What to expect
Ever considered writing a PhD? Three years, research, research, research, finally write a long paper. The process is rigorous so that the best possible contribution to new knowledge is attained.
This Gospel is Luke’s PhD. He researched it across years, undertaking specific interviews that would give him access to what actually happened with Jesus. In his first paragraph, Luke reveals his purpose and his methodology. Here’s some questions to get you started.
- What words and phrases indicate how careful Luke was in his research?
- How different is this to truth claims on social media?
- How is Luke’s purpose (v4) linked to his methodology?
- Luke considers he’s writing ‘more than history’. What’s the importance of the replacement word for ‘historical account’ in v1? Scan chapters 1-4 to see this idea in action.
Question to Ponder: Could Luke have interviewed this many people, or is this most likely a false claim?
Take a quick look at the book of Acts (also written by Luke):
- Read Acts 16:10 where Luke joins Paul and his companions for the journeys in the rest of Acts.
- Scan Acts 16-28.
- What locations is Luke visiting?
- What people would Luke have had access to in these locations? (E.g. who could Luke have met to interview in Jerusalem?)
Based on this research to see for yourself, what have we discovered about the document you are about to read?
Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eye witnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.