The author of the Third Gospel was uniquely equipped to be the author of a book recording the history of the Great Physician in a reliable form. Although he was, according to his own declaration in Luke 1:1–4, no eyewitness of the gospel history, he had excellent opportunities to acquire all the authoritative information necessary for his two books, the Gospel of Luke and The Acts of the Apostles.

Authorship

The earliest Christian traditions unanimously declare that the author of Luke and Acts is “the beloved physician” of whom mention is made by the apostle Paul in Colossians 4:14, Philemon 24 and 2 Timothy 4:11. From these statements it is clear that Luke was with him while he was in captivity in Rome. This fits in excellently with the data of Acts. For according to Acts 16:10–17, 20:5–21:17 and 27:1–28:16 the author of Acts, after having accompanied Paul on several of his missionary journeys, stayed with him when he was taken to Rome as prisoner of the Roman Emperor.

According to Acts 1:1 the author of Acts is indeed also the author of the Gospel, for both are dedicated to a certain Theophilus and “the former treatise” to which he refers is manifestly the Third Gospel. The vocabulary, style and language of the Greek originals of Luke and Acts also conclusively prove that the tradition is correct in ascribing both books to the same author.

Knowing now that Luke was “the beloved physician” who accompanied Paul on long journeys (from Troas to Philippi, Acts, 16:10–17, about five years later from Philippi via Troas and Milete to Jerusalem, Acts 20:5–21:17, and finally from Caesaria to Rome, Acts 27:1–28:16) and who apparently stayed with him several ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.

Tags:
Issue: