But Luke didn’t sign it and his name is not mentioned at all in the gospel; as we know from Bible Gem 726, his name doesn’t appear in the Gospel that bears his name. So how do we really know he wrote it?
There is no serious challenge to the authorship of Luke. None of the Gospels are signed by the writer. It was not the done thing among the Gospel writers it seems. They didn’t want to draw attention to themselves but rather wanted all the attention to be put on Christ. For that reason there is no indication within the gospel as to who wrote it but there is almost universal agreement that it was Luke the physician who wrote it. The ancients were universally agreed that the writer was Luke. The first writers who definitely name Luke as the author of the Third Gospel belong to the end of the 2nd century. They are the Canon of Muratori (Hippolytus), Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria. However there is still debate among some scholars as to the authorship of the 3rd Gospel. There are some commentators and “scholars” who dispute that it was Luke who wrote the Gospel. The debate associated with authorship can be long and tedious and I don’t want to get into that.
Suffice to say it is clear that Luke and Acts are linked together. A careful look at the opening to both books indicates that we have the first and second book by the same author. Both written to Theophilus. Thus in looking at authorship we must also take into account the book of Acts. When we do that the argument is clearer. The author was a companion of Paul. The “we” sections prove that (Acts 16:10-17; Acts 20:6-16; 21; 27; 28). These sections have the fullness of detail and vivid description natural to an eye-witness. This companion was with Paul in the second missionary journey at Troas and at Philippi, joined Paul’s party again at Philippi on the return to Jerusalem during the third tour, and probably remained with Paul till he went to Rome. Some of Paul’s companions came to him at Rome The medical language of Acts argues for Luke. The writer was a physician. The style and language of both books is that of a physician. The writer uses medical terms in a technical sense. The terms of the diagnosis in Acts 28:8 “are medically exact and can be vouched for from medical literature”. The interest of the writer in matters of disease is also another indication, compare Luke 8:43. Now Luke was a companion of Paul during his later ministry and was a physician. (Col 4:14). Hence, Luke fulfils all the requirements of being the author.
- The author of the Third Gospel is the author of the Acts.
- The author of Acts was a companion of Paul.
- The author of Luke and Acts was a Physician. Luke was a physician.
The fact that the author was not an apostle affected the order of the book in some lists. Most manuscripts and versions have the common order of today, but the Western text family have a different order: Matthew, John, Luke, Mark. The Old Latin has Luke second John, Luke, Mark, Matthew, while the Curetonian Syriac has Luke last of the four. The object was probably to place the books by apostles together and first.
The fact that these two books hang together in a series is what has influenced me to cover both Luke and Acts together in Gems over the next months. They have been referred to as New Testament History I and II so we will treat them that way.
It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.Anon
Once you stop living for the praise of others, disapproval doesn’t slow you down.Rick Warren
Ever notice that really great people always make YOU feel that you can become great too? Be that kind of person!Rick Godwin
When asked for her impression of Glastone and Disraeli, a woman said, ‘When I left the dining room after sitting next to Mr. Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest man in England. But after sitting next to Mr. Disraeli, I thought I was the cleverest woman in England.’Anon