Of the prophet Isaiah
Was given to Jesus.
He found the place
Where it was written.”
καὶ ἐπεδόθη αὐτῷ βιβλίον τοῦ προφήτου Ἡσαΐου, καὶ ἀνοίξας τὸ βιβλίον εὗρεν τὸν τόπον οὗ ἦν γεγραμμένον
This is unique to Luke, who described in detail what was happening at a Sabbath service in Nazareth. The question would be whether this small town could afford a synagogue or have a special scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Luke said that a scroll of the prophet Isaiah (βιβλίον τοῦ προφήτου Ἡσαΐου) was given to Jesus (καὶ ἐπεδόθη αὐτῷ). Although the Greek word for a book βιβλίον was used, it would have been extremely rare to have a book, since even today, the scroll is used more often. Jesus then unrolled this scroll (καὶ ἀνοίξας τὸ βιβλίον), until he found the place where it was written (εὗρεν τὸν τόπον οὗ ἦν γεγραμμένον) about what he was looking for. This would have been the common practice at a synagogue, but it certainly was not a book, but rather a scroll.
Of the prophet
In the book.
Of one crying out
In the wilderness.
Prepare the way
Of the Lord!
Make his paths straight!’”
ὡς γέγραπται ἐν βίβλῳ λόγων Ἡσαΐου τοῦ προφήτου Φωνὴ βοῶντος ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ Ἑτοιμάσατε τὴν ὁδὸν Κυρίου, εὐθείας ποιεῖτε τὰς τρίβους αὐτοῦ
Luke said that the words of the prophet Isaiah (λόγων Ἡσαΐου τοῦ προφήτου) are written in the book or the bible (ὡς γέγραπται ἐν βίβλῳ). He spoke about the voice of one crying out in the wilderness (Φωνὴ βοῶντος ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ). He was to prepare the way of the Lord (Ἑτοιμάσατε τὴν ὁδὸν Κυρίου). He would make the paths straight (εὐθείας ποιεῖτε τὰς τρίβους αὐτοῦ). Just as Matthew, chapter 3:3, followed Mark, chapter 1:2, in introducing John as a fulfilment of a prophecy from the Book of Isaiah, Luke did the same here, but in a more extended citation from that prophet. Mark began his account about John the Baptist by citing the prophet Isaiah by name, although he had verses from the prophet Malachi. The Gospel of John had John the Baptist say that he himself was the voice crying the wilderness. Matthew and Luke both used these phrases from the Greek Septuagint when citing them from Isaiah. Deutero-Isaiah originally talked about a voice in the wilderness leading to a new path out of the Exile, just as there had been a path out of the Exodus. In this wilderness or desert, they were to make a straight path, like a highway for God or the Holy Way. Matthew and Luke began with this modified quotation from Isaiah, chapter 40:3, while they both moved the Malachi and Exodus material to later in the text, where Jesus quoted them. However, they understood that Isaiah the prophet was talking about John the Baptist as one to come. John would be the messenger sent ahead. He was to be a voice crying out in the wilderness to prepare the way for the Lord. He was going to make the paths straight. Clearly, there was a connection between John the Baptist, Isaiah the prophet, and Jesus.
To set down
An orderly account
Of the events
That have been fulfilled
Ἐπειδήπερ πολλοὶ ἐπεχείρησαν ἀνατάξασθαι διήγησιν περὶ τῶν πεπληροφορημένων ἐν ἡμῖν πραγμάτων,
Luke clearly set out his goals in writing this gospel, much like the other historical Hellenistic works of his time. Although the prologue was one long Greek sentence, it has been divided up into verses. Matthew, chapter 1:1, called his work a book (Βίβλος), but the 1st chapter was about the genealogy of Jesus, or more precisely Joseph. Mark was the only one to call his work a gospel (τοῦ εὐαγγελίου), or more precisely, the beginning of a gospel (Ἀρχὴ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου). Luke admitted that many people had already tried to write a successful orderly account or a narrative (Ἐπειδήπερ πολλοὶ ἐπεχείρησαν ἀνατάξασθαι διήγησιν) about the events and things that had happened or been accomplished or fulfilled among them (περὶ τῶν πεπληροφορημένων ἐν ἡμῖν πραγμάτων), the early Christians. Luke clearly stated that he was not the first one to write about Jesus and the early Christians. He was going to rely on others for his orderly account or narrative about the accomplishments of Jesus.
Of the gospel
Of Jesus Christ,
The Son of God.”
Ἀρχὴ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ Υἱοῦ Θεοῦ.
When you compare the beginnings of the other gospels to Mark, you can see the differences. Matthew, chapter 1:1, called his account a book or account (Βίβλος) that starts with a genealogy, while Luke, chapter 1-4, talked about an orderly account for his friend Theophilus. John, chapter l:18, had his long logos prologue. Mark was the only one to call his work a gospel (τοῦ εὐαγγελίου), or more precisely, the beginning of a gospel (Ἀρχὴ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου). Just like in Genesis, chapter 1:1, this is the beginning (Ἀρχὴ) of something important, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news about Jesus Christ (τοῦ εὐαγγελίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ). Like Matthew, Mark called Jesus the Christ (Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ) or the Messiah right from the beginning. Jesus was the anointed one, the “Christ (Χριστοῦ).” This author clearly stated at the beginning of this book that it would be about Jesus the expected anointed Messiah, Christ. However, there is nothing about the genealogy or the birth of Jesus as in Matthew and Luke. Instead, like John, the emphasis was on the divine Jesus, the Son of God (Υἱοῦ Θεοῦ). Right from the beginning, Jesus is and was the Son of God.
“This book recounts
The Messiah Christ,
The son of David,
The son of Abraham.”
Βίβλος γενέσεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ υἱοῦ Δαυεὶδ υἱοῦ Ἀβραάμ
This gospel is the only one of the four gospels that calls itself a book (Βίβλος). Thus, more contemporary translations have used the term ‘an account’ rather than a book, which appears 10 times in the New Testament. Clearly, this is about the genealogy of Jesus (γενέσεως Ἰησοῦ). The Greek word for genealogy means origins, like the Greek word for the origins of the world in the first book of the Bible, Genesis. Then there is the Greek term that we all familiar with “Christ,” (Χριστοῦ), which is the Greek translation of the Hebrew “Messiah,” or “The Anointed One.” This author clearly states at the beginning of this book that it will be about Jesus the expected anointed Messiah, Christ. This Jesus was the son of David (υἱοῦ Δαυεὶδ) and the son of Abraham (υἱοῦ Ἀβραάμ). Jesus, the Christ, the anointed one, had Jewish ancestry as a son of Abraham. He also had a royal Hebrew lineage as a son of David. Unlike the Gospel of Luke, this genealogy does not start with the more universal Adam, but with the first Hebrew or Israelite, Abraham. Clearly, Jesus was Jewish.
The early bibles had to be copied by hand in manuscript form, since there was no printing press until the 15th century. The classic Bible of the middle ages was the 4th century Latin Vulgate translation of St. Jerome. The first book ever printed in the 15th century was the Latin Bible. In the 16th century, the various translations began to appear, the most famous being the German New Testament translation of Martin Luther. The English, under King James I (1603-1625) decided to set up a committee to translate the Bible into Elizabethan English. They finished their task in 1611. The King James Bible became the only authorized Bible in the English language and has dominated the American religious scene, because of its use among the American Puritans. The Roman Catholics produced an English Douay-Rheims translation of the Bible in France about the same, in 1609-1610.
When you ask young people what they know about the Bible, they might be able to sing the little Bible song, “How do you know that Jesus loves you? I know that Jesus loves me, because the Bible tells me so.” Most of us have this sentimental approach to the Bible as a book with a lot of nice stories about Adam and Eve, Moses, and Jesus, but very little else.