Luke the Evangelist: Profile & Biography of Luke

Luke the Evangelist
Luke the Evangelist.

The name Luke comes from the Greek Loukas which may itself be an affectionate form of the Latin Lucius. Luke is mentioned three times in New Testament letters attributed to Paul (Philemon, Colossians, 2 Timothy), only one of which was likely written by Paul himself (Philemon). The inauthentic passages describe Luke as “the beloved physician.” The authentic passage describes him as someone working with Paul.

This same Luke is usually identified as the author of the gospel of Luke and Acts.

When Did Luke the Evangelist Live?

Assuming that all of the major references to Luke are about the same person and that this person wrote the gospel according to Luke, he would have lived slightly later than the time of Jesus, probably dying some time after 100 CE.

Where Did Luke the Evangelist Live?

Because the Gospel According to Luke doesn’t display accurate knowledge of Palestinian geography, the author probably didn’t live there or compose the gospel there. Some traditions suggest that he wrote in Boeotia or Rome. Some scholars today have suggested places such as Caesarea and the Decapolis. He might have traveled with Paul on some of this journeys. Other than that, nothing at all is known.

What Did Luke the Evangelist Do?

The first to identify the Luke in Paul’s letters with the author of the Gospel according to Luke and Acts was Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons in the late 2nd century.

Luke was not, then, an eyewitness of the gospel events. He edited traditional material of which he came into possession. Luke could, however, have witnessed some events in Acts. Many critics dispute the claim that the Luke in Paul’s letters wrote the gospel — for example, the Acts author shows no knowledge of Paul’s writings.

Why Was Luke the Evangelist Important?

The Luke who was Paul’s companion is of relatively little importance for the development of Christianity. The Luke who wrote the gospel and Acts, however, is of significant importance. Despite having relied heavily on Mark’s gospel, Luke’s has even more new material than does Matthew: stories about Jesus’ childhood, influential and well-known parables, etc. Some of the most famous images of Jesus’ birth (manger, angelic announcement) come only from Luke.

Acts is important because it provides information on the beginnings of the Christian church, first in Jerusalem and then in the rest of Palestine and beyond. The historical reliability of the stories is questionable and it cannot be denied that the text is designed to convey the author’s theological, political, and social views. Thus, whatever historical truth is contained, it’s only because it accords with the author’s agenda.

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Cline, Austin. "Luke the Evangelist: Profile & Biography of Luke." ThoughtCo, Mar. 16, 2017, thoughtco.com/luke-the-evangelist-profile-and-biography-248815. Cline, Austin. (2017, March 16). Luke the Evangelist: Profile & Biography of Luke. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/luke-the-evangelist-profile-and-biography-248815 Cline, Austin. "Luke the Evangelist: Profile & Biography of Luke." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/luke-the-evangelist-profile-and-biography-248815 (accessed October 23, 2017).