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Is the book of Luke divinely inspired?

Postby Ghost in my pants » Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:31 pm

I am an ex-atheist who has accepted the gift of Christ and am falling in love with the word of God.

While my perceived difficulties in the Old Testament caused me to fall away from Christ, it is the book of Luke is causing me the most doubt, not in God nor Christ, but in the Bible.

I have found in study that the innumerable “contradictions” that stole me from Christ in my youth were taken wholly out of context and misrepresented, but my experiences with Luke are more troublesomee; while I can reconcile the rest of the Bible I find portions of Luke entirely contrary to not just my faith, but the words of Christ himself by those who actually walked with him.

I specify that since it was a shock to me that Luke was one of the four gospels when he never met Christ, by his own admission at the start of his book:

Luke 1:1 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,
2 Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;
3 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,
4 That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.

I understand Paul likewise hadn’t walked with Christ, but he also had no intention of providing a historical account. The veracity of Paul I save for another time as I haven’t found problems with it so far.

My questions are these:

Why is Luke in the Bible?

Why is Luke considered gospel?

On a more personal note: Are you comfortable with Luke being incorrect, and the rest of the Bible being perfect? Why or why not?
Ghost in my pants
 

Re: Is the book of Luke divinely inspired?

Postby Passion » Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:35 pm

I am having a hard time understanding where you are struggling here. I've read and reread your post a few times and perhaps I am looking too hard for something but I am not really seeing you flesh out particular problems with Luke.

> I have found in study that the innumerable “contradictions” that stole me from Christ in my youth were taken wholly out of context and misrepresented, but my experiences with Luke are more troublesomee; while I can reconcile the rest of the Bible I find portions of Luke entirely contrary to not just my faith, but the words of Christ himself by those who actually walked with him.

When I read this first sentence I understand where you are coming from. In your personal ignorance you saw non issues as significant problems. You later discovered that these were taken out of context and/or misrepresented. Though there was a time when you didn't know that or understand that. I am imagining that we are in the midst of a similar process here.

You state that you find portions of Luke "entirely contrary to not just my faith, but the words of Christ himself..."

Maybe that is worth going into here? In my time interacting with the text I haven't come across anyone that really struggled with Luke before. This could be a good learning experience.

> Are you comfortable with Luke being incorrect, and the rest of the Bible being perfect? Why or why not?

I am of the belief that God inspired men to write down certain things to the benefit of His people throughout all of time. I believe that God had a set number of things intended and that this was indeed executed. The church on the other hand struggled with this but it doesn't change the concept of God having a Canon before the Canon itself was assembled. It was God's will that men wrestle with these texts, formulate a Canon, and then close that canon.

The question you ask is based on your own presuppositions. I don't view Luke as problematic. Usually if there are troublesome spots in the bible where I struggle I usually chalk it up to my own ignorance. I come to the table lacking knowledge and these moments get me into deeper study where I can assess why it is that I am struggling.

I have struggled with certain passages and areas before but Luke has never been one.

Is it your intention that we should only focus on the first four verses as you listed out here? Was there something of more substance that you wanted to address? I just want to get a feel for where you are before fleshing something out.
Passion
 

Re: Is the book of Luke divinely inspired?

Postby Righteous One » Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:38 pm

Would you please elaborate on this part: "I find portions of Luke entirely contrary to ... the words of Christ himself by those who actually walked with him."

Also please explain in what way you consider Luke 'incorrect' as you wrote at the end.

> Why is Luke in the Bible?

Luke is in the Bible because it was widely accepted by the Christians in the first couple centuries.

> Why is Luke considered gospel?

It's called a gospel because it is communicating the good news about Jesus.

> Is the book of Luke divinely inspired?

I might have a different idea of 'divinely inspired' than others have.

I figure that Luke was a believer. Therefore he had the Holy Spirit in him. I suppose that the Holy Spirit guided him in his editing process as he assembled his orderly account, with his choices of what to include or not include.

I don't have a more extreme position that the Holy Spirit indicated to Luke the exact wording of each sentence that he ought to write.

> Are you comfortable with Luke being incorrect, and the rest of the Bible being perfect?

I don't know what you mean by 'the rest of the Bible being perfect', and I don't assert that the rest of the Bible is perfect.
Righteous One
 

Re: Is the book of Luke divinely inspired?

Postby jimwalton » Sat Aug 11, 2018 6:09 pm

Glad to be able to dialogue. I'd love to talk about Luke as deeply as you want.

> I find portions of Luke entirely contrary to not just my faith, but the words of Christ himself by those who actually walked with him.

Luke's is the most socially aware, economically and politically oriented of the 4 Gospels. He interweaves themes of gender equality, justice, caring for the poor, wealth and poverty, persecution and suffering, and above all, salvation. He paints Jesus as the prophet who is the fulfillment of OT prophecy, as the Spirit-empowered servant, as God walking in history. he paints a strong picture of Jesus as God while doing all this.

What did he write that is contrary to your faith? And what did he write that is contrary to the words of Christ as recorded by eyewitnesses? We can discuss them when I find out what they are.

It's also true, as you noticed, that Luke is not an eyewitness. He must have had access to eyewitnesses, though, because he tells the story from his interviews of people who were there. The Church Fathers found his renderings to be so authoritative and reliable that there is unanimous attestation from the early church about the Gospel and about Luke as the author.

> Why is Luke in the Bible? Why is Luke considered gospel?

He is telling an authoritative and authentic biography (Lk. 1.4) of Jesus that came from primary sources (apostles and eyewitnesses, Lk. 1.3). Even in the 1st century he is quoted as an authoritative source (Ignatius, Clement, Hermas), as well as continuing into the second (Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus). His Gospel is never disputed as belonging in the canon, nor is his authorship of it ever contested.

> Are you comfortable with Luke being incorrect, and the rest of the Bible being perfect? Why or why not?

We would have to speak of specific examples rather than comment in generalities. If you're referring to Quirinius, the jury is still out on that one. If you're talking about the empire-wide taxation, there is good evidence to support it. If you're talking about something else, I'd have to know that to discuss it.
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Re: Is the book of Luke divinely inspired?

Postby Ghost in my pants » Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:14 pm

>Luke's is the most socially aware, economically and politically oriented of the 4 Gospels

Is this supposed to be a selling point? Man created society, economics, and politics. Man is also sinful in nature.

> He interweaves themes

This is my complaint, not an argument against it. We have 4 gospels, 3 were written by men who walked with Christ, preached with Christ, watched Christ be murdered and resurrected, and went to perform miracles.

And Luke... was some guy who skimmed the batch and added shit in that didn’t actually exist in the 3 gospels.

> What did he write that is contrary to your faith?

I touched on this in another post, pasted here. These are the big problems, but I have more: "The biggest thorn in my side is that this is the only place I know of that the afterlife for sinners is described as torment. Christ tells us the wages of sin are death, not torment. In revelations, sinners are given the second death, not torment. Throughout the Bible, god is just. Eternal torment for a finite sin is not just. Destruction for not accepting god’s will to rejoin him is. There are dozens, possibly more than a hundred, verses that directly dispute luke’s Story of Lazarus. Unlike the other gospels that share stories, Luke’s is unique in several ways: it isn’t found in the texts he studied, it is the only parable in which Christ give characters names, and it denies many declarative statements by Christ himself."

"He is telling an authoritative and authentic biograph"

Moreso than the men who actually saw his face and embraced him?! Moreso than those who saw him die and be ressuredted?!

I put this to you: what does Luke ADD to the Bible? Why was his account necessary at all, given that we have three people who walked, mourned, and praised him? Why was Luke necessary?
Ghost in my pants
 

Re: Is the book of Luke divinely inspired?

Postby jimwalton » Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:53 pm

Thanks for good conversation.

> Is this supposed to be a selling point?

Not necessarily, just talking about the truth of some of Luke's distinctives. We're just trying to get at what's true, right?

> Man created society, economics, and politics.

It's indisputable that man created society, since society is a group of people functioning with each other. Economics also, since economics is the dynamics of our financial interaction as humans. Politics may be different since Romans 13.1-8 conveys that God instituted government for certain benefits that government has over anarchy.

But all of this may be essentially moot since, despite that man created society and economics and inevitably certain aspects of politics, God is able to interact with humans on all of these levels, and that would be part of what Luke is writing about.

> And Luke... was some guy who skimmed the batch and added shit in that didn’t actually exist in the 3 gospels.

Actually Luke adds an aspect as a Gentile intellectual that we don't get with the other Gospel writers (the others being Palestinian Jews). According to Luke 1.1-4, it's inappropriate to accuse Luke of "skimming the batch," since he did allegedly scholarly research to compile his narrative, including many unique elements not in the other Gospels. Because he has elements "that didn't actually exist in the 3 Gospels" is not particularly a detriment. If all the Gospels were identical, we'd ask "What's the point of 4 accounts?" If the Gospels stress different aspects, we say they're different. So we're judged if they're too similar, and judged if they're too different. It's a pretty narrow band of acceptability for the critics to demand. But I think the Gospels actually achieve that razor's edge. They are similar enough, yet different enough, to corroborate information and yet also give us vantage points of interest.

> this is the only place I know of that the afterlife for sinners is described as torment.

You know, I appreciate this conversation. Thanks.

Luke is certainly not the only Gospel writer who mentions the afterlife as a place of torment. Jesus mentions punishment in the afterlife in all of the other 3 Gospels, as well as Revelation:

    * Matthew (5.22, 29-30; 10.28; specifically as torment in 8.12; 13.42, 49; 18.8-9; 22.13; 24.51; 25.30, especially 25.46, possibly 13.30, 40; 21.41)
    * Mark (9.43-48)
    * John (possibly in 15.6; possibly in 3.18 where condemnation will result in perishing which is contrasted to eternal life, so it may entail an eternal condemnation, also in 5.28. There are many places in John where those who believe are given eternal life, implying that those who do not will bear eternal condemnation [such as Jn. 12.44-50]).
    * Revelation (the second death is described as a lake of fire in Rev. 20.14-15, implying torment as in 20.10).

So I don't agree with you on the basis of this evidence.

> Eternal torment for a finite sin is not just.

Not all Christians, you should know, believe in the traditional concept of hell (eternal punishment for finite sin). There are theories about reconcilationism, semi-restorationism, modified eternalism, and annihilationism, all with some kind of scriptural backing. In other words, hell isn't necessarily eternal for all who enter it. It may only be eternal for those who absolutely, stubbornly, and persistently refuse to be reconciled.

I also don't believe that hell is fire. Hell is not "One Fire Tortures All." Fire is just the image of untold suffering, which is what one will experience when separated from God. We have strong hints that there are different degrees of punishment in hell (totally unlike the different levels of hell as in Dante's Divine Comedy, which is not Scripture).

    * Matthew 11.22-24 & Luke 10.12: Jesus says it will be “more tolerable” for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah than for the people of Capernaum. That would indicate to me a more harsh punishment and a less harsh punishment.
    * Matthew 23.14: Jesus tells the Pharisees they will be punished more severely for the way they are deceiving the people and living as hypocrites.
    * Revelation 20.13: Each is going to be judged according to what he has done. Since that is the case, then the punishments and rewards can’t be the same for everybody.
    * and finally, Luke 12.47-48 (workers are punished with more or fewer blows). There are degrees of punishment, and even sins of ignorance are treated differently than sins of intention.

Why I bother to point this out is because often those who consider hell to be messed up are picturing the same punishment for all, which is most likely not the case, and infinite punishment for finite crimes, which may also not be the case. People will be punished according to the works they have done (2 Corinthians 5.10).

So, with all that has been said, and with all the disagreements, even from Christians, about hell, I can conclude with confidence with this statement: Those who turn away from God will be separated from the life of God. Though we can’t be sure about the form or duration of that separation, this we can be sure of: it will be a horrible experience, and God will be fair about the form and duration of it. If you reject God, you take your chances.

> "He is telling an authoritative and authentic biograph" - Moreso than the men who actually saw his face and embraced him?! Moreso than those who saw him die and be ressuredted?!

Why do you doubt that someone can do research and arrive at reliable information, just as reliable as those who saw his face and embraced him? I read a biography of Abraham Lincoln by Pulitzer Prize winner David Herbert Donald (https://www.amazon.com/Lincoln-David-Herbert-Donald/dp/068482535X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1534185229&sr=1-1&keywords=abraham+lincoln+david+donald), and "At Dawn We Slept" by Gordon Prange (https://www.amazon.com/At-Dawn-We-Slept-Untold/dp/0140157344/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1534185271&sr=1-1&keywords=at+dawn+we+slept). Should I not trust these works because they are researched and not personally witnessed?

> I put this to you: what does Luke ADD to the Bible? Why was his account necessary at all, given that we have three people who walked, mourned, and praised him? Why was Luke necessary?

Luke's Gospel is more uniquely oriented to the Gentile Christian than the other three (though Mark has some similarities in that area). He is showing more than the others that Jesus is for the whole world, not just for the Jews. As I mentioned, Luke speaks more than the other 3 of gender equality, justice, caring for the poor, wealth and poverty, persecution and suffering, and salvation. He writes of Gentile inclusion (though Matthew deals with this as well).

Luke's Christology is functional, not ontological, much more so than the other Gospels. Jesus is understood in terms of what he does and how God's kingdom plays itself out in the real world (economic, political, etc.).

Personally, I appreciate what Luke brings to us: Jesus whose kingdom preaching and actions reach into every part of life. John advises Gentile soldiers about morality. Jesus's message in Nazareth (4.18) is about poverty, prisoners, the sick and the oppressed. Jesus's message is distinctly for everyone, not just Israel (4.25-27). Luke's rendition of the Sermon on the Mount (6.20-49) is so strongly about economic justice, social equality, and community morality. Jesus interacts with a Gentile centurion (7.1-10), praising him for his faith. The book is filled with a unique perspective about the Gospel in culture. I happen to love it.
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Re: Is the book of Luke divinely inspired?

Postby Ghost in my pants » Mon Aug 20, 2018 3:33 pm

Likewise forgive me for taking so long to respond. I am confused as to why the uniqueness of luke is valuable to you, considering the advice of christ: "But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established."

Additionally I’ll say that your praise of Luke is adding something you like. I repeat that he never walked with Christ nor was his story passed from those that walked with Christ directly. He read such stories and injected that which didn’t exist in them to them. If he only sources were from those that walked with Christ, why does his account differ so greatly from the rest?

On judgement, which I lightly accuse you of not actually reading but copying from another with undue trust:

> Matthew 5:22

No Christian claims there is no danger in hellfire. This is quite different from unending torment.

> 29-30

Likewise this is not unending torment, but advice that earthly loss is better than the loss of the spirit.

> 10:28

Supports me much more than you, as it is about the destruction, rather than eternal torment, of the lost.

> especially as in [verses referencing the weeping and gnashing of teeth]

There is absolutely nothing eternal in these verses, and the reaction is quite natural (rather than imposed) on those who realize their current state of affairs. This is not imposed torment, weeping and gnashing of teeth is a common occurance at funerals of an society.

> mark 9

Again you are citing things that have nothing to do with the afterlife, but how we should address our current life. Is losing your hand not worse than your soul?

> John

Did Christ not promise everlasting life on those that believe in him? Did John not hear him?

> revelation

What is the second death to you? We all suffer the first death, but Christ gave us everlasting life. Isn’t the second death for those that refused this gift?

Isn’t death different than suffering? How can one believe in the second death and still claim hell is a continuous punishments? Did not god promise to cleanse the worlds? Did god not throw your perceived eternal punishment into the lake of fire that kills even death?

> I disagree that eternal torment for sin is not just. I’ll pause here and commend you. It certainly is not, but God also doesn’t execute such a judgement. Eternal punishment is not a biblical concept. And, in the spirit of this thread, torment is not a concept after death save Luke. That is the crux on my complaint.

> hell is subjective

This is a problem. God didn’t make hell to satisfy mortals, otherwise someone could subjectively decide hell is heaven and. It all doesn’t matter.

Hell is the destruction. Or more widely, the purification. Hell is destined for those who are not worthy of imbuing God. There is no need to torment them, but there is a need to remove them.

> more verses that have nothing to do withetwrnal hellfire.

I do appreciate your effort, but do I really need to address these one by one?

I will, and gladly. I just wonder if you actually feel like you have supplied an argument that supports a sinner dying and being tormented for all of time.

I suggest that you have not. I also suggest that you know you have not, and have supplied these verses for other reasons.
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Re: Is the book of Luke divinely inspired?

Postby jimwalton » Sat Sep 29, 2018 12:21 pm

> I am confused as to why the uniqueness of lukemis valuable to you, considering the advice of christ: "But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established."

You lost me with this quote (I presume Matt. 18.16). I think you are saying that 3 Gospel witnesses are sufficient. Is that it? The problem with using that references is exegetical. The Matthew text is about showing faults to a brother who sins against you, not on establishing truth. It's a quote from Deut. 19.15. The function of the witnesses is most likely to provide witnesses to the confrontation if the case has to go any further. You've misused the text if you want to apply it to your thesis about Luke's value.

> I’ll say that your praise of Luke is adding something you like. I repeat that he never walked with Christ nor was his story passed from those that walked with Christ directly.

Not at all. My praise of Luke is based on its uniqueness as a vantage point and the elements Luke brings to the table that the other Gospel writers do not. You make it seem as if Luke should have nothing to say about Jesus if he didn't know Him as He walked the earth. In that case we're all in trouble. The criteria for the ancient Church to include inspired accounts of Jesus (the Gospels) was those who had been with him or those who knew those who had been with him. Luke qualifies for the second. After the first century, we can't have any more Gospels for that very reason. But Luke qualifies, and the ancient Church was unanimous in affirming the authority of Luke. Not a single source claims that Luke doesn't belong in the Bible. You stand in a place of disagreement with those who were much closer to the situation than you or I. And they were without dissent. The uniform testimony of the ancient Church was the Luke was the author, and there is no record of any doubt or contention that it should be included in the Bible.

> He read such stories and injected that which didn’t exist in them to them.

You need to prove this, brother, or back off. What did he put in that you can substantiate does not exist?

> On judgement, which I lightly accuse you of not actually reading but copying from another with undue trust:

Please. About this you are deeply wrong.

> Matt. 5.22

The word Jesus uses is γέενναν (Gehenna), the very word used for "the fire that is never quenched" (Mt. 5.30; Mk. 9.43). The message is one of unending torment. It is contrasted with the judgment of death in Mt. 5.21. What comes in 5.22 is far more than just death.

Gehenna should never be confused with Hades, which is never used as a place of punishment.

> Mt. 5.29-30

Jesus, in his reference to Gehenna, is making a contrast with suffering that is temporary (the gouging out of an eye or cutting off a hand).

> but advice that earthly loss is better than the loss of the spirit.

You're adding to the text, and reading something into it that isn't there. The text says nothing about the spirit.

> Matt. 10.28

Again, Matthew's comparison is between the killing (ἀποκτεινόντων) of something temporary and physical vs. the destruction (ἀπόλλυμι) of the soul. This speaks of not just a moral physical existence (the former), but of and eternal plunge into torment in Gehenna. The contrast is also between eternal life (Mt. 10.39, 32) and this destruction, which is obviously distinct from death (v. 28).

> Did Christ not promise everlasting life on those that believe in him? Did John not hear him?

Of course Jesus promised this. Of course John heard him. I don't get why you brought this up. Did you read what I said?

> John (possibly in 15.6; possibly in 3.18 where condemnation will result in perishing which is contrasted to eternal life, so it may entail an eternal condemnation, also in 5.28. There are many places in John where those who believe are given eternal life, implying that those who do not will bear eternal condemnation [such as Jn. 12.44-50]).

> What is the second death to you? We all suffer the first death, but Christ gave us everlasting life. Isn’t the second death for those that refused this gift?

Yes, you're correct. The second death is utter forsakenness by God, and it goes to those who refuse God's gift of salvation. It is mentioned three times in the Bible, all in Revelation (2.11, 20.6 & 21.8). Those subject to the second death are cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20.14-15). It points in the same direction as 2 Thes. 1.9. The idea is also present in Dan. 12.2 and Jn. 5.29.

> Isn’t death different than suffering?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Death for Christians is called "sleeping." It doesn't necessitate cessation but rather implies a continuance.

> Did not god promise to cleanse the worlds?

?????? Not that I know of. From where does this come?

> Did god not throw your perceived eternal punishment into the lake of fire that kills even death?

That's an interpretation, and not an accurate one, by my research. There is no indication that the lake of fire kills death. It perpetuate suffering. Whatever is happening in the second death is distinct from the first death. The beast and his false prophet are thrown there, in contrast with those who are killed (Rev. 19.20-21). In Rev. 20.10, those in the lake of fire are tormented day and night for ever and ever. I'm confident that your interpretation doesn't hold.

> Hell is the destruction.

Hell is Gehenna, which is described as "where the worm doesn't die and the fire is not quenched. The lake of fire is described as "tormented day and night for ever and ever." Where do you get that hell is not torment? 2 Thes. 1.9 says they will be punished with "everlasting destruction" (the same "everlasting" word often used to describe the everlasting life of believers).

> Or more widely, the purification.

Now I will have to challenge you again. Where is hell described as a purification?

I can only teach what the Bible does. The ball is in your court.


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