Carson, D.A., and Douglas Moo An Introduction to the New Testament - Second Edition. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005. "Luke" Carson & Moo pp. 198-224
p. 198 "Luke's gospel is the longest book in the New Testament. Like Matthew, Luke follows the basic outline of Jesus' ministry established by Mark."
1. The Prologue (1:1-4)
2. The Births of John the Baptist and Jesus (1:5-2:52)
3. Preparation for the Ministry (3:1-4:13)
4. The Ministry of Jesus in Galilee (4:14-9:50)
5. Jesus' Journey to Jerusalem (9:51-19:44)
6. Jesus in Jerusalem (19:45-21:38)
7. Jesus' Crucifixion and Resurrection (22:1-24:53)
Luke and Acts are recognizably written by the same individual, addressed to the same individual, and related to one another. however we do need to realize that the books seem to fit into different genres, with Luke following the pattern found in the other gospels and Acts following a pattern of a historical text.
Internal evidence points to an author who is not an eyewitness of Jesus' ministry (1:1-4) but who is familiar with many events. The "we" passages in Acts identify the author as someone who is frequently a companion of Paul. The statements of chapter 1 indicating an author who performed research prepares us to expect someone who would have drawn information from a variety of sources, including from those he accompanied. Early church authors identify Luke as the author, also claiming that the author was a physician. There are indications, particularly in Colossians 4:10-14, that Luke was a Gentile.
The location of the writing is unclear. Antioch, Achaia, and Rome have all been suggested. All are speculations.
Carson and Moo give a good deal of evidence that tends to point again and again to a date around 62 for the final work of Acts. Acts presupposes that the gospel has been written, but does not suggest that it has been in existence for long. Carson and Moo also list numerous suggestions for later dates, after 70, but none of those suggestions are conclusive.
The gospel is written to one "Theophilus" which means "lover of God." This could be anybody, including a noble person (see the "most excellent") using a real or assumed name, or could be an example of a person to whom Luke purports to write. The content of the gospel seems to indicate it is written with a recent convert in mind.
Luke states his own purpose of writing in the prologue, to assure the reader of the certainty of what he has been taught. p. 212 "By the time Luke wrote his gospel, the early church had separated from Judaism and was, indeed, experiencing hostility from many Jews. at the same time, the new and tiny Christian movement was competing with a welter of religious and philosophical alternatives in the Greco-Roman world."
If we assume that Luke drew heavily on other written sources, it would seem that he takes about 55 percent of Mark's material (p. 212). Some suggest that Luke has borrowed a great deal, about 20 percent of the non-Markan material, from Matthew. This does leave a significant portion of the gospel without parallel. p. 213 "most scholars are persuaded that Luke and Matthew have independently used a lost source, called "Q." we think this hypothesis is likely, though the exact nature of Q must be left open." Yet we observe that Luke says he gathered information from a variety of sources. It must be allowed that some sources were written and that some were oral, gathered in the time he spent accompanying Paul and possibly other apostles.
The text of Luke and Acts is difficult as there is a significant difference between Western and Eastern text traditions. Carson and Moo lay out a fairly detailed argument on p. 215. They tend to think that the Western text passages which are found in addition to the Eastern text are less likely to be original, while the passages which exist in the Western text but are omitted in the Eastern text are fairly likely to be original.
ADOPTION INTO THE CANON
Luke was clearly accepted as canonical by the mid-second century. There is some evidence that it was cited earlier, even in the first century. It has been universally accepted as authoritative for as long as canonicity has been articulated.
LUKE'S GOSPEL IN RECENT STUDY
In recent years text critics have suggested a variety of sources for Luke's information. They have also tended to suggest that Luke was interested in explaining eschatology to dispel the idea that Jesus' return would have been expected more or less immediately after his ascension. Narrative critics have focused on Luke-Acts as a two volume whole. pp. 218-219 "Luke is not creating a work of literature from whole cloth as a novelist might go about his or her work. He is narrating events that transpired in a particular time and place; and these "historical constraints" must be recognized."
THE CONTRIBUTION OF LUKE
Carson and Moo identify four major themes in Luke which can inform all our understanding of Scripture. First, Luke is interested in God's overall plan. Second, Luke has a focus on salvation. Third, the Gentiles are the special recipients of salvation. Finally, Jesus is the one who shows care for outcasts of all sorts.