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By Mark C. Black / College Press / 1996
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What should Christians do about the poor? Are Christians saved by being good disciples, or is salvation an absolutely free gift? When can Christians expect Jesus to return? Does prayer really change God's plans? How can we be sure of the historical facts of the story of Jesus? Although they could be topics from last night's Bible study, these questions were of great importance to Luke and his first readers. In other words, Luke's questions are our questions. Luke and his first readers were very much like us. They were not among the first generation of believers. Yet these readers of the Gospel of Luke were educated people, having been raised on the best human thinking. Being bright and inquisitive, yet knowing the basics about Jesus and his followers, they had many questions. And Luke gave them answers. The single goal of the present commentary is to place modern readers into the shoes of the first readers of Luke's Gospel. The assumption behind this commentary is that we can only know what Luke means if we know what Luke meant. We are especially fortunate in this regard to be examining the Gospel of Luke, since Luke, more than any other Gospel writer, tells us what the message of Jesus meant in a later day. To give his readers this information, Luke provides a sequel—the book of Acts. The present commentary therefore looks at the Gospel of Luke from the perspective of Acts, the best commentary on Luke's Gospel, and with a view toward the modern church.