For more great commentaries on Luke, be sure to check:
Commentaries on All the Four Gospels, The Life & Times of Christ, Commentaries on the Whole New Testament & Whole Bible Commentaries.
Order of Contents 23+
The Best Commentaries 5
Early Church 3
Jewish Background to 1
On Luke Generally 2
The Magnificat 1
The Prodigal Son 5
Authenticity of 2
The Best Commentaries on Luke
Foote, James – Lectures on the Gospel According to Luke, vol. 1 (chs. 1-8), 2 (8-24) 1849
*** “We frequently consult this work, and never without finding in it things new and old. To preachers who will not steal the lectures, but use them suggestively, they will be extremely serviceable.” – Spurgeon
Godet, F. – A Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke, with Notes by John Hall 1890 600 pp.
*** “Dr. Meyer says: ‘ To an immense erudition, to a living piety, Godet unites a profound feeling of reality; there is here a vivifying breath, an ardent love for the Savior, which helps the disciple to comprehend the work, the acts, the words of his Divine Master.'” – Spurgeon
“An exhaustive, technical commentary which ably defends the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith while expounding the text. Deserves a place on the shelf of every pastor.” – Cyril J. Barber
Lange’s Commentary – Commentary on Luke by Oosterzee
*** – “Oosterzee in Lange is excellent.” – Spurgeon
Thomson, James – Exposition of the Gospel according to St. Luke, in a Series of Lectures, vol. 1 (chs. 1-9), 2 (9-20) 1849
*** “Eminently instructive. Clear good sense, freshness, and earnestness are well combined. We have had great pleasure in examining these lectures.” – Spurgeon
Van Doren – A Suggestive Commentary on St. Luke, with Critical and Homiletical Notes, vol. 1 (chs. 1-12), 2 (13-24) 1881
*** “Well named ‘suggestive’; it is all suggestions. It teems and swarms with homiletical hints.” – Spurgeon
Commentaries on Luke
ed. Kreitzer, Beth – Reformation Commentary on Scripture: Luke Buy
Marlorat, Augustin – A Catholic and Ecclesiastical Exposition of the Holy Gospel after St. Mark and Luke, gathered out of all the singular and approved divines, which the Lord has given to his church 1583
Marlorat (1506-1562) was reformed. His commentaries are particularly valuable as they are compendiums of block quotes from some of the best reformed divines of his day on the passages of that particular Biblical book. See here for an excerpt from his commentary on John.
On his commentary on Matthew: ** – “Marlorate was an eminent French reformer, preacher and martyr. His commentaries contain the cream of the older writers, and are in much esteem, but are very rare. He wrote on the whole New Testament, but we have in English only the Gospels [2-3 John] and Jude [and Revelation 1 & 13].” – Spurgeon
Introductory, Simple, Practical
Morgan, George C. – Studies in the Gospels: The Gospel According to Luke Preview Buy
Morgan was reformed and was the predecessor of Martyn Lloyd-Jones at Westminster Chapel in London.
“A carefully reasoned exposition which adheres closely to Luke’s argument, and provides an example of expository preaching at its best. Morgan follows the premillennial approach but, towards the end of his life, rejected this method of interpretation.” – Cyril J. Barber
Geldenhuys, J. Norval – ‘Luke’ in The Biblical Expositor: The Living Theme of the Great Book with General and Introductory Essays and Exposition, 3 vols. Buy ed. Carl Henry 1960
This little known commentary set by leading evangelicals (many of which were reformed) is brief (think airplane view) but helpful.
Erdman, Charles – The Gospel of Luke: an Exposition 1921 230 pp.
Erdman was a conservative liberal, who was the chief antagonist of J. Gresham Machen in restructuring Old Princeton Seminary in the early-1900’s.
“A devotional and practical exposition of the theme of Luke’s Gospel. Excellent as a study guide.” – Cyril J. Barber
Goodwin, Harvey – A Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke 1865
Goodwin (1818–1891) was a Cambridge academic and Anglican bishop.
** “This writer endeavors to give the results of learning in such a manner that working men may understand them. He says many good things.” – Spurgeon
Lindsay, Thomas – The Gospel According to St. Luke, with Introduction, Notes, and Maps, vol. 1 (1-12), 2 (13-24) 1893 in Hand-Books for Bible Classes, ed. Dods & Whyte
Lindsay was a professor in the Free Church of Scotland.
Major, J.R. – Gospel of St. Luke with English Notes 1826
** “Notes compiled with a view to the divinity examinations at Cambridge, containing a considerable amount of information.” – Spurgeon
Schaff, Philip & Matthew Riddle – The Gospel of Luke in A Popular Commentary on the New Testament 1879
The commentary is good enough, but could be better: it lacks spiritual profundity and fervor. Schaff (1819–1893), the famed Church historian and N.T. scholar, came from a German-Reformed background, though was also the lead proponent of the High-Church Mercersburg Theology. Riddle (1836–1916) was of a Dutch Reformed background and had a similar professorial and literary career.
Marshall, F. – The Gospel of St. Luke Buy 1921
“Brief expository notes following a particularly thorough introduction. Presents a helpful defense of the Lukan authorship, deity of Christ, and miracles. Includes biographical sketches of persons mentioned in the Gospel. Of particular value to preachers.” – Cyril J. Barber
Arndt, William – The Gospel According to St. Luke Buy 1956 Concordia
“A thorough exposition by a conservative Lutheran scholar.” – Cyril J. Barber
Geldenhuys, Johannes Norval – Commentary on the Gospel of Luke Buy 1st ed. 1951 in The New International Commentary on the New Testament
“A helpful exposition but inadequate treatment in explaining the argument of Luke’s Gospel.” – Cyril J. Barber
Plummer, Alfred – A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to St. Luke 1896 690 pp.
Plummer was a liberal.
“A most exhaustive and helpful treatment of the Greek text.” – Cyril J. Barber
Burnside, W.F. – The Gospel According to St. Luke: the Greek Text Edited with Introduction and Notes for the Use of Schools Buy 1913 in The Cambridge Greek Testament
This work appears to be more conservative than many in the series. Here is a short review of it.
“A critical and, in many respects, reliable commentary. Its chief value, however, lies in the writer’s interesting comments on the usage of Greek words, and his comparison of Luke with other Synoptic Gospels.” – Cyril J. Barber
Reiling, J. & J.L. Swellengrebel – A Translator’s Handbook on the Gospel of Luke Buy 1971
“An invaluable work for translators.” – Cyril J. Barber
Marshall, Howard – The Gospel of Luke Buy in The New International Greek Testament Commentary
The Early Church on Luke
ed. Just, Jr., Arthur – Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Luke Buy
Origen – Homilies on Luke Buy
Augustine – Sermons 48-66, on Luke 42 pp. in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, vol. 6, pp. 415-457, the sermons start on Lk. 7
Jewish Background to Luke
Lightfoot, John – A Commentary on Luke from the Talmud and Hebraica
Lightfoot was a mid-1600’s reformed divine who was invited to the Westminster Assembly. He mined the Jewish writings for anything and everything that may be of help in understanding the New Testament. Here are his results. This is the only work of its kind in English; the scholarly, more complete work (vol. 1, Mt; vol. 2, Mk-Jn) that has improved, in some ways, upon Lightfoot, done in the early 1900’s by H. Strack and P. Billerbeck, has still not been translated out of the German.
If one is interested in seeing the results of the use of the Jewish writings in relation to the gospel accounts, see Edersheim’s Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, who thoroughly makes use of them from his encyclopedic knowledge of the Jewish writings from his orthodox Jewish upbringing his life’s work as a scholar.
On Luke Generally
Robertson, A.T. – Luke the Historian in the Light of Research 1920 280 pp.
Robertson was an American, southern, reformed baptist.
“A formal, scholarly defense of the accuracy of Luke’s Gospel. Includes a discussion of Luke’s use of ‘medical terms,’ the account of Christ’s birth, miracles, etc.” – Cyril J. Barber
Stonehouse, Ned – The Witness of Luke to Christ Buy 1951
Stonehouse was an early Westminster Seminary scholar.
“A formal defense of the historical and theological accuracy of Luke’s Gospel.” – Cyril J. Barber
Joseph and Mary in Bible Characters
Simeon in Bible Characters
Zacharias and Elizabeth in Bible Characters
Wycliff, John – ‘The Magnificat’ in Select English Works of John Wycliff, vol. 3, part 1, p. 48-52 †1384
Luther, Martin – An Exposition upon the Song of the Blessed Virgin Mary, called Magnificat, Whereunto are added the songs of Salve Regina, Benedictus and Nunc Dimittis ([Southwark] 1538)
Liddon, Henry – The Magnificat: Sermons 1898 150 pp.
Liddon was a high-church Anglican known for his Bampton lectures defending the divinity of Christ.
Lk. 15, The Prodigal Son
See also our pages on The Parables and on the significant strand of historic, reformed Christianity that has taught that God is a Father to All People by Creation.
Cowper, William – A Mirror of Mercy or The Prodigal’s Conversion Briefly, and Learnedly Expounded, and full of comfortable consolations for all penitent sinners 1615 272 pp.
Cowper (1568–1619) was a Scottish bishop.
Gouge, William – A Recovery From Apostasy. Set out in a Sermon preached at the Receiving of a Penitent Renegado into the Church, Oct. 21, 1638. Herein is the history of the surprising and admirable escape of the said penitent 1639 on Lk. 15:31
Rutherford, Samuel – On Luke 15:11-32, The Forlorn Son, Sermons 9-15 Buy †1661 125 pp.
Sedgwick, Obadiah – The Parable of the Prodigal, containing The Riotous Prodigal, or, The Sinner’s Aversion from God; Returning Prodigal, or, The Penitent’s Conversion to God; Prodigal’s Acception, or, Favorable entertainment with God 1660 380 pp.
vv. 18-19 Sermon Notes on Lk. 15:18-19 in Sermons, Series II, 1734 (WJE Online Vol. 49)
v. 22 Sermon Notes on Lk. 15:22 in Sermons, Series II, January-June 1740 (WJE Online Vol. 55)
vv. 28-31 Sermon Notes on Lk. 15:28-31 in Sermons, Series II, 1735 (WJE Online Vol. 50)
Nettleton, Asahel – ‘The Parable of the Prodigal Son’ in Sermons, pp. 290-302
Smith, Samuel Stanhope – Sermons of Samuel Stanhope Smith, vol. 2 1821 American presbyterian, president of Princeton College
vv. 13-16 ‘On the Excesses of the Prodigal’
vv. 17-20 ‘The Repentance of the Prodigal’
vv. 20-24 ‘The Return of the Prodigal to his Father’
‘Rabbi’ Duncan, John – The Parable of the Prodigal Son in Rich Gleanings from Rabbi Duncan, p. 41 ff. Buy Free Church of Scotland
‘Number One Thousand; or, ‘Bread Enough and to Spare’ #1000, MTP 17.385-396
‘The Prodigal’s Son’ #2414, MTP 41.241-249
Prodigal Love for the Prodigal Son #2236, MTP 37.649-660
The Prodigal’s Return
The Turning Point #1189, MTP 20.469-480
He Ran, and He Ran
‘The Prodigal’s Reception’ #588, MTP 10.497-508
‘The Reception of Sinners’ #1204, MTP 20.649-660
Smyth, Thomas – The Young Man Miserable in Works, vol. 6
Warfield, B.B. – ‘The Prodigal Son’ 1913 30 pp. in The Saviour of the World, pp. 3-33
Morgan, G.C. – The Parable of the Father’s Heart Buy 1949
“A touching and reverent exposition of Luke 15 which concentrates on the prodigal son, but also includes material on the lost sheep and the lost coin. The climax is an appeal to service and provides an example of expository preaching.” – Cyril J. Barber
de Witt, John Richard – Amazing Love: the Parable of the Prodigal Son Buy 160 pp.
The Authenticity of Luke
Carson, Alexander – ‘Strictures on Some Parts of the Remarks of the Ecclectic Review, May 1, 1829, on Dr. Schleirmacher’s Critical Essay on the Gospel of St. Luke’ 1830 16 pp.
Carson is known for his work on Providence.
Ramsay, William – Was Christ Born at Bethlehem? A Study on the Credibility of St. Luke 1898 300 pp.
Ramsay was a conservative Scottish archaeologist.
“Understanding that a certain criticism [made against Ramsay] implied a sort of challenge to apply my theory of Luke’s character as a historian to the Gospel [as distinguished from the book of Acts], I took what is generally acknowledged to be the most doubtful passage, from the historian’s view, in the New Testament, Luke 2:1-4…
This passage, interpreted according to the view which I have maintained–that Luke was a great historian… I have enlarged these two articles into an argument against the view that Luke sinks, in the accessories of his narrative, below the standard exacted from ordinary historians…” – Ramsay, Preface