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Luke the Physician and Faithful Companion of Paul

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A physician and faithful companion of the apostle Paul. He was the writer of the Gospel of Luke and of the Acts of Apostles. That Luke was well educated is apparent from his writings. Also, his background as a doctor is noticeable in his use of medical terms.—Lu 4:38; Ac 28:8.

Luke did not speak of himself as an eyewitness of the events in the life of Christ that are recorded in his Gospel account. (Lu 1:2) So, he apparently became a believer sometime after Pentecost of 33 C.E.

In the book of Acts, Luke is referred to in an indirect way by the use of the pronouns “we” and “us.” (Ac 16:10-17;20:5–21:18; 27:1–28:16) He was with Paul at Troas on the apostle’s second missionary tour and accompanied him from there to Philippi, where he may have remained until Paul’s return on his third missionary journey. 

Luke accompanied Paul to Judea at the end of that missionary tour (Ac 21:7, 8, 15), and while the apostle was imprisoned for about two years at Caesarea, Luke probably wrote his Gospel account there (c. 56-58 C.E.). He accompanied Paul on his trip to Rome for trial. (Ac 27:1;28:16) Since the book of Acts covers events from 33 C.E. down through two years of Paul’s imprisonment in Rome but does not record the outcome of Paul’s appeal to Caesar, Luke likely completed the book of Acts there by about 61 C.E.

Luke joined Paul in sending greetings to Christians at Colossae when Paul wrote to them from Rome (c. 60-61 C.E.), and the apostle identified him as “the beloved physician.” (Col 4:14) In writing to Philemon from Rome (c. 60-61 C.E.), Paul included greetings from Luke (Lucas, KJ), referring to him as one of his “fellow workers.” (Phm 24) That Luke stuck close to Paul and was with him shortly before the apostle’s martyrdom is evident from Paul’s remark, “Luke alone is with me.”—2Ti 4:11.

Some hold that Luke was a Gentile, basing this mainly on Colossians 4:11, 14. Because Paul first mentioned “those circumcised” (Col 4:11) and later referred to Luke (Col 4:14), the implication is drawn that Luke was not of the circumcision and hence was not a Jew. But this is by no means conclusive. Romans 3:1, 2 states that God entrusted his inspired utterances to the Jews. Luke is one of those to whom such inspired utterances were entrusted.

The Scriptures likewise furnish no basis for identifying Luke with the Lucius mentioned at Acts 13:1 or Paul’s ‘relative’ of the same name referred to at Romans 16:21.

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