The Gospel of Luke was written by a man whose name is never mentioned in the book. Because of the similarity to the beginnings of Luke and Acts, it is known that they both were written by the same man.
The book of Luke covers the life and ministry of Christ, and the book of Acts takes over where Luke ends. Both of them are addressed to a man named Theophilus, who is unknown. In Greek, Theophilus means “Friend of God,” or “Lover of God,” which strongly suggests that Luke was writing the gospel to a believer.
Luke calls him “most excellent,” which is the same term Claudius Lysias used when sending a letter to Felix (Acts 23:26). This means that whoever Theophilus was, he may have been a man of rank and wealth.
From the first verses of Luke’s Gospel, he declares the purpose of writing it. He tells us five things about it:
- These things are already “most surely believed” (Lk. 1:1).
- Others told us these things, who were eyewitnesses (Lk. 1:2).
- He wrote that he had a “perfect understanding” early in life – probably from having studied it thoroughly, and talking with those witnesses (Lk. 1:3).
- He would present these truths in order (Lk. 1:3).
- He would write them so that the reader would know those things to be certain – or true (Lk. 1:4).
Luke was a Gentile, and also a doctor. He is called the “beloved physician” in Colossians 4:14. We also see his name mentioned in II Timothy 4:11, where Paul says that Luke is present with him. He is called “Lucas” in Philemon 24. He is also believed to have been with Paul on his missionary journeys; especially during the “we” passages of Acts 16:10…, Acts 20:5, and following.
The Gospel that Luke wrote is a wonderful addition to the other two synoptic Gospels – Matthew and Mark. Luke wrote of Christ as the Perfect Man, which Luke, being a doctor, was fully qualified to write about our Lord in this way.
As a doctor, Luke would have had an analytical and scientific mind. Because of this, many precise details are given in this Gospel concerning Christ and those He met that are not mentioned in the others. Luke also notices compassion in Christ for all people, including the diseased and poor.
Since Luke was not there during the life of Christ, he would have learned all he knew from others. Although the Holy Spirit could have just dictated the book to Luke, his words at the beginning of the Gospel indicated that Luke had searched it out, and studied it. But having done so, you can be sure that inspiration in Luke’s case still involved God putting those details in order, with the words God wanted; and the finished product being only what God wanted – an inspired Book without error.
Evangelist Mike Valles
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