Lessons on Writing from Luke

Bible, Luke, Thoughts on Writing

With the start of the new year I decided to read through one of the four Gospels. I settled on Luke because I think of him as a writer. Yes, all four Gospel authors wrote, but Luke is a chronologist. I know I can learn from him.

Luke knew there were others telling the story found in the Gospels, but that didn’t stop him from writing his own account. He defends himself in the first verses of his book. He explains that he wants his reader to know he could trust the things he had learned. In fiction, there are few storylines, but a myriad of ways to retell them.

Luke wrote with an audience in mind. Theophilus, to be exact. When writing fiction or non-fiction, it is important to know one’s audience. That determines the tone, voice, and purpose of the book. A mixed audience often shortchange all sides, leaving no one happy.

I enjoy reading Luke’s account because he wrote a sequel. There’s just something to starting a book when you know there’s a second in the series. Stand alone books just have a different appeal.

Finally, Luke begins his story at the beginning. Not with a back story as Matthew does, nor with the prophet John already well into his ministry as Mark does, nor with poetic exposition as John does. Luke starts with Zachariah, priest of Israel, and his barren wife. Character, action, and trouble begin immediately. The story has pulled the reader in.

Good reminders about good writing. I look forward to seeing what other important lessons Luke has to teach.

2 thoughts on “Lessons on Writing from Luke

  1. I loved this!

    “I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” Luke 1:3-4.

    Yes, sweet sister, you nailed it! Writing is hard work. And thorough research and revision is NOT an option! Luke exemplified this mature attitude of an author in affirming that he did his research and chose carefully when deciding what to leave in and what to cut. : )

    I don’t know about you, but revision is my favorite part of the writing process.

    Keep up the great work!

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