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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

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Commentary on The Gospel According to Luke

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1.1–4 : The preface

follows the form customary in the literature of the period (compare Acts 1.1–5 ).

1 :

Both this Gospel and Acts are dedicated to an unknown Theophilus (lit. “lover of God”), perhaps a Roman official (v. 3 , your excellency; see Acts 23.26 ). Many perhaps should be understood as “several” writers.

3 :

An orderly account may imply some arrangement of materials other than a strictly chronological order.

1.5–80 : Preparation for Jesus' birth.

1.5–25 : The birth of John the Baptist is promised.

5 :

There were twenty-four divisions of the priesthood, to whom the privilege of temple service fell by rotation (v. 8 ).

7 :

Compare Gen. 17.15–18.15 .

9 :

To offer the (morning or evening) incense was a highly cherished honor.

13 :

John: see vv. 60, 63 n.

15 :

There are OT provisions against wine and strong drink for priests (Lev. 10.8–11 ) and Nazirites (Num. 6.1–21 ).

17 :

The words spirit and power of Elijah and allusions to Mal. 3.1; 4.5–6 suggest a near identification of the Baptist and Elijah (see Matt. 11.14; 17.10–13 ) not characteristic of Lk. outside this chapter.

19 :

Gabriel (Dan. 8.16–17; 9.21–22 ) was regarded as the angel of highest rank, especially in the noncanonical book of 1 Enoch.

25 :

Disgrace: the shame associated with barrenness; see 1 Sam. 1.1–20; Ps. 113.9 .

1.26–38 : Jesus' birth promised

(see Matt. 1.18–25 ). As in Matt., the story speaks of a miraculous birth (vv. 34–35 ), stresses Joseph's Davidic descent (vv. 27, 32 ), and emphasizes the child's names or titles (vv. 31, 32, 35 ).

32 :

Son of the Most High: a title for the royal Messiah (see Matt. 1.1 n. ) as is shown by the words, throne of his ancestor David (1 Chr. 17.7–14; Isa. 11.1–10 ).

35 :

Not physical impregnation by a divine being, but a miraculous generation of life through the Spirit is meant.

1.39–56 : Mary visits Elizabeth.

43 :

Luke, as here, frequently uses the title Lord for Jesus; but in vv. 45–46 it refers to God.

46–55 :

The “Magnificat” reads like a very old hymn celebrating God's goodness to Israel (vv. 54–55 ); compare 1 Sam. 2.1–10 .

59 :

Circumcision on the eighth day was prescribed in the Law (Lev. 12.3; Lk. 2.21 ).

60, 63 :

The emphasis shows that the meaning of the name John (“God is gracious”) is important.

1.67–79 : The “Benedictus”

celebrates the coming of the royal Messiah (v. 69 ), the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham (vv. 73–75 ), and John's Elijah-like commission (vv. 76–77; Mal. 3.1; Isa. 40.3; see v. 17 n. ).

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