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Luke The Evangelist

Luke, a physician and companion of Paul on his missionary journeys (Col. 4:14; Philem. 24; 2 Tim. 4:11), is generally though not universally agreed to have been the author of the third gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. It is widely thought that he joined the Pauline party where the “we” passages begin in Acts (16:10), and he remained as Paul's only companion at the end of the apostle's life (2 Tim. 4:11). Attempts have been made to identify him with either Lucius of Cyrene (Acts 13:1) or Lucius a kinsman of Paul at Corinth (Rom. 16:21). These were Jews, and Luke has usually been held to be a Gentile in view of the universalistic outlook of his gospel and his being distinguished from the circumcision party in Colossians 4:10-14. But the Jewish nature of the early chapters of the gospel has been stressed, as has been the emphasis Luke puts on Jerusalem.

Some have also challenged the view that “the circumcision party” in Colossians 4 refers to Jewish Christians as a whole, and have suggested that it means those Jewish Christians who were strict in the observance of the Law, but did not (like the Judaizers) try to force their practice upon others. If these views are correct, Luke may have been a Hellenistic Jew. He was not an eyewitness of the ministry (Luke 1:2), and is therefore unlikely to have been a member of the Seventy (Luke 10:1) or the companion of Cleopas on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:18). The anti- Marcionite prologue to his gospel says he died unmarried in Boeotia, aged eighty-four. He is the patron saint of doctors.