Luke 1 Some Thoughts

I begin teaching the Gospel According to Luke next month. Although I have taught this class before in other congregations and once as a Concordia University class, I still like to approach the text fresh. As I began re-translating the text in my preparation, I investigated a few interesting tidbits.

For instance, in Luke 1, there is the Greek noun ἀγαλλίασις (“intense joy, gladness”). My first thought was to look at where in the NT this word occurs. Luke 1:14, 1:44, Acts 2:46, Hebrews 1:9, and Jude 24. In the LXX it occurs 22 times, 18 in the Psalms.

Then I looked for the verb form: αγαλλιαω, Matthew 5:12; Luke 1:47; 10:21; John 5:35; 8:56; Acts 2:36; 16:34; 1 Peter 1:6; 1:8; 4:13; and Revelation 19:7. In the LXX, it occurs 70 times, 50 in the Psalms and 10 in Isaiah.

I also briefly reviewed another prominent word group connected with joy: χαρα. It occurs 46 times in the LXX (3 times in Psalms, and 4 times in Isaiah). I’ll pursue this more in the future.

Initial reading and context of these occurrences in LXX suggest a worship and/or liturgical orientation. Such a connection fits well with a similar connection in Revelation.

Now the questions arise: Are both elements important in Luke’s two volume work? Are Luke 1-2 both liturgical and eschatological? If so, what is significance of both in the development of his two writings? Obviously Arthu Just, Concordia Commentary: Luke 1:1-9:50, provides a liturgical view of the text, and David Pao stresses the eschatological element in his examination of Isaiah as the framework for Acts (and Luke), particularly ISaiah 49:6.

So, these two angles will provide further food for thought in my study and preparation for Luke.