Category: Luke

Little is known about Luke, the author of the books of Luke and Acts in the Bible. We do know he was a physician and the only Gentile to write any part of the New Testament. Paul’s letter to the Colossians draws a distinction between Luke and other colleagues “of the circumcision,” meaning the Jews (Colossians 4:11). Luke is the only New Testament writer clearly identifiable as a non-Jew.

Luke was the author of the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. Luke does not name himself in either of his books, but Paul mentions him by name in three epistles. Both Luke and Acts are addressed to the same person, Theophilus (Luke 1:3; Acts 1:1). No one knows exactly who Theophilus was, but we know that Luke’s purpose in writing the two companion books was so that Theophilus would know with certainty about the person and work of Jesus Christ (Luke 1:4). Perhaps Theophilus had already received the basics of the Christian doctrine but had not as yet been completely grounded in them.

Luke was a close friend of Paul, who referred to him as “the beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14). Perhaps Luke’s interest in medicine is the reason his gospel gives such a high profile to Jesus’ acts of healing.

Paul also refers to Luke as a “fellow laborer” (Philemon 1:24). Luke joined Paul in Troas in Asia Minor during Paul’s second missionary journey (Acts 16:6–11). Some scholars speculate that Luke was the “man of Macedonia” whom Paul saw in his dream (Acts 16:9). Luke was left in Philippi during the second missionary journey (Acts 17:1) and picked up again to travel with Paul in the third journey (Acts 20:5). Luke accompanied Paul on his journey to Jerusalem and Rome and was with him during his imprisonment there (2 Timothy 4:11). Luke’s vivid description of his travels with Paul in Acts 27 seem to indicate that he was well-traveled and well-versed in navigation.

Scholars have noted that Luke had an outstanding command of the Greek language. His vocabulary is extensive and rich, and his style at times approaches that of classical Greek, as in the preface of his gospel (Luke 1:1–4), while at other times it seems quite Semitic (Luke 1:5—2:52). He was familiar with sailing and had a special love for recording geographical details. All this would indicate that Luke was a well-educated, observant, and careful writer.

The men who were called to be part of the “inner circle” that surrounded Jesus  were a very diverse group of men that hailed from every type of social  background and occupation. These twelve men, other than the traitor, Judas,  formed the foundation of what is today known as “the church.” One of the men who  is not listed as an apostle but had a tremendous effect upon the documenting and  spreading of the gospel was a physician named Luke. He was evidently devoted to science and research before he came to know the Savior. There is no evidence  that Luke ever personally met the man, Jesus, just as Paul never had the  privilege of meeting Him when He walked the earth in the flesh. Luke’s intellect  shows through his writings, and his deep knowledge of things pertaining to the  physical make-up of man is evident in his Gospel.

Luke was a companion  of Paul, who called him “the beloved physician” (Colossians  4:14). Colossians 4:10-11, 14 indicate that Luke was not “of the circumcision,” which means that he was a  Gentile. It appears that he hailed from Antioch, which may be the reason Antioch  seems to be at the center of the book of Acts. This means that Luke is the only  writer in the New Testament who is not an Israelite (Jewish). Not only did Luke  write the Gospel that bears his name, but he also was privileged and inspired by  God to write the book of Acts.

Luke’s writings focus on the preaching  of the good news, which indicates his joy over the plan of salvation. He uses  the term “good news” ten times in his Gospel and fifteen times in the book of  Acts, while it is used only once in the other Gospels. Luke was given the  privilege of explaining the process of salvation and how God controls the mind  and the heart, in both his Gospel and in Acts. Luke 24:45 says, “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the  scriptures.” Acts 16:14 says, “And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of  Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard [us]: whose heart the Lord opened, that  she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.”

The date of  Luke’s death is not known, but the fact that he did not mention the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 or the persecution of believers under Nero that began in  A.D. 64 or the martyrdom of James in A.D. 62  leads to the belief that he passed away sometime before these events. From the life of Luke it is clear that no  matter what course we set for ourselves in life, when God has other plans, He  changes our direction. Luke is an example of an open-minded man, which was  unusual for an educated Gentile in his day, but he is a lesson for all who are  so focused on their own personal agendas and positions that they are firmly  glued in their comfort zone. Luke probably had social status in his community as a physician, but when confronted with truth, he not only recognized it, but he realized that nothing is more important than pursuing it, no matter what the  consequences. Luke recognized that Jesus is truth, and his life was forever changed.