The Structure Of Luke’s Gospel -- By: Simon J. Kistemaker

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 25:1 (Mar 1982)
Article: The Structure Of Luke’s Gospel
Author: Simon J. Kistemaker


The Structure Of Luke’s Gospel

Simon J. Kistemaker*

A survey of the content of the third gospel reveals that Luke devoted the mid-section of his gospel to the so-called “travel narrative1 comprising nearly ten chapters. It is interesting to see that in this particular section (9:51–19:27) he has placed most of the parables of Jesus (only the parables of the wise and foolish builders, the two debtors, and the sower fall outside it). Parables peculiar to Luke’s gospel, with the exception of the one on the two debtors (7:36–50), are all in the travel narrative. If we count a total of 23 parables in the third gospel we see that 16 of them are peculiar to Luke. In the travel narrative, one chapter consists only of parables: chap. 15 (lost sheep, lost coin and lost son). Two chapters that feature parables almost exclusively are chap. 14 (places of honor at table, great banquet, tower builder and warring king) and chap. 16 (shrewd manager, rich man and Lazarus). Besides the parables some of the material in the travel narrative is found only in Luke’s gospel: the home of Mary and Martha (10:38–41), the tower of Siloam (13:1–5), the healing of a crippled woman on the Sabbath (13:10–17), the healing of ten lepers (17:11–19), and Zacchaeus the tax collector (19:1–10).

Chapters 1 and 2 without any break present material peculiar to Luke, and we find this to be true also partly in chaps. 3 and 4. Chapter 23 in part and almost all of chap. 24 contain accounts found only in Luke. Material that parallels Mark’s gospel comprises a sizeable segment of chap. 5, the first seventeen verses of chap. 7, nearly everything of chaps. 8 and 9, a considerable portion of chaps. 18 and 19, all of chap. 20, virtually everything of chap. 21, and a number of verses in chaps. 22 and 23. On the other hand, material that Luke and Matthew have in common is confined to the first half of Luke’s gospel.

By one calculation t...

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