Osborne, Grant R. Luke: Verse by Verse. Osborne New Testament Commentaries; Bellingham, Wash.: Lexham Press, 2019. 647 pp.; Pb. $19.99 Link to Lexham Press
This commentary by the late Grant Osborne on Luke completes the first additions to the series from Lexham Press. The series has been published simultaneously in both print and electronic Logos Library editions. For reviews of previous volumes, see John, Acts, Romans, Galatians, 1-2 Thessalonians, Prison Epistles, James, and Revelation.
In the twenty-one page introduction to the commentary Osborne expresses traditional and conservative views with respect to authorship and date of the book. The author is Paul’s companion Luke the physician and he wrote both the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. After briefly surveying the options Osborne proposes the gospel was written from Rome A.D. 60-62. He also mentions briefly he will argue for a mid 50s A.D. date for the Gospel of Mark in a forthcoming commentary in this series. The dating is important because Osborne accepts the consensus “four-source hypothesis” for Luke’s sources. Even though he does not think there is evidence the sayings source Q was a written document, he thins the common material between Matthew and Luke represents an oral tradition. Respect to the purpose of the Gospel of Luke, Osborne argues the gospel was written to encourage believers to know they are part of a divine movement that is bringing God’s reign into this world. In addition, Luke wanted to convince unbelievers that Christ is truly the Lord and Savior of this world.
Osborne then offers a few brief comments on the major theological themes of the book. With perspective salvation, Jesus is saving purpose is evident from the very beginning of the gospel in the birth narratives. This theme of salvation is summed up in Luke 24:47, “repentance for forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all the nations.” In the Gospel of Luke Jesus is the son of the most high God and he will inherit David’s throne. For this reason, Luke emphasizes the Lordship of Jesus. As most commentaries on Luke point out, and emphasis on the Holy Spirit connects the Gospel to the Book of Acts. In addition to these theological themes,
Osborne includes a brief section on Luke’s view of the marginalized. In Luke 4:18-19 Jesus reads from the scroll of Isaiah 61 to show the Spirit anointed Jesus to “proclaim good news to the poor” and liberate the oppressed. For Osborne statement sets up a “pattern of social concern for the entire gospel” (19). Osborne returns to this theme when commenting on Luke’s beatitudes (6:20-23). He explains the eschatological reversal in these sayings concerning the rich and the poor. However, he is also quick to say that Luke does not condemn all of the rich. There are in fact wealthy followers of Jesus like Zacchaeus and Joseph of Arimathea. Osborne suggests that they understand their wealth is a gift from God and they use that wealth to serve God (171).
Osborne includes Luke’s well-known emphasis on women as part of his emphasis on the marginalized. This is illustrated in the story of the woman washing Jesus’s feet and wiping them with her hair (Luke 7:36-50). Husband points out that she is the example of God’s grace and acceptance, not the male religious leader the Pharisee (210). He comments that “the women had a deep involvement in the ministry and mission team. As patrons they would have had some kind of leadership role, for patrons were at the core of the Roman socioeconomic system” (214). Later in the commentary he suggests that the women who were the first witnesses of the resurrection were among the women who followed him in Galilee (541).
With respect to the Olivet discourse, Osborne sees Luke’s version slightly differently than Matthew 24 and Mark 13. In those chapters, Osborne believes that the destruction of Jerusalem is in anticipation of the return of Christ and the great tribulation. “Luke however centers entirely on the former” (485). For Osborne, the apocalyptic discourse in 21:5-38 refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Whatever, this is not to say that Osborne does not believe in the return of Jesus. He takes 21:25-28 as referring to the second coming of Jesus.
As with the other commentaries in this series, the commentary is based on the English text, with occasional comments on the underlying Greek. Osborne does not include any footnotes to other commentaries or contemporary literature, and he only rarely enters into exegetical debates with other literature. That is not the purpose of this commentary series. Osborne’s intention in the Verse-by-Verse Commentary series is to serve pastors and teachers who are preparing sermons and Bible Studies on Gospel of Luke. Even though this commentary is over 600 pages, most scholars will find it too brief. Most Bible readers will find this commentary to be an excellent guide as they read Luke’s Gospel.
NB: Thanks to Lexham Press for kindly providing me with a review copy of this book. This did not influence my thoughts regarding the work.