Covenant in Luke-Acts
It is interesting that the usage of the word "covenant" [diatheke] has apparently declined in the NT era. One need note that Josephus does not use the word "covenant" in his writings and has in fact rewritten the covenant concept out of his sacred scriptures to accomplish his objectives. For Josephus, if there is no [old] covenant, there can be no new covenant.
The usage of [diatheke] in the NT is 32/33 and in Luke-Acts 3/4 [one questionable usage]. Since Luke-Acts represents 25% of the NT, one would expect a higher number of occurrences of the word in Luke-Acts on a proportionate basis.
However, looking more closely at Luke's writings, the concept of a covenant community is rather strong and in fact Luke does defend the rite of circumcision. Three examples should illustrate this point.
Luke has added “For a long while” to note the antiquity of God's covenant with Moses. This Lucan addition makes no sense if the Lucan Jesus has rejected and terminated a long standing relationship with God's people. This is consistent with the findings of
The story of the 'Good Thief' is another example of a story unique to Luke that had one meaning to the High Priest and another meaning for us. The prophets repeatedly told the people 'repent and be saved.' The prophets taught that it was never too late to turn from your evil ways. The Good Thief did repent on the cross and the Lucan Jesus said to him, “Today you will be with me in
A number of scholars have quoted from anthropologist Feeley-Harnik's seminal study on food and teaching in the OT and NT. Neyrey synthesizes Feeley-Harnik's observations into his analysis of Luke 22:14-38:
“These statements rest on the basic principle: as God gives food to the covenant people, so God gives Torah-instruction to them. Bread/food are a clear and unmistakable symbol of Torah-instruction ... Food and instruction are interchangeable symbols, replicating each other. In other words, a meal is a perfect setting for teaching, as Wisdom in the Old Testament or symposia in Greek literature indicate.”
Luke does have a concept of covenant community.