Luke: Pairing Traditions


Adapted from Marla J. Selvidge’s The New Testament (Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 1999), 141.


Luke often matches traditions. If the writer tells a story about a man, a story about a woman will immediately follow, or vice versa. The following are a select list of the pairs:





Widow of Nain 7.11–17

Mary and Martha 10.38–42

Woman and the Lost Coin 15.8–10

Crippled Woman 13.10–16

Two Women Grinding 17.35

Widow of Zarephath 4.25–26

Loving Woman 7.37–50

Hemorrhaging Women 8.43–48

Queen of the South 11.31

Widow 18.2–8

Daughters of Jerusalem 23.28

The Centurion’s Slave 7.2–10

Good Samaritan 10.29–37

Man with the Lost Sheep 15.3–7

Man with Dropsy 14.2–6

Two Men in Bed 17.34–35

Naaman the Leper 4.27

Simon the Pharisee 7.36–50

Jairus 8.41–42, 49–56

Men of Nineveh 11.32

Tax Collector 18.10–14

Simon of Cyrene 23.26


Male-female pairing is not the only partnership device used by Luke. Women and women, men and men, and women and men become friends and companions in the Lucan drama. Note the following pairs:


Mary and Martha (Luke 10.38–42)

Herod and Herodias (Luke 3.18–20)

James and John (Luke 5.10)

Mary and Joseph (Luke 1–3)

Simeon and Anna (Luke 2.22–38)

Elizabeth and Zechariah (Luke 1)


In these stories, Luke emphasizes individuality plus companionship—the sharing of life with another person. This sharing of life is most noticeable in the “communal” vocabulary employed by Luke. Of all the synoptic writers, Luke has the most diverse vocabulary when describing personal relationships.