The sources (Lk 1:2-1:2)

“These events

Were handed down

To us

By those

Who from the beginning

Were eyewitnesses

And servants

Of the word.”

 

καθὼς παρέδοσαν ἡμῖν οἱ ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς αὐτόπται καὶ ὑπηρέται γενόμενοι τοῦ λόγου,

 

Luke clearly says where his sources are coming from, unlike the other gospel writers.  He said that these things or events were handed down to him (καθὼς παρέδοσαν ἡμῖν) by people who were with Jesus from the beginning (οἱ ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς).  These were the eyewitnesses (αὐτόπται) and those being the servants or ministers (καὶ ὑπηρέται γενόμενοι) of the word (τοῦ λόγου), the early disciples and apostles of Jesus.  Luke was a second-generation Christian, since many of these events would have taken place before he was born.  Therefore, he was going to rely on those who were with Jesus from the beginning.  These early ministers or Jesus followers would be an important source for Luke.

The development of the gospel biblical texts

After the death and resurrection of Jesus, his followers expected him to return at any moment, certainly within their own lifetime.  There was little motivation to write anything down for future generations.  However, as the various eyewitnesses began to die, there was more concern.  The missionary needs of the church grew, so that there was a demand for written versions of the founder’s life and teachings.  The stages of this process included this first oral tradition stage.  Then the stories and sayings of Jesus were passed on largely as separate self-contained units, but not in any order.  There were some written collections of miracle stories, parables, and sayings, with the oral tradition continuing alongside these.  Finally, there were the written proto-gospels that served as the sources for the canonical gospels.  The final gospels were formed by combining proto-gospels, written collections and still-current oral tradition.  All four gospels use the Hebrew Jewish scriptures, by quoting or referencing passages.  They interpreted texts or alluded to various biblical themes.  Their source was the Greek version of the scriptures, called the Septuagint, since they did not seem familiar with the original Hebrew.

The adventurers cannot find wisdom (Job 28:9-28:11)

“They put their hand to the flinty rock.

They overturn mountains by the roots.

They cut out channels in the rocks.

Their eyes see every precious thing.

They probe the sources of the rivers.

Hidden things they bring to light.”

Even the great adventurers and the various inventions of those days do not find wisdom. The invention of fire with flint was a big deal. Overturning mountains was a massive task. Cutting channels in rocks was not easy. They used their eyesight to find precious metals. They even tried to figure out the sources of the rivers. They were looking for hidden items by bringing light to them. These were the adventurers and discoverers of 2,500 years ago. They wanted to know about things and how they worked. Yet they never found wisdom.