Commentaries on Luke

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Mark  ⇐ ⇒  John

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For more great commentaries on Luke, be sure to check:
Commentaries on All the Four Gospels, The Life & Times of ChristNew Testament Commentaries & Whole Bible Commentaries.

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Order of Contents  23+

The Best Commentaries  5
Commentaries  16
Early Church  3
Jewish Background to  1
On Luke Generally  2
Bible Characters
The Magnificat  1
The Prodigal Son  5
Authenticity of  2

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The Best Commentaries on Luke

Intermediate, 1800’s

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

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Commentaries on Luke

1500’s

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  ToC  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

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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

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Intermediate

1800’s

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.

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1900’s

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

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Advanced

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  

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The Early Church on Luke

Compilation

ed. Just, Jr., Arthur – Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Luke  Buy

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Individual Fathers

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

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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. 

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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

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Bible Characters

Whyte, Alexander 

Joseph and Mary  in Bible Characters

Simeon  in Bible Characters

Zacharias and Elizabeth  in Bible Characters

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The Magnificat, Song of Mary, Luke 1

Wycliff, John – ‘The Magnificat’  in Select English Works of John Wycliff, vol. 3, part 1, p. 48-52  †1384

Liddon, Henry – The Magnificat: Sermons  1898  150 pp.

Liddon was a high-church Anglican known for his Bampton lectures defending the divinity of Christ.


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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.

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1600’s

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.

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.

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1800’s

Warfield, B.B. – ‘The Prodigal Son’  1913  30 pp.  in The Saviour of the World, pp. 3-33

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1900’s

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.

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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

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Related Pages

Bible Commentaries

The Life & Times of Christ

Whole Bible Commentaries

Old Testament Commentaries

New Testament Commentaries