The Gospel of Luke is a document originally written in Greek, most likely sometime during late 1st century or early 2nd century a.D. Most modern scholars argue that this text is pseudepigraphic, meaning that it was written anonymously (no author is actually identified in the text itself), and then attributed to Luke, an associate of Jesus, in order to enhance its authority. It also includes substantial material which is more or less identical to passages found in the gospels attributed to Mark and Matthew, indicating that the author based the text on other, earlier documents. The Gospel of Luke itself provides a narrative of the religious career of of the Jewish apocalypticist preacher Jesus of Nazareth, and describes the content of his teachings, which are generally depicted as being at odds with the views of the Jewish leaders of his day. Given the anonymous authorship and distance in time from the events depicted, it is difficult to say how accurate a portrait the Gospel of Luke gives of the historical Jesus. This text certainly offers a vivid view of the beliefs and values of some early Christians, however.
Excerpts from The Gospel of Luke
(Open English Bible, OEB)
1 One Sabbath Jesus was walking through cornfields, and his disciples were picking the ears of wheat, and rubbing them in their hands, and eating them. 2 “Why are you doing what it is not allowable to do on the Sabbath?” asked some of the Pharisees. 3 Jesus' answer was: “Haven't you read even of what David did, when he was hungry, he and his companions — 4 That he went into the house of God, and took the consecrated bread and ate it, and gave some to his companions, though only the priests are allowed to eat it?” 5 Then Jesus added: “The Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”
6 On another Sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught; and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. 7 The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees watched Jesus closely, to see if he would work cures on the Sabbath, so that they might find a charge to bring against him. 8 Jesus, however, knew what was in the their minds, and said to the man whose hand was withered: “Stand up and come out into the middle.” The man stood up; 9 and Jesus said to them: “I ask you, is it allowable to do good on the Sabbath — or harm? To save a life, or let it perish?” 10 Then, looking around at them all, he said to the man: “Stretch out your hand.” The man did so; and his hand had become sound. 11 But the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees were mad with rage, and consulted together what they could do to Jesus.
12 Now about that time, Jesus went out, up the hill, to pray, and spent the whole night in prayer to God. 13 When day came, he summoned his disciples, and chose twelve of them, whom he also named ‘apostles.’ 14 They were Simon (whom Jesus also named Peter), and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15 Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon known as the Zealot, 16 Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who proved a traitor. 17 Afterward Jesus came down the hill with them and took his stand on a level place. With him were a large crowd of his disciples, and great numbers of people from the whole of Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast district of Tyre and Sidon, 18 who had come to hear him and to be restored to health. Those, too, who were troubled with foul spirits were cured; 19 and everyone in the crowd was trying to touch him, because a power went out from him which restored them all.
20 Then, raising his eyes and looking at his disciples, Jesus said:
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
22 Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they expel you from among them,
and insult you, and reject your name as an evil thing — because of the Son of Man.
23 Then indeed you may be glad and dance for joy, for be sure that your reward in heaven will be great; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.
24 But ‘alas for you who are rich,’ for you have had your comforts in full.
25 Alas for you who are sated now, for you will hunger.
Alas for you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.
26 Alas for you when everyone speaks well of you; for this is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.
27 But to you who hear I say — love your enemies, show kindness to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who insult you. 29 When someone gives one of you a blow on the cheek, offer the other cheek as well; and, when anyone takes away your cloak, do not keep back your coat either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you; and, when anyone takes away what is yours, do not demand its return. 31 Do to others as you wish them to do to you.
32 If you love only those who love you, what thanks will be due to you? Why, even the outcast love those who love them! 33 For, if you show kindness only to those who show kindness to you, what thanks will be due to you? Even the outcast do that! 34 If you lend only to those from whom you expect to get something, what thanks will be due to you? Even the outcast lend to the outcast in the hope of getting as much in return! 35 But love your enemies, and show them kindness, and lend to them, never despairing. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the thankless and the bad.
36 Learn to be merciful — even as your Father is merciful. 37 Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and others will give to you. A generous measure, pressed and shaken down, and running over, will they pour into your lap; For The standard you use will be the standard used for you.”
39 Then, speaking in parables, Jesus said: “Can one blind person guide another? Will they not both fall into a ditch? 40 A student is not above their teacher; yet every finished student will be like their teacher. 41 And why do you look at the speck of sawdust in someone's eye, while you pay no attention at all to the plank of wood in your own? 42 How can you say to your friend ‘Friend, let me take out the speck in your eye,’ while you yourself do not see the plank in your own? Hypocrite! Take out the plank from your own eye first, and then you will see clearly how to take out the speck in your friend's. 43 There is no such thing as a good tree bearing worthless fruit, or, on the other hand, a worthless tree bearing good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. People do not gather figs off thorn bushes, nor pick a bunch of grapes off a bramble. 45 A good person, from the good stores of their heart, brings out what is good; while a bad person, from their bad stores, brings out what is bad. For what fills someone's heart will rise to their lips. 46 Why do you call me ‘Master! Master!’ and yet fail to do what I tell you? 47 Everyone who comes to me and listens to my teaching and acts on it — I will show you to whom they may be compared. 48 They may be compared to a person building a house, who dug, and went deep, and laid the foundation on the rock. Then, when a flood came, the river swept down on that house, but had no power to shake it, because it had been built well. 49 But those who have listened and not acted on what they have heard may be compared to a person who built a house on the ground without any foundation. The river swept down on it, and the house immediately collapsed; and great was the crash that followed.”
1 On one occasion, as Jesus was going, on a Sabbath into the house of one of the leading Pharisees to dine, they were watching him closely. 2 There he saw before him a man who was suffering from dropsy. 3 “Is it allowable,” said Jesus, addressing the students of the Law and the Pharisees, “to work a cure on the Sabbath, or is it not?” 4 They remained silent. Jesus took hold of the man and cured him, and sent him away. 5 And he said to them: “Which of you, finding that your son or your ox has fallen into a well, will not immediately pull them out on the Sabbath day?” 6 And they could not make any answer to that.
7 Observing that the guests were choosing the best places for themselves, Jesus told them this parable — 8 “When you are invited by anyone to a wedding banquet, do not seat yourself in the best place. Someone of higher rank might have been invited by your host; 9 and the host who invited you both will come and say to you ‘Make room for this person,’ and then you will begin in confusion to take the lowest place. 10 No, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place, so that, when the host who has invited you comes, he may say to you ‘Friend, come higher up’; and then you will be honored in the eyes of all your fellow guests. 11 For everyone who exalts themselves will be humbled, and everyone who humbles themselves will be exalted.”
12 Then Jesus went on to say to the man who had invited him: “When you give a breakfast or a dinner, do not ask your friends, or your brothers or sisters, or your relatives, or rich neighbors, because they might invite you in return, and so you should be repaid. 13 No, when you entertain, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; 14 and then you will be happy indeed, since they cannot reward you; for you will be rewarded at the resurrection of the good.”
15 One of the guests heard what he said and exclaimed: “Happy will be the person who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16 But Jesus said to him: “A man was once giving a great dinner. He invited many people, 17 and sent his servant, when it was time for the dinner, to say to those who had been invited ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 They all with one accord began to ask to be excused. The first said to the servant ‘I have bought a field and am obliged to go and look at it. I must ask you to consider me excused.’ 19 The next said ‘I have bought five pairs of bullocks, and I am on my way to try them. I must ask you to consider me excused’; 20 while the next said ‘I am just married, and for that reason I am unable to come.’ 21 On his return the servant told his master all these answers. Then in anger the owner of the house said to his servant ‘Go out at once into the streets and alleys of the town, and bring in here the poor, and the crippled, and the blind, and the lame.’ 22 Presently the servant said ‘Sir, your order has been carried out, and still there is room.’ 23 ‘Go out,’ the master said, ‘into the roads and hedgerows, and make people come in, so that my house may be filled; 24 for I tell you all that not one of those people who were invited will taste my dinner.’”
25 One day, when great crowds of people were walking with Jesus, he turned and said to them: 26 “If any one comes to me and does not hate their father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, yes and even their life, he can be no disciple of mine. 27 Whoever does not carry their own cross, and walk in my steps, can be no disciple of mine. 28 Why, which of you, when you want to build a tower, does not first sit down and reckon the cost, to see if you have enough to complete it? — 29 Otherwise, if you have laid the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will laugh at you, 30 and say ‘Here is a person who began to build and was not able to finish!’ 31 Or what king, when he is setting out to fight another king, does not first sit down and consider if with ten thousand men he is able to meet one who is coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if he cannot, then, while the other is still at a distance, he sends envoys and asks for terms of peace. 33 And so with everyone of you who does not bid farewell to all you have — you cannot be a disciple of mine. 34 Yes, salt is good; but, if the salt itself should lose its strength, what will be used to season it? 35 It is not fit either for the land or for the manure heap. People throw it away. Let those who have ears to hear with hear!”
1 The tax-gatherers and the outcasts were all drawing near to Jesus to listen to him; 2 but the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law found fault.
“This man always welcomes outcasts, and takes meals with them!” they complained.
3 So Jesus told them this parable — 4 “Who among you who has a hundred sheep, and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine out in the open country, and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And, when he has found it, he puts in on his shoulders rejoicing; 6 and, on reaching home, he calls his friends and his neighbors together, and says ‘Come and rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’ 7 So, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one outcast who repents, than over ninety-nine religious people, who have no need to repent. 8 Or again, what woman who has ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, and sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And, when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, and says ‘Come and rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I lost.’ 10 So, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of God's angels over one outcast who repents.”
11 Then Jesus continued: “A man had two sons; 12 and the younger of them said to his father ‘Father, give me my share of the inheritance.’ So the father divided the property between them. 13 A few days later the younger son got together all that he had, and went away into a distant land; and there he squandered his inheritance by leading a dissolute life. 14 After he has spent all that he had, there was a severe famine through all that country, and he began to be in actual want. 15 So he went and engaged himself to one of the people of that country, who sent him into his fields to tend pigs. 16 He even longed to satisfy his hunger with the bean-pods on which the pigs were feeding; and no one gave him anything. 17 But, when he came to himself, he said ‘How many of my father's hired servants have more bread than they can eat, while here am I starving to death! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and say to him “Father, I sinned against heaven and against you; 19 I am no longer fit to be called your son; make me one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he got up and went to his father. But, while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was deeply moved; he ran and threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. 21 ‘Father,’ the son said, ‘I sinned against heaven and against you; I am no longer fit to be called your son; make me one of your hired servants.’ 22 But the father turned to his servants and said ‘Be quick and fetch a robe — the very best — and put it on him; give him a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet; 23 and bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; 24 for here is my son who was dead, and is alive again, was lost, and is found.’ So they began making merry. 25 Meanwhile the elder son was out in the fields; but, on coming home, when he got near the house, he heard music and dancing, 26 and he called one of the servants and asked what it all meant. 27 ‘Your brother has come back,’ the servant told him, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has him back safe and sound.’ 28 This made him angry, and he would not go in. But his father came out and begged him to do so. 29 ‘No,’ he said to his father, ‘look at all the years I have been serving you, without ever once disobeying you, and yet you have never given me even a young goat, so that I might have a merrymaking with my friends. 30 But, no sooner has this son of yours come, who has eaten up your property in the company of prostitutes, than you have killed the fattened calf for him.’ 31 ‘Child,’ the father answered, ‘you are always with me, and everything that I have is yours. 32 We could but make merry and rejoice, for here is your brother who was dead, and is alive; who was lost, and is found.’”
1 Jesus said to his disciples: “There was a rich man who had a steward; and this steward was maliciously accused to him of wasting his estate. 2 So the master called him and said ‘What is this that I hear about you? Give in your accounts, for you cannot act as steward any longer.’ 3 ‘What am I to do,’ the steward asked himself, ‘now that my master is taking the steward's place away from me? I have not strength to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4 I know what I will do, so that, as soon as I am turned out of my stewardship, people may welcome me into their homes.’ 5 One by one he called up his master's debtors. ‘How much do you owe my master?’ he asked of the first. 6 ‘Four hundred and forty gallons of oil,’ answered the man. ‘Here is your agreement,’ he said; ‘sit down at once and make it two hundred and twenty.’ 7 And you, the steward said to the next, ‘how much do you owe?’ ‘Seventy quarters of wheat,’ he replied. ‘Here is your agreement,’ the steward said; ‘make it fifty-six.’ 8 His master complimented this dishonest steward on the shrewdness of his action. And indeed men of the world are shrewder in dealing with their fellow men than those who have the light. 9 And I say to you ‘Win friends for yourselves with your dishonest money,’ so that, when it comes to an end, there may be a welcome for you into the Eternal Home. 10 The person who is trustworthy in the smallest matter is trustworthy in a great one also; and the person who is dishonest in the smallest matter is dishonest in a great one also. 11 So, if you have proved untrustworthy with the ‘dishonest money,’ who will trust you with the true? 12 And, if you have proved untrustworthy with what does not belong to us, who will give you what is really our own? 13 No servant can serve two masters, for, either they will hate one and love the other, or else they will attach themselves to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
14 All this was said within hearing of the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, and they began to sneer at Jesus.
15 “You,” said Jesus, “are the ones who justify themselves before the world, but God can read your hearts; and what is highly esteemed among people may be an abomination in the sight of God. 16 The Law and the prophets sufficed until the time of John. Since then the good news of the kingdom of God has been told, and everybody has been forcing their way into it. 17 It would be easier for the heavens and the earth to disappear than for one stroke of a letter in the Law to be lost. 18 Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman is an adulterer, and the man who marries a divorced woman is an adulterer. 19 There was once a rich man, who dressed in purple robes and fine linen, and feasted every day in great splendor. 20 Near his gateway there had been laid a beggar named Lazarus, who was covered with sores, 21 and who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 After a time the beggar died, and was taken by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In the place of death he looked up in his torment, and saw Abraham at a distance and Lazarus at his side. 24 So he called out ‘Pity me, Father Abraham, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering agony in this flame.’ 25 ‘Child,’ answered Abraham, ‘remember that you in your lifetime received what you thought desirable, just as Lazarus received what was not desirable; but now he has his consolation here, while you are suffering agony. 26 And not only that, but between you and us there lies a great chasm, so that those who wish to pass from here to you cannot, nor can they cross from there to us.’ 27 ‘Then, Father,’ he said, ‘I beg you to send Lazarus to my father's house — 28 For I have five brothers to warn them, so that they may not come to this place of torture also.’ 29 ‘They have the writings of Moses and the prophets,’ replied Abraham; ‘let them listen to them.’ 30 ‘But, Father Abraham,’ he urged, ‘if someone from the dead were to go to them, they would repent.’ 31 ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets,’ answered Abraham, ‘they will not be persuaded, even if someone were to rise from the dead.’”