately. Early in this century two modern scholars, believing that Luke had got some things wrong, went to the Mediterranean world to check out his work. They selected six of Luke’s statements, in which they believed he’d got things wrong. They eventually emerged from their detective work to confess that in every instance it was their doubts which were wrong. Luke was correct.
He was an accurate and systematic historian, as he justly claimed, refusing to be conditioned by his non-Hebrew culture.
Both his volumes (the third Gospel and Acts of the Apostles) are dedicated to a certain “Theophilus”, of whom we know nothing, except that both Theophilus and Luke are non-Jewish names.He as writing for a wider world than Palestine.
He does not assume that his readers knew anything about the Old Testament, or Jewish theology and teaching. In short he wrote for gentiles, for the whole wide world, and for us.
Here is but one tiny example of Luke’s thoroughness in recording those who actually walked with Jesus on his travelling missions:
The twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means. Luke 8: 1c, 2-3
A Prayer:
Today, Lord, I thank you for the work of faithful Christian scholars who love you and your word.
Now read Luke Chapter 3.

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Thought 4 The Day

If you are not big enough to stand criticism, you are too small to be praised. (Anon)

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