Luke – Gospel Writer and Physician

Profile of Luke, Close Friend of the Apostle Paul

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Luke the Scripture Writer and Physician. Getty Images

Luke not only authored the Gospel bearing his name but was a close friend of the Apostle Paul, accompanying him on his missionary journeys.

Bible scholars also attribute the book of the Acts of the Apostles to Luke.  This record of how the church got started in Jerusalem is packed with vivid details, as is Luke's Gospel.  Some credit Luke's training as a medical doctor for his attention to accuracy.

Today, many refer to him as Saint Luke and mistakenly believe he was one of the 12 Apostles.

Luke was a gentile, probably a Greek, as implied in Colossians 4:11.  He may have been converted to Christianity by Paul.

He probably studied to be a physician in Antioch, in Syria.  In the ancient world, Egyptians were the most skilled in medicine, having taken centuries to perfect their art.  First century doctors like Luke could perform minor surgery, treat wounds, and administer herbal remedies for everything from indigestion to insomnia.

Luke joined Paul at Troas and went with him through Macedonia.  He probably traveled with Paul to Philippi, where he was left behind to serve in the church there.  He departed from Philippi to join Paul on his third missionary journey, through Miletus, Tyre, and Caesarea, ending in Jerusalem.  Luke apparently accompanied Paul to Rome and is last mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:11.

No definite information is available about Luke's death.  One early source says he died of natural causes at age 84 in Boeatia, while another church legend says Luke was martyred by idolatrous priests in Greece by being hanged from an olive tree.

Accomplishments of Luke

Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke, which emphasizes Jesus Christ's humanity.

  Luke supplies a genealogy of Jesus, a detailed account of Christ's birth, as well as the parables of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son.  In addition, Luke wrote the Book of Acts and served as a missionary and early church leader.

Luke's Strengths

Loyalty was one of Luke's outstanding virtues.  He stuck with Paul, enduring the hardships of travel and persecution.  Luke made good use of his writing skills and knowledge of human emotions to write Scripture that jumps off the page as both authentic and moving.

Life Lessons

God gives every person unique talents and experiences.  Luke showed us we can each apply our skills in service to the Lord and to others.

Hometown

Antioch in Syria.

Referenced in the Bible

Colossians 4:14, 2 Timothy 4:11, and Philemon 24.

Occupation

Physician, Scripture writer, missionary.

Key Verses

Luke 1:1-4
Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

(NIV)

Acts 1:1-3
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. (NIV)

Old Testament People of the Bible (Index)
New Testament People of the Bible (Index)

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Zavada, Jack. "Luke – Gospel Writer and Physician." ThoughtCo, Feb. 12, 2017, thoughtco.com/luke-gospel-writer-and-physician-701087. Zavada, Jack. (2017, February 12). Luke – Gospel Writer and Physician. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/luke-gospel-writer-and-physician-701087 Zavada, Jack. "Luke – Gospel Writer and Physician." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/luke-gospel-writer-and-physician-701087 (accessed December 14, 2017).