ICC Gospel of Luke Online

The following public domain Commentary on the Gospel of Luke is now available for free download in PDF:

Alfred Plummer [1841-1926], A Critical and Exegetical on the Gospel According to S. Luke, 4th edition. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1913. Hbk. pp.592.

Commentary on the Gospel of Luke


The Author

As in the case of the other Gospels, the author is not named in the book itself. But two things may be regarded as practically certain, and a third as highly probable in itself and much more probable than any other hypothesis. (i.) The author of the Third Gospel is the author of the Acts. (ii.) The author of the Acts was a companion of S. Paul. (iii.) This companion was S. Luke.

(i.) The Author of the Third Gospel is the Author of the Acts.

This position is so generally admitted by critics of all schools that not much time need be spent in discussing it. Both books are dedicated to Theophilus. The later book refers to the former. The language and style and arrangement of the two books are so similar, and this similarity is found to exist in such a multitude of details (many of which are very minute), that the hypothesis of careful imitation by a different writer is absolutely excluded. The idea of minute literary analysis with a view to discover peculiarities and preferences in language was an idea foreign to the writers of the first two centuries; and no known writer of that age gives evidence of the immense skill which would be necessary in order to employ the results of such an analysis for the production of an elaborate imitation. To suppose that the author of the Acts carefully imitated the Third Gospel, in order that his work might be attributed to the Evangelist, or that the Evangelist carefully imitated the Acts, in order that his Gospel might be attributed to the author of the Acts, is to postulate a literary miracle. Such an idea would not have occurred to any one; and if it had, he would not have been able to execute it with such triumphant success as is conspicuous here. Anyone who will underline in a few chapters of the Third Gospel the phrases, words, and constructions which are specially frequent in the book, and then underline the same phrases, words, and constructions wherever they occur in the Acts, will soon have a strong conviction respecting the identity of authorship. The converse process will lead to a similar result. Moreover, the expressions which can be marked in this way by no means exhaust the points of similarity between the two books. There are parallels of description; e.g. about angelic appearances(comp. Lk. i. 11 with Acts xii. 7; Lk. i. 38 with Acts i. 11 and x. 7; Lk. ii. 9 and xxiv. 4 with Acts i. 10 and x. 30); and about other matters (comp. Lk. i. 39 with Acts i. 15; Lk. ii. 39 with Acts xiii. 29; Lk. iii. 8 with Acts xxvi. 20; Lk. xx. 1 with Acts iv. 1; Lk. xxi. 18 with Acts xxvii. 34; Lk. xxi. 35 with Acts xvii. 26; Lk. xxiii. 2 with Acts xxiv. 2-5 ; Lk. xxiii. 5 with Acts x. 37; Lk. xxiv. 27 with Acts viii. 35).1 And there are parallels of arrangement. The main portion of the Gospel has three marked divisions: The Ministry in Galilee (iii. 1-ix. 50), between Galilee and Jerusalem (ix. 51-xix. 28), and in Jerusalem (xix. 29-xxiv. u).And the main portion of the Acts has three marked divisions: Hebraic (ii.-v.), Transitional (vi.-xii.), and Gentile (xiii.-xxviii.).In the one case the movement is from Galilee through Samaria, etc. to Jerusalem : in the other from Jerusalem through Samaria, etc. to Rome. And in both cases there is an introduction connecting the main narrative with what precedes.

Click here to continue reading.

Alfred Plummer on the Gospel of Matthew

The following public domain commentary on the Gospel of Matthew is now available for free download in PDF.

Alfred Plummer [1841-1926], An Exegetical on the Gospel of S. Matthew, 2nd edn., 1920. London: Robert Scott, 1909. Hbk. pp.451. [This material is in the Public Domain]

Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew


The Author


In no case is the title to a book of the New Testament part of the original document. It was in all cases added by a copyist, and perhaps not by the first copyist. Moreover, in all cases it varies considerably in form, the simplest forms being the earliest. The “according to” neither affirms nor denies authorship; it implies conformity to a type, and need not mean more than “drawn up according to the teaching of.” But it is certain that the Christians of the first four centuries who gave these titles to the Gospels meant more than this: they believed, and meant to express, that each Gospel was written by the person whose name it bears. They used this mode of expression, rather than the genitive case used of the Epistles, to intimate that the same subject had been treated of by others; and they often emphasized the oneness of the subject by speaking of “the Gospel” rather than “the Gospels.” This mode of expression is accurate; there is only one Gospel, ‘the Gospel of God’ (Rom. i. 1) concerning His Son. But it has been given us in four shapes (Iren. III. xi. 8), and “according to “indicates the shape given to it by the writer named.

Was the belief of the first Christians who adopted these titles correct? Were the Gospels written by the persons whose names they bear? With the trifling exception of a few passages, we may believe this with regard to the Second, Third, and Fourth .Gospels: but it is very difficult to believe this with regard to the First, the authorship of which is a complicated problem not yet adequately solved. But the following results may be accepted as probable, and some of them as very probable.

Ancient testimony in favour of Matthew being the author is very strong. It begins with Papias and Irenaeus in the second•century, and is confirmed by Origen in the third and Eusebius in the fourth, not to mention a number of other early writers, whose evidence repeats, or is in harmony with, these four. Papias speaks of “the oracles” or “utterances” which Matthew composed; the other three speak of his “Gospel”. Assuming that the two expressions are equivalent, the testimony is uniform that the First Gospel was written in Hebrew by Matthew, the tax-collector and Apostle. In that case the Greek Gospel which has come down to us must be a translation from this “Hebrew” original.

Click here to continue reading.

John Calvin on the Pastorals and Philemon

John Calvin, author of Commentaries on the Pastoral Epistles and Philemon
John Calvin [1509-1564]
The following commentaries by John Calvin are now available on-line in PDF:

John Calvin, (Translated from the Original Latin by the Rev. William Pringle). Commentaries on the Epistles to Timothy, Titus and Philemon. Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1856. Hbk. pp.398.

John Calvin’s Commentaries on the Pastoral Epistles and Philemon

The Argument of the First Epistle of Timothy

This Epistle appears to me to have been written more for the sake of others than for the sake of Timothy, and that opinion will receive the assent of those who shall carefully consider the whole matter. I do not, indeed, deny that Paul intended also to teach and admonish him but my view of the Epistle is, that it contains many things which it would have been superfluous to write, if he had had to deal with Timothy alone. He was a young man, not yet clothed with that authority which would have been, sufficient for restraining the headstrong men that rose up against him. It is manifest, from the words used by Paul, that there were at that time some who were prodigiously inclined o ostentation, and for that reason would not willingly yield to any person, and who likewise burned with such ardent ambition, that they would never have ceased to disturb the Church, had not a greater than Timothy interposed. It is likewise manifest, that there were many things to be adjusted at Ephesus, and that needed the approbation of Paul, and the sanction of his name. Raving therefore intended to give advice to Timothy on many subjects, he resolved at the same time to advise others under the name of Timothy. In the first chapter, he attacks some ambitious persons who made their boast of discussing idle questions. It may readily be concluded that they were Jews, who, while they pretended to have zeal for the law, disregarded edification, and attended only to frivolous disputes.

Click here to continue reading