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Bridgeway Bible Dictionary

Luke

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According to evidence from early records, Luke was a Gentile who was born in Antioch in Syria. By profession he was a doctor (Colossians 4:14), but he also became a skilled historian. His most memorable writing was a lengthy account of the development of Christianity from the birth of its founder to the arrival of its greatest missionary in Rome. The first part of this record is called Luke’s Gospel, the second part the Acts of the Apostles (Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1-2).

Luke first appears in the biblical record when he joined Paul and his party in Troas during Paul’s second missionary journey. This is shown by Luke’s inclusion of himself in the narrative – ‘we sought to go into Macedonia . . . we made a direct voyage’ (Acts 16:10-11). Luke went with Paul to Philippi (Acts 16:12; Acts 16:16) and remained there when Paul and his party moved on (indicated by the use of ‘they’, not ‘we’, in Acts 17:1). It seems that Luke lived in Philippi for some time. When Paul passed through Philippi on his way to Jerusalem at the end of his third missionary journey, Luke rejoined Paul’s party. This is indicated by the renewed use of ‘us’ and ‘we’ in the narrative (Acts 20:5-6). (For a map of the area of Luke’s movements see ACTS, BOOK OF.)

From this time on, Luke kept close to Paul. This explains why the sea journey to Palestine and the events that followed in Jerusalem and Caesarea are recorded in some detail (Acts Chapters 20-26). Paul and his party were in Palestine for at least two years (Acts 24:27), and Luke no doubt used this time to gather information from eye-witnesses of the life of Jesus to include in his Gospel. He was a very thorough and discerning person, who was careful to see that his story of Jesus was meaningful and accurate (Luke 1:1-4).

Luke travelled with Paul on the eventful sea voyage to Rome (Acts 27:1; Acts 28:16) and remained with him during his two years imprisonment there (Acts 28:30; Colossians 4:14; Philem 24). Although he was close to Paul throughout those years, Luke says almost nothing about himself in his record. He seems to have been a humble person, never self-assertive, but always dependable. When the aged Paul, after being released and later recaptured, sat cold and lonely in prison awaiting his execution, Luke alone stayed with him (2 Timothy 4:11).


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Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Luke'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/bbd/l/luke.html. 2004.

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