Luke 1

The first chapter of Luke is introductory to the book. It begins with the announcement about the birth of John the Baptist and then announces Christ's birth. Luke 1, which is longer in number of verses than any other chapter in the four Gospels, may be divided into seven major parts as follows:

  1. The Aim of the Gospel (Luke 1:1-4)
  2. The Announcement About John (Luke 1:5-25)
  3. The Announcement About Jesus (Luke 1:26-38)
  4. The Anthem of Elisabeth (Luke 1:39-45)
  5. The Anthem of Mary (Luke 1:46-56)
  6. The Arrival of John (Luke 1:57-66, 80)
  7. The Anthem of Zacharias (Luke 1:67-79)

A. The Aim of the Gospel

Luke 1:1-4

The first few verses of this chapter explain the aim of the book of Luke (which is called the "former treatise" in Acts 1:1).

1. The Precedence for the Aim (Luke 1:1, 2)

The book of Luke had a precedence for its writing. Luke cites that precedence in the first two verses of the book.

The many in the precedence. "Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us" (Luke 1:1). The "many" includes more than just the writers of the Gospels in the canon of the Scriptures. "Many" includes those who had written only portions of the record of Christ. Only Matthew and Mark of the four Gospels had written their Gospel accounts before Luke wrote his account. So "many" would hardly be appropriate for a reference to just the first two Gospel writers.

The message in the precedence. "Those things which are most surely believed among us" (Luke 1:1). We note two things about the message. First, the facts of the message. "Those things." This was the Gospel message, the message about Jesus Christ. Second, the faith in the message. "Believed among us." Luke's message is not about doubts but about what was believed. We need more messages of this kind today.