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Bible Gemz 1892 - Paul and Luke's Relationship in the Final Period (Acts 28:30-31)

December 23, 2018


For two whole years Paul lived in his own rented place and welcomed everyone who came to him.                                           

He continued to preach about the kingdom of God and to teach boldly and freely about the Lord Jesus, the Messiah. (Acts 28:30-31)



You said the use of “we” stops Ian, does that mean that Luke has now left Paul on his own?

How does Luke know what was said if he didn't stay with Paul? It doesn't mention Luke in the final verses. 


Some of you have written to me over the last Gemz suggesting that Luke must have deserted Paul like the others did.


Well let’s examine the evidence:


Look at Acts 28:16. “When wecame into Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself with the soldier who was guarding him.”

We have Luke recorded as being with Paul in Rome. This is the last “we” reference in his account of the journeyings of Paul.  



What about this collection of three verses which make reference to Luke?

“Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas greet you.” (Col 4:14) 

“Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful in my ministry.” (2 Tim 4:11)

“as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.” (Philemon 1:24))


I wrote in Gemz 1885 - He was preaching the gospel and writing Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians and Philemon and welcoming all who came to him. 

Notice the fact that the references above come from Colossians and Philemon. 


From the above evidence it is clear that Luke was with Paul over the two years in Rome up until the end, contrary to the opinion of some that Luke abandoned Paul too. It is always good to gather the internal evidence found in the text of the Bible before we turn to the commentators and critics. Just recently I watched the movie “Paul – the Apostle”. I found myself thinking in a number of places, “That’s not right! That’s not how it happened.” You build up a picture in your mind of the events of Scripture and the background when you read the Bible over and over. Watching the above movie it rightly depicts that Luke was with Paul in Rome, but it has him visiting Paul each day in a normal harsh Roman prison. We are clearly told by Luke himself, that Paul was under house arrest and given freedom to have people come to him.    


But one of you have asked, what about these verses Ian? Don't they suggest that Luke abandoned Paul too? 

You know that everyone in Asia has abandoned me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.(2 Tim 1:15) 

At my first trial no one came to my defence. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be held against them!(2 Tim 4:16)



No, the letters to Timothy were written earlier then the last letters written while Paul was under house arrest in Rome. There are some who even doubt that Paul wrote the letters to Timothy believing they were written by a writer who simply used the name of Paul. I strongly don't agree with that theory. How do we explain the above verses then? Notice the use of “everyone in Asia” in the verse from Timothy and yes Luke may not have been present at Paul’s first trial. That was one of the times when Luke was not present. There are times when the  pronoun “we” appears in Acts and time when it doesn’t. That’s no problem. It was a time when Luke was not with Paul. But he came back and he was there at the end. 


Most Bible scholars agree that Acts was written around 63 AD and it reflects events in the Church up until that time. (If Luke wrote Acts then, he must have written his Gospel a few years earlier, ca. 60-61.) Tradition has it that the Romans released Paul from his house arrest before his final demise.  Luke was a meticulous historian. Notice his careful work as he dates the emergence of John the Baptist by cross-checking six contemporary datings: “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar [1], Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea [2], Herod being tetrarch of Galilee [3], his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Trachonitis [4], and Lysanias, tetrarch of Abilene [5], while Annas and Caiaphas were high priests [6], the word of God came to John …” (Luke 3:1-2). When it came to writing the book of Acts, Luke had opportunity to interview many eyewitnesses. Luke wrote of the acts of the 12 apostles from Acts 1-12, then of Paul and others from Acts 13-28. Luke himself travelled with Paul on his second and third missionary journeys. During the final two years in Rome, Luke no doubt took every opportunity to record many earlier stories and personal recollections of Paul in the book of Acts.

So here again are the readers’ questions on this matter. 


You said the use of “we” stops Ian, does that mean that Luke has now left Paul on his own?


I believe I have answered these two questions in full and given you both some other information in addition to that and I have shown you how you determine the truth of various theories about Bible background. Go first to the internal evidence recorded in the Bible text first, before you take on board any theory of a commentator or critic. I gained these verse above simply by typing into the E-Sword search function “Luke” and then “deserted”, or “abandoned” but you need to make sure you are search in a version which uses the word you are searching for or you will get nothing. For example, searching for “deserted” in the NLT will mean you find nothing. For the NLT you need to search on the word “abandoned”.    


How does Luke know what was said if he didn't stay with Paul? It doesn't mention Luke in the final verses. 


Well the evidence shows that Luke did stay with Paul up until the end. Luke deliberately doesn't make himself feature in the Book of Acts. He keeps a low profile and only refers to himself indirectly through the first person, plural pronoun “we”. Luke doesn’t mention himself anywhere in the Book of Acts, it is not just a case of an absence of a reference to Luke in the final verses. He is “absent” throughout the book – you will not find the name Luke anywhere in the book of Acts. In fact none of the Gospel writers refer to themselves by name.      


I think I have covered the questions over Luke’s involvement now.  



It's the friends you can call up at 4 am that matter. Marlene Dietrich


I think if Paul had had a cell phone he could have called Luke at 4 in the morning. Ian 


Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints on your heart. Eleanor Roosevelt


Paul left footprints on Luke’s heart and I believe Luke would have left footprints on Paul’s heart. Ian


Christmas and Easter are your guarantee that Jesus is ALWAYS and FOREVER your 4.00 am friend. Ian



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