Answer by John Young
Here’s what we know about Luke from texts within the Bible.
- He was the “beloved physician” or doctor mentioned by Paul in Colossians 4:14
- Colossians 4:10-11 Paul names his fellow workers with him who are ‘of the circumcision’ i.e. Jewish.
- In that list Paul mentions Aristarchus (a Jew from Thessalonica), Mark (Jewish name John/Yochanan), Barnabas and Jesus, called Justus as being ‘of the circumcision,’ whereas Luke and Demas are not mentioned in that group.
- However, separately in verse 14 we are told that Luke and Demas send their greetings, so the context of these verses indicates that Luke was not ‘of the circumcision,’ that is, he was not Jewish.
- Luke is not mentioned prior to the Lord Jesus’s death and resurrection.
So in summary:
Luke was a Gentile who never met Jesus as he was not an eye witness, unlike the other three Gospel writers who were all Jews.
Sometime later Luke became a follower of Jesus.
His earliest mention is in Philemon 2:4. He is also mentioned in Colossians 4:14 and 2 Timothy 4:11.
He travelled and worked with Paul as recorded in the Book of Acts with the ‘we’ sections – see Acts 16:10-17; 20:5-15, 21:1-18; 27:1 to 28:16.
So Luke is the only Gentile writer within the New Testament.
Other Writings About Luke
There are many other things about Luke that have come down from the church fathers such as Luke was a Greek born in Antioch in Ancient Syria. The next earliest account of Luke (after Paul’s writings) is in the Anti-Marcionite Prologue to the Gospel of Luke: “Luke probably was originally a convert through Peter who became a disciple of Paul and followed him until Paul’s martyrdom. Then having served the Lord continuously, unmarried and without children, Luke died at the age of 84.”
When Did Luke Write?
Neither the Gospel of Luke nor The Book of Acts indicates when they were written. so this too must be deduced. Scholars have noted that Paul’s first Roman imprisonment is mentioned at the end of Acts (Acts 28:30) so the earliest date for Acts being written could be 62AD. Luke’s gospel account is usually dated from the early to late sixties or mid-seventies to late eighties of the first century AD.
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