Sunday School Bible Survey:      LUKE

Theme: The Lord Jesus Christ as the perfect Man.

Key verse: "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10).

From the Scofield Study Bible:

WRITER: The writer of the third Gospel is called by Paul "the beloved physician" (Col. 4:14); and, as we learn from the Acts, was Paul's frequent companion. He was of Jewish ancestry, but his correct Greek marks him as a Jew of the dispersion. Tradition says that he was a Jew of Antioch, as Paul was of Tarsus.

DATE: The date of Luke falls between A.D. 63 and 68.

THEME: Luke is the Gospel of the human-divine One, as John is of the divine-human One. The key-phrase is "Son of man," and the key-verse (Luke 19:10). "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." In harmony with this intent, Luke relates those things concerning Jesus which demonstrate how entirely human He was. His genealogy is traced to Adam, and the most detailed account is given of His mother, and of His infancy and boyhood. The parables peculiar to Luke have distinctively the human and the seeking note. But Luke is careful to guard the Deity and Kingship of Jesus Christ (Luke 1:32-35). Luke, then, is the Gospel of "the man whose name is The BRANCH" (Zech. 6:12).

Luke has seven chief divisions:

  1. The Evangelist's Introduction (1:1-4).
  2. The human relationships of Jesus (1:5—2:52).
  3. The baptism, ancestry, and testing of Jesus (3:1—4:13).
  4. The ministry of the Son of man as Prophet-King in Galilee (4:14—9:50).
  5. The journey of the Son of Man from Galilee to Jerusalem (9:51—19:44).
  6. The final offer of the Son of man as King to Israel, His rejection and sacrifice (19:45—23:56).
  7. The resurrection, resurrection ministry, and ascension of the Son of man (24:1-53).

The events recorded in this book cover a period of 39 years.


  1. Luke is referred to by the apostle Paul as "the beloved physician" (Col. 4:14).
  2. In addition to being a medical doctor, Luke was a great historian. He was a frequent companion of the apostle Paul, as we see in the book of Acts, a book also written by Luke (cf. Acts 16:10 ff).
  3. When Paul was writing his "swan song" to Timothy, he says, "Only Luke is with me ..." (II Tim. 4:11).
  4. Sir William Ramsay (1851-1939) was a Scottish archaeologist and Bible scholar. He went to Asia Minor to prove that Luke was not an accurate historian. After making a thorough study, Ramsay concluded that Luke had not made one inaccuracy. Ramsay's studies led to his conversion to Christ, and he went on to write several outstanding books about Paul's missionary journeys.
  5. The Scofield Study Bible says Luke "was of Jewish ancestry," but this cannot be proven. Sir William Ramsay, and most other Biblical scholars, were convinced Luke was a Gentile.
  6. Matthew emphasizes that Jesus was born the Jewish Messiah.
    Mark emphasizes that Jesus was the Servant of the Lord.
    Luke stresses the fact that Jesus was the perfect Man.
    John presents the fact that God became a Man.
  7. Luke wrote his Gospel in order to give his readers certainty and assurance about the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • "Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us" (1:1).
  • "Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;" (1:2).
  • "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" (1:3).
  • "That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed" (1:4).

From J. Vernon McGee (Thru the Bible):
Note these special features of Luke's Gospel:

  • Although the Gospel of Luke is one of the synoptic Gospels, it contains many features omitted by Matthew and Mark.
  • Dr. Luke gives us the songs of Christmas.
  • Dr. Luke has the longest account of the virgin birth of Jesus of any of the Gospels. In the first two chapters, he gives us an unabashed record of obstetrics. A clear and candid statement of the Virgin Birth is given by Dr. Luke. All the way from Dr. Luke to Dr. Howard Kelly, a gynecologist at Johns Hopkins, there is a mighty affirmation of the Virgin Birth, which makes the statements of pseudo—theologians seem rather puerile when they unblushingly state that the Virgin Birth is a biological impossibility.
  • Dr. Luke gives us twenty miracles of which six are recorded in no other Gospel.
  • He likewise gives us twenty—three parables, and eighteen of them are found nowhere else. The parables of the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan are peculiar to this third Gospel.
  • He also gives us the very human account of the walk to Emmaus of our resurrected Lord. This proves that Jesus was still human after His resurrection. Dr. Luke demonstrates that the Resurrection was not of the spirit, but of the body. Jesus was "... sown a natural body ... raised a spiritual body ..." (1 Cor. 15:44).
  • A definite human sympathy pervades this Gospel, which reveals the truly human nature of Jesus, as well as the big—hearted sympathy of this physician of the first century who knew firsthand a great deal about the suffering of humanity.
  • Dr. Luke uses more medical terms than Hippocrates, the father of medicine.

Brief Outline (adapted from Know Your Bible by W. Graham Scroggie)

  1. The Annunciation and Advent of the Son of Man (1:1—4:13)
  2. The Announcements and Activities of the Son of Man (4:14—19:27)
  3. The Atonement and Ascension of the Son of Man (19:28—24:53)

These are simple Sunday School survey notes. They are not for sale. The author used many outlines from popular Bible teachers such as C.I. Scofield and J. Vernon McGee, and he has tried to give credit when using their material.

—  Pastor James J. Barker  —