Willmington's Bible at a Glance

Luke at a Glance

This book records the earthly life of Jesus. It begins with the birth of John the Baptist and concludes with Jesus’ ascension.

Bottom Line Introduction


This report was prepared by Luke the historian. In it the parables of Christ are emphasized.

Luke is the most lengthy Gospel account and the longest New Testament book. If Paul did not write the book of Hebrews, then Luke authored more of the New Testament than any other writer. Luke’s Gospel is the first of a two-volume work addressed to a friend named Theophilus. (Compare Lk. 1:3 with Acts 1:1.)

Facts Regarding the Author of this Book

1. Who? Luke. He was a gentile physician (Col. 4:14) who served as Paul’s faithful traveling companion (2 Tim. 4:11).

2. What? The books of Luke and Acts.

3. When and where?

a. Luke: 59 A.D., from Rome

b. Acts: 60 A.D., from Rome

4. Why?

a. Luke: To present Christ as the perfect man.

b. Acts: To record the activities of the early church.

5. To whom? (Specifically, both books were written to Theophilus. See Lk. 1:3;

Acts 1:1)

a. Luke: To the Greeks.

b. Acts: To the early church believers.

KEY EVENTS (With chapter reference)

1. Gabriel appears to both Zacharias and Mary predicting the births of John the Baptist and Jesus; Mary visits Elisabeth; birth of John the Baptist

2. Angelic announcement to the shepherds regarding Jesus’ birth; testimony of both Simeon and Anna regarding the baby Jesus; Jesus’ temple visit at age twelve; early years in Nazareth

3. Ministry of John the Baptist; baptism and genealogy of Jesus

4. Temptation of Jesus; His message from Isa. 61 in the Nazareth synagogue; healing of Peter’s mother-in-law

5. Call of Jesus’ first five disciples; healing of the paralytic

6. First Sabbath healing and ensuing criticism; choosing of the twelve; Sermon on the Mount

7. Healing of Centurion’s servant; raising of widow’s son; paying tribute to John the Baptist; parable of the two debtors

8. Parable of the sower and soil; stilling the wind and the sea; delivering of the maniac of Gadara; healing of a woman with an issue of blood; raising of Jairus’ daughter

9. Sending of the twelve; feeding of the 5000; hearing Peter’s confession; transfiguration of Jesus; delivering of a demon-possessed boy; dialogues on true greatness, sectarianism, and discipleship

10. Sending of the seventy; parable of the Good Samaritan; visit with Mary and Martha

11. Lord’s prayer; parable of the persistent friend; confrontation with the Pharisees; condemnation of the Pharisees

12. Dialogues on hell and the Holy Spirit; parable of the rich fool; parables concerning His second coming

13. Command to repent; parable of the fig tree and the mustard seed; healing a crippled woman on the Sabbath; teachings en route to Jerusalem and His sorrow over Jerusalem

14. Parables of the ambitious guest, Great Supper, discipleship and worthless salt

15. Parable of the lost sheep, lost coin, and prodigal son

16. Parables of the unjust steward and the rich man and Lazarus

17. Cleansing of ten lepers; foretelling His Second Coming

18. Parables on persistence (a widow and a judge), and prayer (a Pharisee and a publican); blessing little children; meeting with the rich young ruler; healing blind Bartimaeus

19. Conversion of Zacchaeus; parable of the ten pounds; triumphal entry; sorrowing over Jerusalem; second cleansing of the Temple

20. Confrontations with and condemnation of the Pharisees; parable of the vineyard owner

21. Commending a poor widow; the Mount Olivet Discourse

22. Plan of Judas to betray Jesus; events in the Upper Room; Jesus’ prayers, agony, betrayal, and arrest in Gethsemane; Peter’s denials; Jesus’ trial before the Sanhedrin

23. Jesus before Pilate, Herod, and Pilate again; His words to some women en route to Calvary; testimony of the dying thief; crucifixion and burial of Jesus

24. Resurrection of Jesus; His appearances before Cleopas en route to Emmaus and the ten in the Jerusalem Upper Room; His ascension

Key Individuals

1. Zacharias, priestly husband of Elisabeth and father of John the Baptist

2. Elisabeth, barren wife of Zacharias who would, nevertheless, by command of God, give birth to John the Baptist

3. Gabriel, special angelic messenger from God who predicted nine months in advance to Zacharias and Mary the supernatural births of both John the Baptist and Jesus the Messiah

4. Mary, virgin wife of Joseph who gave birth to Jesus

5. Simeon, devout and righteous Israelite man who held the infant Jesus in his arms and thanked God for Him during the dedication service in the Temple

6. Anna, an old and godly Jewish widow who thanked the Lord for the baby Jesus during the Temple dedication service

7. John the Baptist, Nazarite son of Zacharias and Elisabeth who would later prepare for, introduce, and baptize Jesus, and eventually be martyred for his fearless preaching

8. Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, faithful believer who was healed of a raging fever by Jesus in her home at Nazareth

9. Simon Peter, former fisherman, brother of Andrew and the most outspoken of the twelve apostles

10. James, former fisherman, brother of John, and the first apostle to suffer martyrdom (Acts 12:2)

11. John, former fisherman, brother of James, apostle of Jesus, and author of five New Testament books

12. A paralytic, brought by four friends and lowered through a roof that Jesus might heal him

13. Matthew (also called Levi), former tax collector, called by Jesus to be an apostle, and the author of the Gospel of Matthew

14. Unnamed centurion, a Gentile soldier who built a synagogue for Israel, who requested Jesus to heal his sick servant and was subsequently commended by the Savior for his great faith

15. Widow of Nain, whose son Jesus raised from the dead

16. Simon the Pharisee, who invited Jesus in his home for a meal, but was subsequently chastened for passing judgment upon Jesus who had permitted an immoral woman to anoint His feet

17. Mary Magdalene, former demon possessed woman, and the first person to see the resurrected Christ (Jn. 20:1-17)

18. Maniac of Gadara, desperate man, possessed of a legion of demons (Mk. 5:9), who was delivered by Jesus

19. Jairus, ruler of a Jewish synagogue and heartbroken father whose 12-year-old daughter was raised from the dead by Jesus

20. Woman with a 12-year old issue of blood, who was healed simply by touching the hem of Jesus’ garment

21. Father of a demonic son, whose desperate plea to the Savior was rewarded by the healing of the lad

22. Good Samaritan, who, upon seeing a man who had been beaten by thieves and left half dead, being filled with compassion, both rescued and paid for the recovery of the victim

23. Mary and Martha, two sisters, visited by Jesus, one of which (Mary), was commended for her worship, while the other (Martha), was gently chided by the Savior for being too busy to sit at His feet

24. Rich fool, who once assumed his great wealth would satisfy his soul for many years, only to die that very night at the command of God

25. Crippled woman in a synagogue, whom Jesus healed of an 18-year infirmity

26. A seeking shepherd, who left his flock of 99 sheep to seek and find one that had strayed

27. A concerned woman, who diligently swept her house to find a lost coin

28. A loving father, who both forgave and restored his returning, repentant, and wayward son

29. An elder brother, whose jealousy caused him to rebuke his father for forgiving the returning, repentant, and wayward younger brother

30. An unjust steward, whose questionable practices were used by Jesus to explain the proper usage of money

31. Rich man and a beggar, both of whom died, the one (rich man) awakening in hell, and the other (Lazarus the beggar), in paradise

32. Abraham, who denied the request of the rich man in hell to be comforted by Lazarus in Paradise

33. Grateful Samaritan leper, only one of the ten lepers healed by Jesus (the other nine were Jewish) who took the time to thank the Savior

34. A proud Pharisee and a repentant Publican, both of whom offered prayers in the temple but only the latter was heard by God

35. Rich young ruler, Jewish leader who sought eternal life from Jesus but then allowed his great wealth to stand in the way

36. Blind beggar near Jericho, by the name of Bartimaeus (Mk. 10:46) whose cry to Jesus for sight was answered

37. Zacchaeus, dishonest tax collector who climbed a tree to see the passing Jesus, was then spoken to by the Savior and subsequently converted

38. Poor widow, whose sacrificial temple gift of her last two mites was commended by the watching Savior

39. Judas Iscariot, evil apostle who betrayed Jesus and later killed himself (Mt. 27:3-5)

40. Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great who ordered the execution of John the Baptist and before whom Jesus stood trial just prior to the crucifixion

41. Simon of Cyrene, man ordered by the Roman soldiers to carry the cross of Jesus to Golgotha

42. Repentant thief, one of the thieves crucified with the Savior who asked and received saving grace

43. Centurion at the cross, Roman soldier in charge of the crucifixion who gave testimony to the righteousness of Jesus

44. Joseph of Arimathaea, wealthy Jewish believer who secured the lifeless body of Jesus and placed it in his own new tomb

45. Mary Magdalene, one of the women who reported the resurrection of Jesus to the unbelieving apostles, and the first person to see the resurrected Savior (Jn. 20:1, 11-18)

46. Cleopas, one of two disciples before whom the resurrected Christ appeared to on that first Easter Sunday as they walked from Jerusalem to their home in Emmaeus

Key Places

1. Herod’s temple: where the angel Gabriel told Zacharias as he was burning incense that his barren wife Elisabeth would give birth to John the Baptist

2. Nazareth: a city in Galilee where the angel Gabriel told a virgin girl named Mary that she would give birth to the Messiah and where Jesus would live from age two to thirty

3. Bethlehem: town where Jesus was born

4. Jerusalem: capital city of Israel where the infant Jesus was dedicated in the temple

5. Judean wilderness: a region along the west side of the Dead Sea where John the Baptist preached his ministry of repentance

6. Jordan River: body of water connecting the Sea of Galilee in the north with the Dead Sea in the south, used by John the Baptist to baptize his converts

7. Temptation wilderness: a desolate area probably southeast of Jericho where Jesus was tempted by the devil

8. Galilee: the Jewish region north of Samaria which included such towns as Nazareth, Capernaum, Cana, Bethsaida, etc.

9. Capernaum: a city in Galilee chosen by Jesus to become His northern headquarters, where He would preach and perform many of His sermons and miracles

10. Lake of Gennesaret: another name for the Sea of Galilee

11. Tyre and Sidon: two cities in Phoenicia whose citizens came in great numbers to hear Jesus preach

12. Nain: a city in Galilee where a widow’s dead son was raised by Jesus

13. Gadara (country of the Gerasenes): a city on the east side of the Jordan River where Jesus healed a demon-possessed maniac

14. Mt. of Transfiguration: a probable reference to Mt. Hermon, located north of the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus was transfigured

15. Samaria: the region occupied by the Samaritan people, located between Judea in the south and Galilee in the north. It was in this area where Jesus rebuked James and John for wanting to call down fire from heaven to destroy those people due to their rejection of the Savior.

16. Chorazin and Bethsaida: two cities in Galilee, rebuked by Jesus for their unbelief in Him

17. Jericho: a city west of the Jordan River some five miles from the Dead Sea, referred to by Jesus in the Parable of the Good Samaritan and also the place where the Savior healed blind Bartimaeus

18. Abraham’s bosom: a title used by Jesus during His account of the rich man and Lazarus, referring to the home of departed believers

19. Bethphage: a village near Bethany on the Mount of Olives where Jesus began His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the foal of an ass

20. Bethany: a village some 20 miles from Jerusalem on the Mt. of Olives, home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus

21. Gethsemane: a garden (although not named by Luke) located at the northern base of Mt. Olivet, where Jesus prayed His prayers of agony

22. Cyrene: home city in north Africa of Simon who carried the cross of Jesus to Calvary

23. Calvary: word meaning “the skull,” where Jesus was crucified

24. Arimathaea: home of Joseph, wealthy Jewish believer who secured Jesus’ lifeless body and buried it in his own new tomb

25. Emmaus: a town some 7 miles from Jerusalem to which the unrecognized and resurrected Jesus accompanied Cleopas and another disciple during the first Easter Sunday

Unique Features

1. Luke offers the most complete N.T. genealogy (3)

2. He is the only biblical writer who was a physician

3. He is the only Gentile biblical writer

4. He was probably Paul’s most faithful friend and companion

5. He was the most educated of the four Gospel writers

6. His is the longest N.T. book

7. It was the product of an exhaustive research (1:1-3)

8. Luke is the first of 8 N.T. books addressed to a particular individual. These are:

Theophilus (Lk. 1:3)

Theophilus (Acts 1:1)

Timothy (1 Tim. 1:2)

Timothy (2 Tim. 1:2)

Titus (Titus 1:4)

Philemon (1:1)

Elect lady (2 Jn. 1)

9. Gaius (3 Jn. 1)Luke emphasizes the prayer life of Jesus. Eleven of the Savior’s recorded prayers are to be found only in his gospel account.

10. Luke alone gives us the words of five great hymns which have since been set to music. These are:

Ave Maria (1:28)

The Magnificat (1:46-51)

The Benedictus (1:68-79)

The Gloria in Excelsis (2:14)

The Nunc Dimittis (2:29-32)

11. Both women and children are prominent in his book. Luke mentions 13 women not referred to elsewhere in the gospels

12. He also has more to say about angels, than does Matthew, Mark, or John, referring to these on 23 occasions

13. His is the only synoptic gospel to call Jesus Savior (1:47; 2:11)

14. It has been observed that as Mark wrote his gospel under Peter’s influence, Luke penned his under Paul’s influence

15. Material found only in Luke:

The prologue (1:1-4)

Announcement to Zechariah (1:5-25)

Announcement to Mary (1:39-45)

Meeting of Mary and Elisabeth (1:46-56)

Birth of Jesus (2:1-7)

Announcement to shepherds (2:8-20)

Circumcision of Jesus (2:21)

Dedication of Jesus in the temple (2:22-38)

His early years in Nazareth (2:39, 40, 51, 52)

His temple visit at age 12 (2:41-50)

Advice of John the Baptist to the crowd (3:10-14)

Age of Jesus at the beginning of His ministry (3:23)

His baptismal prayer (3:21-22)

His sermon at Nazareth (4:16-30)

His word to Peter on the shores of Galilee (5:4-11)

His 4-fold warning following the giving of the beatitudes (6:24-26)

His words to a would-be disciple (9:61, 62)

His rejection by a Samaritan village (9:51-56)

The sending out of the seventy (10:1-24)

His visit with Mary and Martha (10:38-42)

His illustration of the murdered Galileans and the Tower of Siloam (13:1-5)

His description of Herod Antipas (13:31-33)

His prophecy regarding Jerusalem’s destruction (21:20-24)

Tribulational events not mentioned by Matthew or Mark (21:25, 26)

His trial before Herod Antipas (23:6-12)

His words to some women en route to Calvary (23:27-31)

His first prayer to the Father while on the cross (23:34)

His final prayer to the Father while on the cross (23:46)

The two disciples en route to Emmaus (24:13-32)

Their report to the apostles in the Upper Room (24:33-35)

Jesus’ approval to all in the Upper Room (24:36-43)

His words to a dying thief while on the cross (23:39-43)

16. Parables found only in Luke:

The blind leading the blind (6:39, 40)

The 50 and 500 denarii (7:36-50)

The Good Samaritan (10:25-37)

The persistent guest (11:5-13)

The rich fool (12:13-21)

The faithful and wise steward (12:41-48)

The ambitious guest (14:7-14)

The importance of counting the cost (14:28-33)

The lost sheep, coin, and son (15:1-31)

The great supper and three guests who would not come (14:15-23)

The unjust steward (16:1-13)

The rich man and Lazarus (16:19-31)

The Pharisee and the publican (18:9-14)

The ten pounds (19:11-27)

17. Miracles found only in Luke:

Raising of the widow’s son in Nain (7:11-17)

Healing of a mute demonic (11:14-28)

Healing of a woman with an 18-year infirmity (13:10-17)

Cleansing of the lepers (17:11-19)

Comparison with Other Bible Books

1. Matthew, Mark, and John: Their presentation of Jesus can be contrasted as follows:

Luke presents Jesus as the perfect man and emphasizes His parables.

Matthew presents Jesus as a king and emphasizes His sermons.

Mark presents Jesus as a servant and emphasizes His miracles.

John presents Jesus as the mighty God and emphasizes His doctrine.

2. Acts and Hebrews: Whether or not Luke authored Hebrews, his Gospel can be considered the first volume of a trilogy:

Luke: Christ’s earthly ministry

Acts: His ministry through his church

Hebrews: His high Priestly ministry

Titles for and Types of Jesus

1. Jesus (1:31)

2. Son of the Highest (1:32)

3. Son of God (1:35)

4. The Lord (1:76)

5. Mary’s first born Son (2:7)

6. A Savior (2:11a)

7. Christ the Lord (2:11b)

8. The babe (2:16)

9. The consolation of Israel (2:25)

10. The Lord’s Christ (2:26)

11. The child (2:17)

12. Light to the Gentiles and the glory of Israel (2:32)

13. The redemption in Jerusalem (2:38)

14. Son (2:48)

15. The salvation of God (3:6)

16. The one greater than John (3:16)

17. God’s beloved son (3:22)

18. The Son of Joseph (3:23)

19. A prophet without honor (4:24)

20. Jesus of Nazareth (4:34a)

21. The Holy One of God (4:34b)

22. Lord (5:8)

23. A friend of sinners (5:30)

24. Physician (5:31)

25. Bridegroom (5:34)

26. Lord of the Sabbath (6:5)

27. A great prophet (7:16)

28. A gluttonous and winebibber man (7:34)

29. A sower (8:5)

30. Master (8:24)

31. John the Baptist (9:7)

32. Elijah (9:8)

33. The Christ of God (9:20)

34. Son of man (9:22)

35. Good Samaritan (10:33)

36. A greater than Solomon or Jonah (11:31, 32)

37. Good Master (18:18)

38. The King (19:38)

39. Rejected cornerstone (20:17)

40. King of the Jews (23:3)

41. A righteous man (23:47)

Dr. H. L. Willmington
Founder & Dean, Willmington School of the Bible
Founder & Dean, Liberty Home Bible Institute
Professor, Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary

Copyright © 2007 by Harold L. Willmington. Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved.

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