• Christ and Church Life and Building Spirit and Bride

    基督與召會
    生命與建造
    那靈與新婦



    As a lover of Christ and a pursuer of truth, I write down my joys, memories and reflections.

    May God lead us all into the secret of His presence, and build us into the oneness of His body in love.
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Luke’s person and writings

Colossians 4:14
Luke, the beloved physician, greets you, as well as Demas.

2 Timothy 4:11
Luke alone is with me. Take Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for the ministry.

Philemon 1:24
As do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow workers.

Luke as a historical figure is usually under-appreciated among other prominent ones in the New Testament, such as Paul or Peter. In fact, other than the two books he authored, the entire New Testament only mentioned his name three times. However I always like the person and the character of Luke. Today, for a special reason, I would like to summarize his person as revealed in history and his writings.

Person

  • Author of two Bible books: The early church recognized Luke as the author of both Gospel of Luke and the Acts.
    • Luke’s authorship is evident from the style of composition of two books.
    • The two books were all one book at one time but was later separated into two books for ease of reading. As reading the end of the Gospel of Luke and the beginning of the Book of Acts, one can see that it is a continuous book that was intentionally written as one book.
  • Historian of the first rank:
    • The Gospel of Luke, the record of the life of Christ, was one of the best historical documents ever written.
    • Besides numerous mentions of things with historical and archaeological significance, he also mentioned 32 countries, 54 cities, 9 islands, dozens of other historical figures at the time.
    • Sir William Ramsay, one of the greatest archaeologists of all time, studied under teaching that the New Testament was written in the mid-200s AD, and not an historical document recorded in the first century. Believed in this teaching, Ramsay purposefully went to Asia Minor to find physical evidence to refute Luke’s biblical record. After 25 or more years of field study, he was overwhelmed with the evidence, that he completely reversed his view of the Bible and first century history, and eventually converted to Christianity. He wrote:

I began with a mind unfavorable to it…but more recently I found myself brought into contact with the Book of Acts as an authority for the topography, antiquities, and society of Asia Minor. It was gradually borne upon me that in various details the narrative showed marvelous truth…

Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy, he is possessed of the true historic sense…in short, this author should be placed along with the greatest of historians.

  • Faithful companion and coworker of Apostle Paul:
    • Beginning in Troas, he joined Paul in his ministry and accompanied him in his last three ministry journeys (Acts 16:10-17; 20:5-21:18; 27:1-28:15). He was a faithful companion of Paul until Paul’s martyrdom (Philem. 24; 2 Tim. 4:11).
  • Gentile: Luke was a Gentile, probably an Asiatic Greek
  • Physician (Col. 4:14)
  • Some Christian tradition also states that he was 
    • A native of the Hellenistic city of Antioch in Syria
    • Artist and Painter
    • Unmarried and without children
    • Martyr: He is believed to have died a martyr at age 84

Writings:

Allow me to use the beginning of the Gospel of Luke to illustrate the character of Luke and the methodology he employed in writing Gospel of Luke:  

Luke 1:1-4
Inasmuch as many have undertaken to draw up a narrative concerning the matters which have been fully accomplished among us, Even as those who from the beginning became eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, It seemed good to me also, having carefully investigated all things from the first, to write them out for you in an orderly fashion, most excellent Theophilus, So that you may fully know the certainty of the things concerning which you were instructed.

路加福音 1:1-4
提阿非罗大人哪,因为有好些人已经着手作书,述说在我们中间所完全成就的事,是照那些从起初亲眼看见,又将这道供应我们的人,所交付我们的;这一切的事我既从起头都详确考察了,就认为也该按着次序写给你,使你深知所教导你的事,都是确实的。

First of all, Luke wrote under the divine inspiration of God (2 Tim. 3:16). Hence, the Holy Spirit Himself guaranteed the accuracy of Luke’s gospel, including Luke 1:1-4. When introducing his Gospel, Luke indicated a few items concerning his account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, and in these verses God showed us how He used human (Luke) mind and ability for writing down the divine revelation.

  1. He acknowledged the precedent of other gospels
  2. He recognized the reliability of the narratives, for they were based on eyewitness testimony.
  3. He outlined the process he went though to accomplish his writings
  4. He revealed the purpose of he records

His Research and Writing Style

Luke indicated that his research was thorough. He said that he investigated ‘all things.’ Luke’s research was also comprehensive since he wrote that he investigated all things ‘from the first.’ Luke also indicates that he was concerned with the truth, not just a good story. When he spoke of the ancient world, he was accurate. When he used political terminology, he was precise. When medical insights were appropriate, his skill enabled him to paint a more vivid picture.

The Central Thoughts of Gospel of Luke: 

There are 3 central thoughts of the Gospel of Luke, as excerpted from Recovery Version Bible Footnotes:

  • Christ as a Perfect Man and Man-Savior: The purpose of the Gospel of Luke is to present the Savior as a genuine, normal, and perfect man. It gives a complete genealogy of the man Jesus, from His parents back to Adam, the first generation of mankind, and shows that He is a genuine descendant of man. Its record of this man impresses us with the completeness and perfection of His humanity. Hence, this Gospel stresses the Lord as the Man-Savior.
  • Universal Morality: Based on the moral principles that apply to all men, it presents gospel messages, as in 4:16-21; 7:41-43; 12:14-21; and 13:2-5; gospel parables, as in10:30-37; 14:16-24; 15:3-32; and 18:9-14; and gospel cases, as in 7:36-50; 13:10-17; 16:19-31; 19:1-10; and 23:39-43. None of these are recorded in the other Gospels.
  • Gospel to all People: It is the Gospel written to mankind in general, and it announces the good news to all people (2:10). Its characteristic is absolutely not Jewish but Gentile (4:25-28). It is a Gospel to all sinners, both Jewish and Gentile.

Footnote Reference

Summary

Here is my personal summary of Luke, which is not necessarily scriptural but are the reasons why I like Luke as a person.

  1. He is faithful follower of the New Testament ministry
  2. He is scientific; he writes down after careful investigation
  3. He is thorough and comprehensive; He investigates all things from the first
  4. He is precise and accurate; he writes with accuracy and certainty
  5. He is orderly; he writes and presents in an orderly fashion
  6. He is considerate and helpful; he help others to know the truth

References

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