About the Author:
William Barclay (1907-1978) is known and loved by millions worldwide as one of the greatest Christian teachers of modern times. His insights into the New Testament, combined with his vibrant writing style, have delighted and enlightened readers of all ages for over half a century. He served for most of his life as Professor of Divinity at the University of Glasgow, and wrote more than fifty books--most of which are still in print today. His most popular work, the Daily Study Bible, has been translated into over a dozen languages and has sold more than ten million copies around the world.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
First and foremost, Luke's gospel is an exceedingly careful bit of work. His Greek is notably good. The first four verses are well-nigh the best Greek in the New Testament. In them he claims that his work is the product of the most careful research. His opportunities were ample and his sources must have been good. As the trusted companion of Paul he must have known all the great figures of the Church, and we may be sure that he had them tell their stories to him. For two years he was Paul's companion in imprisonment in Caesarea. In those long days he had every opportunity for study and research and he must have used them well.
An example of Luke's care is the way in which he dates the emergence of John the Baptist. He does so by no fewer than six contemporary datings. 'In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar , Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea , Herod being tetrarch of Galilee , and his brother Philip being tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis , and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene  in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas , the word of God came to John' (Luke 3:1-2, Revised Standard Version). Here is a man who is writing with care and who will be as accurate as it is possible for him to be.
A Historian's Care
The Gospel of Women
In Palestine the place of women was low. In the Jewish morning prayer a man thanks God that he has not made him 'a Gentile, a slave or a woman'. But Luke gives a very special place to women. The birth narrative is told from Mary's point of view. It is in Luke that we read of Elizabeth, of Anna, of the widow at Nain, of the woman who anointed Jesus' feet in the house of Simon the Pharisee. It is Luke who makes vivid the pictures of Martha and Mary and of Mary Magdalene. It is very likely that Luke was a native of Macedonia where women held a more emancipated position than anywhere else; and that may have something to do with it.
The Gospel of Praise
In Luke the phrase praising God occurs oftener than in all the rest of the New Testament put together. This praise reaches its peak in the three great hymns that the Church has sung throughout all her generations - the Magnificat (1:46-55), the Benedictus (1:68-79) and the Nunc Dimittis (2:29-32). There is a radiance in Luke's gospel which is a lovely thing, as if the sheen of heaven had touched the things of earth.
© William Barclay
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