The Synoptic Gospels—
A Study of Matthew, Mark, and Luke
the sacred text, commentary, and questions—
Preface to Luke
Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,2Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; 3It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, 4That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.
1The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; 3And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; 4And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon; 5And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; 6And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias; 7And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa; 8And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias; 9And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias; 10And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias; 11And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon: 12And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel; 13And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor; 14And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud; 15And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob; 16And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
17So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.
3:23And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli, 24Which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Janna, which was the son of Joseph, 25Which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Amos, which was the son of Naum, which was the son of Esli, which was the son of Nagge, 26Which was the son of Maath, which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Semei, which was the son of Joseph, which was the son of Juda, 27Which was the son of Joanna, which was the son of Rhesa, which was the son of Zorobabel, which was the son of Salathiel, which was the son of Neri, 28Which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Addi, which was the son of Cosam, which was the son of Elmodam, which was the son of Er, 29Which was the son of Jose, which was the son of Eliezer, which was the son of Jorim, which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, 30Which was the son of Simeon, which was the son of Juda, which was the son of Joseph, which was the son of Jonan, which was the son of Eliakim, 31Which was the son of Melea, which was the son of Menan, which was the son of Mattatha, which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of David, 32Which was the son of Jesse, which was the son of Obed, which was the son of Booz, which was the son of Salmon, which was the son of Naasson, 33Which was the son of Aminadab, which was the son of Aram, which was the son of Esrom, which was the son of Phares, which was the son of Juda, 34Which was the son of Jacob, which was the son of Isaac, which was the son of Abraham, which was the son of Thara, which was the son of Nachor, 35Which was the son of Saruch, which was the son of Ragau, which was the son of Phalec, which was the son of Heber, which was the son of Sala, 36Which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem, which was the son of Noe, which was the son of Lamech, 37Which was the son of Mathusala, which was the son of Enoch, which was the son of Jared, which was the son of Maleleel, which was the son of Cainan, 38Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.
Forasmuch as many [of whom we know nothing and have even no tradition] have taken in hand to draw up a narrative concerning those matters which have been fulfilled [completed, or accomplished according to the divine will]
2 who from the beginning were eyewitnesses [the apostles were necessarily such and there were some few others–Acts 1: 21-23] ministers of the word [the apostles were ministers, and not ecclesiastical dignitaries]
3 to write unto thee in order [not in chronological, but in topical order], most excellent Theophilus [Luke also dedicated the Book of Acts to this man. Nothing is known of Theophilus, but he is supposed to have been a Greek of high official rank]
The book of the generation [or genealogy] of Jesus Christ, the son of David [the Messiah was promised to David–2 Sam. 7:16; John 7: 42], the son of Abraham. [Messiah was also promised to Abraham–Gen. 22:18; Gal. 3:16.] 2 Jacob begat Judah and his brethren [mentioned here because they were the heads of the tribes for whom especially Matthew wrote his Gospel]; 3 Perez and Zerah [these two were twins] of Tamar [the incestuous daughter-in-law of Judah]; 5 Salmon begat Boaz of Rahab [she had been a heathen and a harlot of Jericho]; Boaz begat Obed of Ruth [she was a heathen Moabitess]; 6 Jesse begat David the king. [These fourteen were patriarchs. The second fourteen were all kings.] And David [we may count David twice, first as a patriarch, second as one of the kings; and thus make up the full number of the second fourteen] begat Solomon of her that had been the wife [the adulteress Bathsheba]; 7 Solomon [a wise but sinful king] and begat Rehoboam [a foolish king, from whose kingdom of twelve tribes God cut off ten tribes]; and Rehoboam begat Abijah [a sinful king, like his father Rehoboam]; and Abijah begat Asa [a godly king who reformed his kingdom of Judah]; 8 and Asa begat Jehoshaphat [a good king, much like his father Asa; but he displeased God somewhat by being too friendly with Ahab, the wicked king of Israel]; and Jehoshaphat begat Joram [Joram married Athaliah, the wicked daughter of Ahab, and followed Ahab in all his ungodly practices]; and Joram [Joram begat Ahaziah, and Ahaziah begat Joash, and Joash begat Amaziah; and Amaziah begat Uzziah. The names of Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah were probably omitted for the sake of symmetry, but may have been dropped because they were wicked descendants of Ahab unto the fourth generation–Ex. 20:4, 5] begat Uzziah [he was a good king, but smitten with leprosy for presumptuously entering the temple]; 9 and Uzziah begat Jotham [a good king like Uzziah, his father]; begat Ahaz [one of Judah’s worst kings]; and Ahaz begat Hezekiah [a royal, godly king, like David]; 10 and Hezekiah begat Manasseh [an evil king, like Ahaz, but, being punished of God, he repented]; and Manasseh begat Amon [an evil king like his father Manasseh; who grew worse and worse till his people conspired against him and killed him]; and Amon begat Josiah [a good king, much like Hezekiah]; 11 and Josiah begat [Jehoiakim, and Jehoiakim begat] Jechoniah and his brethren [So far as is known, Jechoniah had no literal brothers. We may, therefore, take the word “brethren” as meaning his royal kindred; viz.: his father Jehoiakim, and his uncles, Jehoahaz and Zedekiah, the three sons of Josiah] 12 And after the carrying away to Babylon Jechoniah [If we do not count David twice, as above indicated (as a patriarch and a king), we must count Jechoniah twice (as a king who became a citizen). But if we count Jehoiakim as properly included in the phrase “his brethren” at verse 11, we need count no one twice] begat Shealtiel [Luke calls Shealtiel the son of Neri. Jechoniah may have been the natural, and Neri the legal, father of Shealtiel–Deut. 25: 5-10; Matt. 22:24. Or Luke’s Shealtiel and Zerubbabel may have been different persons from the Shealtiel and Zerubbabel of Matthew]; and Shealtiel begat Zerubbabel [the governor of Jerusalem, who rebuilt the temple, as told by Ezra, Haggai, and Zechariah]; 16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus [the name Jesus means Saviour], who is called Christ. [Christ is a title, meaning the anointed One. Prophets, priests, and kings were anointed; Jesus was all three.]
23 when he began to teach, was about thirty years of age [the age when a Levite entered upon God’s service–Num. 4:46, 47], being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli [this may mean that Jesus was grandson of Heli, or that Joseph was counted as a son of Heli because he was his son-in-law]; 27 the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri [Matthew calls Shealtiel the son of Jechoniah. Jechoniah may have been the natural, and Neri the legal, father of Shealtiel–Deut. 25:5-10; Matt. 22: 24]; 32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon [he was probably one of the two spies who were sent to Jericho by Joshua–Josh 2:1-24], the son of Nahshon [he was prince of the tribe of Judah during the wanderings in the wilderness–Num. 1: 4-7; 10: 14], 35 the son of Eber [it is thought that the name Hebrew comes from this man–Gen. 10: 21; 40:15; Ex. 2: 6], 36 the son of Noah [the hero of the flood], 37 the son of Methuselah [who lived to be the oldest man on record, dying when 969 years old], the son of Enoch [whom God translated], 38 the son of Seth [the third son of Adam], the son of Adam, the son of God [Adam was the son of God, being not merely a creature, but a creature made in God’s image and likeness–Gen.1:26, 27.]