The gospel of Luke.

Our third canonical gospel.


Attributed author(s).
Luke the physician.

Text(s) available.
Luke 1-3, 4-6, 7-9, 10-12, 13-15, 16-18, 19-21, 22-24 (on site, Greek only).
Online Greek Bible (Greek only).
Bible Gateway (English only).
HTML Bible: Luke 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 (Greek and English).
HTML Bible: Luke 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 (Latin Vulgate only).
Zhubert (Greek and English).
Kata Pi: Luke 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 (Greek and English).
Kata Pi LXX: Odes 11 (magnificat), 12 (nunc dimittis), 13 (benedictus).
Sacred Texts: Luke 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 (polyglot).
Sacred Texts: Odes 9 (magnificat and benedictus), 13 (nunc dimittis).

Useful links.
Listed inventory of the gospel of Luke (on site).
Synoptic project (on site).
Luke at the NT Gateway.
Luke at Early Christian Writings.
Luke by Daniel Wallace.
Luke in the Catholic Encyclopedia.
Luke at Kata Pi (R. M. Grant).
ECW e-Catena: Luke 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.
Mark Goodacre, NT Gateway Blog:

Lucan parallels to the Olivet discourse.
Gospel manuscripts.
As your father (Luke 6.27-36).
Measure for measure (Luke 6.31, 36-38).
The five apocalyptic moments in the synoptic gospels.

Patristic tradition attributes our third canonical gospel to Luke, a physician and associate of the apostle Paul (Colossians 4.14; 2 Timothy 4.11; Philemon 24). Also attributed to Luke is the Acts of the Apostles, which claims by its preface (Acts 1.1-2) to have been written by the same individual as the gospel of Luke (see Luke 1.1-4) and by its use of the first person (Acts 16.9-18; 20.4-16; 21.1-18; 27.1-28.16) to have been written by a sometime travelling companion of Paul.

Papias.

Early century I.

An Armenian translation of the commentary on Revelation by Andrew of Caesarea contains the following concerning Papias:

And Papias spoke in the following manner in his treatises: ...the victory of Michael and his legions, the guardians of mankind, became complete, and the dragon could resist no more because the death of Christ exposed him to ridicule and threw him to earth, concerning which Christ said: I was seeing Satan fallen from heaven like a lightning bolt.

To all appearances, according to this quotation, Papias is alluding to Luke 10.18. It has also been noticed that what Papias has to say about the gospel of Mark resembles the preface of Luke in some respects.

Marcion.

Early or middle of century II.

Tertullian, Against Marcion 4.4.3-5a (English translation slightly modified from that of Evans):

Quod ergo pertinet ad evangelium interim Lucae, quatenus communio eius inter nos et Marcionem de veritate disceptat, adeo antiquius Marcione est quod est secundum nos, ut et ipse illi Marcion aliquando crediderit, cum et pecuniam in primo calore fidei catholicae ecclesiae contulit, proiectam mox cum ipso, posteaquam in haeresim suam a nostra veritate descivit. quid nunc, si negaverint Marcionitae primam apud nos fidem eius, adversus epistulam quoque ipsius? quid si nec epistulam agnoverint?

So then meanwhile, as concerns the gospel of Luke, seeing that the use of it shared between us and Marcion becomes an arbiter of the truth, our version of it is to such an extent older than Marcion that Marcion himself once believed it. That was when in the first warmth of faith he presented the catholic church with that money which was before long cast out along with him after he had diverged from our truth into his own heresy. What now, if the Marcionites are going to deny that his faith at first was with us, even against the evidence of his own epistle? What if they refuse to acknowledge that epistle?

Certe Antitheses non modo fatentur Marcionis, sed et praeferunt. ex his mihi probatio sufficit. si enim id evangelium quod Lucae refertur penes nos, viderimus an et penes Marcionem, ipsum est quod Marcion per Antitheses suas arguit ut interpolatum a protectoribus Iudaismi ad concorporationem legis et prophetarum, qua etiam Christum inde confingerent, utique non potuisset arguere nisi quod invenerat.

Certainly the Antitheses of Marcion not only admit this, but even make a show of it. Proof taken from them is good enough for me. If that gospel which among us is ascribed to Luke, and we shall see whether it is [accepted by] Marcion, if that is the same that Marcion by his Antitheses accuses of having been falsified by the upholders of Judaism with a view to its being so combined in one body with the law and the prophets that they might also pretend that Christ had that origin, evidently he could only have brought accusation against something he had found there already.

Nemo post futura reprehendit quae ignorat futura. Emendatio culpam non antecedit.

No one passes censure on things afterwards to be, when he does not know they are afterwards to be. Correction does not come before fault.

Anti-Marcionite prologues.

Late century II?

These Latin prologues, also called the Old Latin prologues, precede each of the gospels in some copies of the Latin Bible. Scholars disagree as to their exact date, but many place them in the late second century. A Matthean prologue is not extant.

Irenaeus.

Late century II.

Irenaeus of Lyons refers explicitly to all four canonical gospels.

Irenaeus, Against Heresies 3.14.2-4:

Quoniam autem Paulus simpliciter quae sciebat haec et docuit, non solum eos qui cum eo erant verum omnes audientes se ipse facit manifestum. in Mileto enim convocatis episcopis et presbyteris qui erant ab Epheso et a reliquis proximis civitatibus quoniam ipse festinaret Hierosolymis Pentecosten agere, multa testificans eis et dicens quae oportet ei Hierosolymis evenire adiecit: Scio quoniam iam non videbitis faciem meam. testificor igitur vobis hac die quoniam mundus sum a sanguine omnium. non enim subtraxi uti non adnuntiarem vobis omnem sententiam dei. adtendite igitur et vobis et omni gregi in quo vos spiritus sanctus praeposuit episcopos regere ecclesiam domini quam sibi constituit per sanguinem suum. dein significans futuros malos doctores dixit: Ego scio quoniam advenient post discessum meum lupi graves ad vos, non parcentes gregi. et ex vobis ipsis exsurgent viri loquentes perversa uti convertant discipulos post se. Non subtraxi, inquit, uti non adnuntiarem omnem sententiam dei vobis, sic apostoli simpliciter et nemini invidentes quae didicerant ipsi a domino haec omnibus tradebant, sic igitur et Lucas nemini invidens ea quae ab eis didicerat tradidit nobis, sicut ipse testificatur, dicens: Quemadmodum tradiderunt nobis qui ab initio contemplatores et ministri fuerunt verbi.

But that Paul taught with simplicity what he knew, not only to those who were with him but also to those who heard him, he does himself make manifest. For, when the bishops and presbyters who came from Ephesus and the other cities adjoining had assembled in Miletus, since he was himself hastening to Jerusalem to observe Pentecost, after testifying many things to them and declaring what must happen to him at Jerusalem he added: I know that you shall see my face no more. Therefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed, therefore, both to yourselves and to all the flock over which the holy spirit has placed you as bishops, to rule the church of the Lord which he has acquired for himself through His own blood. Then, referring to the evil teachers who should arise, he said: I know that after my departure shall grievous wolves come to you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. I have not shunned, he says, to declare unto you all the counsel of God.1 Thus did the apostles simply, and without respect of persons, deliver to all what they had themselves learned from the Lord. Thus also does Luke, without respect of persons, deliver to us what he had learned from them, as he has himself testified, saying: Even as they delivered them unto us, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word.2

1 Refer to Acts 20.15-38.
2 Refer to Luke 1.2.

Si autem quis refutet Lucam quasi non cognoverit veritatem, manifestus erit proiciens evangelium cuius dignatur esse discipulus. plurima enim et magis necessaria evangelii per hunc cognovimus, sicut: Iohannis generationem et de Zacharia historiam, et adventum angeli ad Mariam, et exclamationem Elizabeth, et angelorum ad pastores descensum et ea quae ab illis dicta sunt, et Annae et Simeonis de Christo testimonium, et quod XII annorum in Hierusalem relicius sit, et baptismum Iohannis et quot annorum dominus baptizatus sit et quia in XV anno Tiberii Caesaris, et in magisterio illud quod ad divites dictum est: Vae vobis, divites, quoniam percipitis consolationem vestram; vae vobis qui satiati estis, quoniam esurietis; et qui ridetis nunc, quoniam plorabitis; et: Vae vobis cum benedixerint vos omnes homines. secundum haec enim faciebant ei pseudoprophetis patres vestri. et omnia huiusmodi per solum Lucam cognovimus, et plurimos actus domini per hunc didicimus quibus ei omnes utuntur, ut multitudinem piscium quam concluserunt hi qui cum Petro erant, iubente domino ut mitterent retia, et illa quae per decem et octo annos passa curata hac die, et quemadmodum docuit discipulos primos discubitus non adpetere, et quoniam pauperes et debiles vocare oportet qui non habent retribuere, et qui pulsat noctu sumere panes et propter instantiam inportunitatis sumit, et quoniam apud Pharisaeum recumbente eo, peccatrix mulier osculabatur pedes eius et unguebat unguento, et quaecumque propter eam dixit ad Symonem dominus de duobus debitoribus, et de parabola divitis illius qui reclusit quae ei nata fuerant, cui et dictum est: In hac nocte expostulabunt animam tuam a te; quae autem praeparasti, cuius erunt? similiter autem et divitis qui vestitur purpuram et locumdatur nitide et egenum Elazarum, et eam quam ad discentes suos dixit responsionem quando dixerunt ei: Adice nobis fidem, et eam quae ad Zachaeum publicanum facta est confabulationem, et de Pharisaeo et de publicano qui simul adorabant in templo, et de decem leprosis quos simul emundavit in via, et quoniam de vicis et plateis claudos et luscos lussit colligi ad nuptias, et parabolam iudicis qui deum non timebat, quem instantia viduae fecit ut vindicaret eam, et de arbore fici quae erat in vinea, quae non faciebat fructum. et alia multa sunt quae inveniri possunt a solo Luca dicta esse, quibus et Marcion et Valentinus utuntur. et super haec omnia, post resurrectionem in via ad discipulos suos quae locutus est et quemadmodum cognoverunt eum in fractione panis.

Now, if any man sets Luke aside as one who did not know the truth, he will manifestly reject that gospel of which he claims to be a disciple. For through him we have become acquainted with very many and important parts of the gospel, for instance, the generation of John,1 the history of Zacharias,2 the coming of the angel to Mary,3 the exclamation of Elizabeth,4 the descent of the angels to the shepherds,5 the words spoken by them,6 the testimony of Anna and of Simeon with regard to Christ,7 and that at twelve years of age he was left behind at Jerusalem,8 also the baptism of John,9 the number of years of the Lord when he was baptized,10 and that this occurred in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar.11 And in his office of teacher this is what he has said to the rich: Woe unto you that are rich, for you have received your consolation, and woe unto you who are full, for you shall hunger, and you who laugh now, for you shall weep, and woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you, for so did your fathers to the false prophets.12 All things of the following kind we have known through Luke alone, and numerous actions of the Lord we have learned through him, which also all notice, [namely] the multitude of fishes which the companions of Peter enclosed, when at the command of the Lord they cast the nets,13 the woman who had suffered for eighteen years and was healed on the sabbath day,14 the man who had the dropsy, whom the Lord made whole on the sabbath, and how he did defend himself for having performed an act of healing on that day,15 how he taught his disciples not to aspire to the uppermost rooms,16 how we should invite the poor and feeble, who cannot recompense us;17 the man who knocked during the night to obtain loaves, and did obtain them, because of the urgency of his importunity;18 how when hewas sitting at meat with a Pharisee a woman that was a sinner kissed his feet and anointed them with ointment,19 with what the Lord said to Simon on her behalf concerning the two debtors,20 also about the parable of that rich man who stored up the goods which had accrued to him, to whom it was also said: In this night they shall demand your soul from you; whose then shall those things be which you have prepared?,21 and, similar to this, that of the rich man who was clothed in purple and who fared sumptuously, and the indigent Lazarus,22 also the answer which he gave to his disciples when they said: Increase our faith,23 also his conversation with Zaccheus the publican,24 also about the Pharisee and the publican who were praying in the temple at the same time,25 also the ten lepers whom he cleansed simultaneously on the way,26 also how he ordered the lame and the blind to be gathered to the wedding from the lanes and streets;27 also the parable of the judge who feared not God, whom the importunity of the widow led to avenge her cause,28 and about the fig tree in the vineyard which produced no fruit.29 There are also many other particulars to be found mentioned by Luke alone, which are made use of both by Marcion and by Valentinus. And, besides all these, [he records] what he said to his disciples in the way, after the resurrection, and how they recognized him in the breaking of bread.30

1 Refer to Luke 1.57 and context.
2 Refer to Luke 1.5-23.
3 Refer to Luke 1.26-38.
4 Refer to Luke 1.42-45.
5 Refer to Luke 1.8-14.
6 Refer to Luke 1.15.
7 Refer to Luke 2.25-38.
8 Refer to Luke 2.41-51.
9 Refer to Luke 3.10-14.
10 Refer to Luke 3.23.
11 Refer to Luke 3.1.
12 Refer to Luke 6.24-26.
13 Refer to Luke 5.1-11.
14 Refer to Luke 13.11-17.
15 Refer to Luke 14.1-6.
16 Refer to Luke 14.7-11.
17 Refer to Luke 14.12-14.
18 Refer to Luke 11.5-8.
19 Refer to Luke 7.36-38.
20 Refer to Luke 7.40-43.
21 Refer to Luke 12.16-21.
22 Refer to Luke 16.19-31.
23 Refer to Luke 17.5-6.
24 Refer to Luke 19.2-10.
25 Refer to Luke 18.10-14.
26 Refer to Luke 17.12-19.
27 Refer to Luke 14.16-24.
28 Refer to Luke 18.1-8.
29 Refer to Luke 13.6-9.
30 Refer to Luke 24.13-32.

Necesse est igitur et reliqua quae ab eo dicta sunt recipere eos aut et his renuntiare. non enim conceditur eis ab his qui sensum habent quaedam quidem recipere ex his quae a Luca dicta sunt quasi sint veritatis, quaedam vero refutare quasi non cognovisset veritatem. et si quidem refutaverint hi qui a Marcione sunt, non habebunt evangelium; hoc enim quod est secundum Lucam quemadmodum praediximus decurtantes, gloriantur habere se evangelium. hi vero qui a Valentino sunt cessabunt a plurimo vaniloquio suo, ex hoc enim multas occasiones subtililoquii sui acceperunt, interpretari audentes male quae ab hoc bene sunt dicta. si autem et reliqua suscipere cogentur, intendentes perfecto evangelio et apostolorum doctrinae, oportet eos paenitentiam agere ut salvari a periculo possini.

It follows then, as of course, that these men must either receive the rest of his narrative or else reject these parts also. For no persons of common sense can permit them to receive some things recounted by Luke as being true and to set others aside, as if he had not known the truth. And, if indeed the followers of Marcion reject these, they will then possess no gospel; for, curtailing that according to Luke, as I have said already, they boast in having the gospel [in what remains]. But the followers of Valentinus must give up their utterly vain talk; for they have taken from it many occasions for their own speculations, to put an evil interpretation upon what he has well said. If, on the other hand, they feel compelled to receive the remaining portions also, then by studying the perfect gospel and the doctrine of the apostles they will find it necessary to repent, that they may be saved from the danger.

The Muratorian canon.

Late century II.

This canonical list witnesses to the gospel of Luke directly.

Theophilus of Antioch.

Late century II.

Jerome writes in epistle 121 that Theophilus compiled the sayings of the four evangelists into one work, and he refers in general to inspired gospels (in the plural).

Theophilus also quotes from or alludes to Matthew 5.32 = Luke 16.18 in To Autolycus 3.13:

Η δε ευαγγελιος φωνη επιτατικωτερον διδασκει περι αγνειας, λεγουσα· Πας ο ιδων γυναικα αλλοτριαν προς το επιθυμησαι αυτην ηδη εμοιχευσεν αυτην εν τη καρδια αυτου. και ο γαμων, φησιν, απολελυμενην απο ανδρος μοιχευει, και ος απολυει γυναικα παρεκτος λογου πορνειας ποιει αυτην μοιχευθηναι.

And the evangelical voice teaches more urgently concerning chastity, saying: Every one who looks upon another woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.1 And the one who marries, it says, a woman divorced from the man commits adultery, and whoever divorces his wife except by reason of fornication makes her commit adultery.2

1 Refer to Matthew 5.28.
2 Refer to Matthew 5.32 = Luke 16.18.

In To Autolycus 3.14 he quotes from or alludes to Matthew 5.44, 46 = Luke 6.28, 32:

Το δε ευαγγελιον· Αγαπατε, φησιν, τους εχθρους υμων και προσευχεσθε υπερ των επηρεαζοντων υμας. εαν γαρ αγαπατε τους αγαπωντας υμας, ποιον μισθον εχετε; τουτο και οι λησται και οι τελωναι ποιουσιν. τους δε ποιουντας το αγαθον διδασκει μη καυχασθαι, ινα μη ανθρωπαρεσκοι ωσιν. Μη γνωτω, γαρ φησιν, η χειρ σου η αριστερα τι ποιει η χειρ σου η δεξια. ετι μην και περι του υποτασσεσθαι αρχαις και εξουσιαις, και ευχεσθαι υπερ αυτων, κελευει ημας ο θειος λογος, οπως ηρεμον και ησυχιον βιον διαγωμεν. και διδασκει αποδιδοναι πασιν τα παντα, τω την τιμην την τιμην, τω τον φοβον τον φοβον, τω τον φορον τον φορον, μηδενι μηδεν οφελειν η μονον το αγαπαν παντας.

And the gospel says: Love your enemies, and pray on behalf of those who revile you. For, if you love those who love you, what kind of reward do you have? Even the thieves and tax-collectors do this.1 And it teaches those who do good not to boast, lest they become pleasers of men. For it says: Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.2 Moreover, also concerning subjection to rulers and authorities, and prayer on their behalf, the divine word gives us orders, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life.3 And it teaches to render all things to all, honor to whom honor, fear to whom fear, tax to whom tax, [and] to owe nothing to anyone except only to love all.4

1 Refer to Matthew 5.44, 46 = Luke 6.28, 32.
2 Refer to Matthew 6.3.
3 Refer to 1 Timothy 2.2.
4 Refer to Romans 13.7-8.

Clement of Alexandria.

Late century II.

From Eusebius, History of the Church 6.14.5-7:

Αυθις δ εν τοις αυτοις ο Κλημης βιβλιοις περι της ταξεως των ευαγγελιων παραδοσιν των ανεκαθεν πρεσβυτερων τεθειται τουτον εχουσαν τον τροπον· Προγεγραφθαι ελεγεν των ευαγγελιων τα περιεχοντα τας γενεαλογιας, το δε κατα Μαρκον ταυτην εσχηκεναι την οικονομιαν· του Πετρου δημοσια εν Ρωμη κηρυξαντος τον λογον και πνευματι το ευαγγελιον εξειποντος, τους παροντας, πολλους οντας, παρακαλεσαι τον Μαρκον, ως αν ακολουθησαντα αυτω πορρωθεν και μεμνημενον των λεχθεντων, αναγραψαι τα ειρημενα, ποιησαντα δε το ευαγγελιον μεταδουναι τοις δεομενοις αυτου· οπερ επιγνοντα τον Πετρον προτρεπτικως μητε κωλυσαι μητε προτρεψασθαι. τον μεντοι Ιωαννην εσχατον, συνιδοντα οτι τα σωματικα εν τοις ευαγγελιοις δεδηλωται, προτραπεντα υπο των γνωριμων, πνευματι θεοφορηθεντα, πνευματικον ποιησαι ευαγγελιον. τοσαυτα ο Κλημης.

And again in the same books Clement sets the tradition of the earliest elders concerning the order of the gospels, in this way: He says that those of the gospels having the genealogies were published openly,* but that the gospel according to Mark had this economy: While Peter was preaching the word publicly in Rome and speaking out the gospel by the spirit, those who were present, who were many, called upon Mark, as having followed him from far back and remembering what was said, to write up the things that were said, and having made the gospel he gave it out to those who had requested it. When Peter came to know, he neither directly prevented nor encouraged it. But John, last of all, knowing that the bodily facts had been made clear in the gospels, urged by friends, borne by the spirit of God, made a spiritual gospel. So much for Clement.

* For translational details on the verb προγεγραφθαι, see the online article by Stephen Carlson.

Tertullian.

Early century III.

Tertullian affirms the four gospels as authoritative.

Tertullian, Against Marcion 4.2.1b-5 (text and translation modified from that of Ernest Evans):

Transeo nunc ad evangelii, sane non Iudaici sed Pontici, interim adulterati demonstrationem, praestructuram ordinem quem aggredimur. constituimus inprimis evangelicum instrumentum apostolos auctores habere, quibus hoc munus evangelii promulgandi ab ipso domino sit impositum. si et apostolicos, non tamen solos, sed cum apostolis et post apostolos, quoniam praedicatio discipulorum suspecta fieri posset de gloriae studio, si non adsistat illi auctoritas magistrorum, immo Christi, quae magistros apostolos fecit.

I pass on next to show how his gospel, certainly not Judaic but Pontic, is in places adulterated, and this shall form the basis of my order of approach. I lay it down to begin with that the documents of the gospel have the apostles for their authors, and that this task of promulgating the gospel was imposed upon them by our Lord himself. If they also have for their authors apostolic men, yet these stand not alone, but as companions of apostles or followers of apostles, because the preaching of disciples might be made suspect of the desire of vainglory, unless there stood by it the authority of their teachers, or rather the authority of Christ, which made the apostles teachers.

Denique nobis fidem ex apostolis Ioannes et Matthaeus insinuant, ex apostolicis Lucas et Marcus instaurant, isdem regulis exorsi, quantum ad unicum deum attinet creatorem et Christum eius, natum ex virgine, supplementum legis et prophetarum. viderit enim si narrationum dispositio variavit, dummodo de capite fidei conveniat, de quo cum Marcione non convenit.

In short, from among the apostles the faith is introduced to us by John and by Matthew, while from among apostolic men Luke and Mark give it renewal, beginning with the same rules as far as relates to the one only God, the creator, and to his Christ, born of a virgin, the fulfilment of the law and the prophets. It matters not that the arrangement of their narratives varies, so long as there is agreement on the essentials of the faith, and on these they show no agreement with Marcion.

Contra Marcion evangelio, scilicet suo, nullum adscribit auctorem, quasi non licuerit illi titulum quoque affingere, cui nefas non fuit ipsum corpus evertere. et possem hic iam gradum figere, non agnoscendum contendens opus quod non erigat frontem, quod nullam constantiam praeferat, nullam fidem repromittat de plenitudine tituli et professione debita auctoris.

Marcion, on the other hand, attaches to his gospel the name of no author, as though he to whom it was no crime to overturn the whole body might not assume permission to invent a title for it as well. At this point I might have made a stand, arguing that no recognition is due to a work which cannot lift up its head, which makes no show of courage, which gives no promise of credibility by having a fully descriptive title and the requisite indication of the name of the author.

Sed per omnia congredi malumus, nec dissimulamus quod ex nostro intellegi potest. nam ex iis commentatoribus quos habemus Lucam videtur Marcion elegisse quem caederet. porro Lucas non apostolus sed apostolicus, non magister sed discipulus, utique magistro minor, certe tanto posterior quanto posterioris apostoli sectator, Pauli sine dubio, ut et si sub ipsius Pauli nomine evangelium Marcion intulisset, non sufficeret ad fidem singularitas instrumenti desti- tuta patrocinio antecessorum.

But I prefer to join issue on all points, nor am I leaving unmentioned anything that can be taken as being in my favor. For out of those authors whom we possess Marcion is seen to have chosen Luke as the one to mutilate. Now Luke was not an apostle but an apostolic man, not a master but a disciple, in any case less than his master, and assuredly even more of lesser account as being the follower of a later apostle, Paul, to be sure, so that, even if Marcion had introduced his gospel under the name of Paul in person, that one single document would not be adequate for our faith if destitute of the support of his predecessors.

Exigeretur enim id quoque evangelium quod Paulus invenit, cui fidem dedidit, cui mox suum congruere gestiit, siquidem propterea Hierosolymam ascendit ad cognoscendos apostolos et consultandos, ne forte in vacuum cucurrisset, id est ne non secundum illos credidisset et non secundum illos evangelizaret. denique ut cum auctoribus contulit, et convenit de regula fidei, dextras miscuere, et exinde officia praedicandi distinxerunt, ut illi in Iudaeos, Paulus in Iudaeos et in nationes. igitur si ipse illuminator Lucae auctoritatem antecessorum et fidei et praedicationi suae optavit, quanto magis eam evangelio Lucae expostulem, quae evangelio magistri eius fuit necessaria?

For we should demand the production of that gospel also which Paul found, that to which he gave his assent, that with which shortly afterwards he was anxious that his own should agree, for his intention in going up to Jerusalem to know and to consult the apostles was lest perchance he had run in vain, that is, lest perchance he had not believed as they did, or was not preaching the gospel in their manner. At length, when he had conferred with the original authors, and there was agreement concerning the rule of the faith, they joined their right hands and from thenceforth divided their spheres of preaching so that the others should go to the Jews, but Paul to Jews and gentiles. If he therefore who gave the light to Luke chose to have the authority of his predecessors for his faith as well as his preaching, how much more must I require for the gospel of Luke the authority which was necessary for the gospel of his master?

Tertullian, Against Marcion 4.5.3 (text and translation modified from that of Ernest Evans):

Habet plane et illud ecclesias, sed suas, tam posteras quam adulteras, quarum si censum requiras, facilius apostaticum invenias quam apostolicum, Marcione scilicet conditore, vel aliquo de Marcionis examine. faciunt favos et vespae, faciunt ecclesias et Marcionitae. eadem auctoritas ecclesiarum apostolicarum ceteris quoque patrocinabitur evangeliis, quae proinde per illas et secundum illas habemus, Ioannis dico et Matthaei, licet et Marcus quod edidit Petri affirmetur, cuius interpres Marcus. nam et Lucae digestum Paulo adscribere solent.

Admittedly that gospel too has its churches, but they are its own, of late arrival and spurious. If you search out their ancestry you are more likely to find it apostatic than apostolic, having for founder either Marcion or someone from the hive of Marcion. Even wasps make combs, and Marcionites make churches. That same authority of the apostolic churches will stand as witness also for the other gospels, which no less [than that of Luke] we possess by their agency and according to their text, I mean those of John and Matthew, though that which Mark produced is stated to be of Peter, whose interpreter Mark was. The narrative of Luke also they usually attribute to Paul.

Origen.

Early century III.

Origen knows all four canonical gospels by name.

Victorinus of Pettau.

Late century III.

Victorinus knows all four canonical gospels by name.

Eusebius.

Early century IV.

Eusebius knows all four canonical gospels by name.

Eusebius, History of the Church 3.4.7-8:

Λουκας δε το μεν γενος ων των απ Αντιοχειας, την επιστημην δε ιατρος, τα πλειστα συγγεγονως τω Παυλω, και τοις λοιποις δε ου παρεργως των αποστολων ωμιληκως, ης απο τουτων προσεκτησατο ψυχων θεραπευτικης εν δυσιν ημιν υποδειγματα θεοπνευστοις κατελιπεν βιβλιοις, τω τε ευαγγελιω, ο και χαραξαι μαρτυρεται καθ α παρεδοσαν αυτω οι απ αρχης αυτοπται και υπηρεται γενομενοι του λογου, οις και φησιν ετ ανωθεν απασι παρηκολουθηκεναι, και ταις των αποστολων πραξεσιν, ας ουκετι δι ακοης, οφθαλμοις δε παραλαβων συνεταξατο.

But Luke, who was of the race of the Antiochians, a physician by profession, especially intimate with Paul, and also well acquainted with the rest of the apostles, has left demonstrations of therapy for souls, which he acquired from them, in two inspired books, to wit, the gospel, in which he testifies that he wrote according to the things which those who were from the beginning eyewitnesses and ministers of the word had delivered to him, all of whom, he also says, he followed accurately from the start,* and the acts of the apostles, which he composed not from what he had heard but from what he had taken in with his own eyes.

* Refer to the prologue in Luke 1.1-4.

Φασιν δ ως αρα του κατ αυτον ευαγγελιου μνημονευειν ο Παυλος ειωθεν οπηνικα ως περι ιδιου τινος ευαγγελιου γραφων ελεγεν κατα το ευαγγελιον μου.

And they say that Paul made mention of the gospel according to him wherever, as if writing concerning some gospel of his own, he used the words according to my gospel.*

* Refer to Romans 2.16; 16.25; 2 Timothy 2.8.

John Chrysostom.

Late century IV.

From John Chrysostom, homily 1.1 on the Acts of the Apostles (translation slightly modified from the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers):

Το πλεον δε των ενταυθα εγκειμενων Παυλου πραξεις εισι, του περισσοτερον παντων κοπιασαντος. και το αιτιον οτι ουτου φοιτητης ην ο το βιβλιον τουτο συνθεις Λουκας ο μακαριος, ου την αρετην πολλαχοθεν μεν και αλλοθεν εστιν ιδειν, μαλιστα δε εκ του προς τον διδασκαλον αδιασπαστως εχειν, και διαπαντος αυτω παρακολουθειν. οτε γουν Δημας και Ερμογενης αυτον εγκατελιπον, ο μεν εις Γαλατιαν, ο δε εις Δαλματιαν απελθων, ακουσον τι φημι περι τουτου· Λουκας εστι μονος μετ εμου. και Κορινθιοις δε επιστελλων περι αυτου φησιν· Ου ο επαινος εν τω ευαγγελιω δια πασων των εκκησιων. και οταν λεγη οτι, Ωφθη Κηφα, ειτα τοις δωδεκα, και· Κατα το ευαγγελιον ο παρελαβετε, το τουτου λεγει, ωστε ουκ αν τις αμαρτοι την πραγματειαν ταυτην αυτω αναθεις. οταν δε ειπω τουτω, τω Χριστω λεγω. ει δε τις λεγοι· Και τι δηποτε ουχι παντα συνεγραψε, μεχρι τελους ων μετ αυτου; εκεινο αν ειποιμεν οτι και ταυτα αρκουντα ην τοις βουλομενοις προσεχειν, και οτι προς τα κατεπειγοντα αει ισταντο, και οτι ουκ εν τω λογογραφειν ην αυτοις η σπουδη· πολλα γαρ και αγραφω παραδοσει δεδωκασι.

But the greater part of this work is occupied with the acts of Paul, who labored more abundantly than them all.1 And the reason is that the author of this book, that is, the blessed Luke, was his companion, a man whose high qualities, sufficiently visible in many other instances, are especially shown in his firm adherence to his teacher, whom he constantly followed. Thus, at a time when all had forsaken him, one gone into Galatia, another into Dalmatia, hear what he says of this disciple: Only Luke is with me.2 And, giving the Corinthians a charge concerning him, he says: Whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches.3 Again, when he says: He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve,4 and: According to the gospel which you received,5 he means the gospel of this Luke, so that there can be no mistake in attributing this work to him; and when I say to him, I mean to Christ. And why then did he not relate everything, seeing he was with Paul to the end? We may answer, that what is here written was sufficient for those who would attend, and that the sacred writers ever addressed themselves to the matter of immediate importance, whatever it might be at the time; it was no object with them to be writers of books: in fact, there are many things which they have delivered by unwritten tradition.

1 Refer to 1 Corinthians 15.10.
2 Refer to 2 Timothy 4.10.
3 Refer to 2 Corinthians 8.18.
4 Refer to 1 Corinthians 15.5.
5 Refer to 1 Corinthians 15.1.

Jerome.

Late century IV or early century V.

Jerome knows all four canonical gospels by name.

The Monarchian prologues.

Century IV or V.

These Latin prologues precede the gospels in some manuscripts of the Latin Bible. A prologue is extant for each of the four canonical gospels.

Attestation for the gospel: The epistles of Ignatius (?), the gospel of Thomas (?), the long ending of Mark (?), the gospel of Peter (?), 2 Clement, Basilides (Hippolytus, Refutation 7.14), Marcion (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 1.25.1; 3.11; 4.6.9; 1.27; Tertullian, Against Marcion, book 4; Epiphanius, Panarion 42), Justin Martyr, the gospel of the Ebionites, the Epistula Apostolorum, the Diatessaron of Tatian, the gospel prologues, Irenaeus, the Muratorian canon, Theophilus of Antioch (Jerome, epistle 121), Celsus (Origen, Against Celsus), Clement of Alexandria (century II), Origen, Victorinus of Pettau (On the Apocalypse, book 4), Ƿ4, Ƿ45, Ƿ69, Ƿ75 (century III), Eusebius, Ƿ82, א, B, 0171, 0181 (century IV), Jerome, A, C, D, L, W, Δ, Θ, Ψ. Refer to my page on gospel origins.

Certain passages in this gospel seem to almost harshly interrupt their immediate contexts:

  • Luke 6.40, about disciples and teachers, interrupts 6.39 and 6.41-42, both about eyesight.
  • Luke 7.29-30 interrupts the dominical words of 7.28 and 7.31-35. Jesus ceases speaking in 7.29-30 as the narrator adds a comment, but then Jesus resumes speaking in 7.31 without any kind of Jesus said statement. It is interesting to note that Matthew 11.12-15 falls in exactly the same spot as Luke 7.29-30 in the progress of the pericope; Matthew 11.12-15 is still dominical speech, so the interruption is not obvious, yet the Lucan parallels to this passage are found elsewhere in Luke (in 16.16 and 1.17).
  • Refer also to the dissonance of Luke 10.16.