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Bible Gem 728 - Luke the Person

May 5, 2019


I have used the resources from E-Sword to glean the following:


Luke's name Loukás (Λουκᾶς) is an abbreviation from Loukanós (Λουκανός). It was a common practice in the koı́nē text to abbreviate proper names, as it is today. Luke was a Gentile who came as a heathen to Christianity. He may or may not have been a Jewish proselyte. His first appearance historically was with Paul at Troas.  The introduction to the Gospel (Luke 1:1-4) shows us that he was a man of culture (compare Apollos and Paul). He was a man of the schools, and his Greek has a literary flavor only approached in the New Testament by Paul's writings and by the Epistle to the Hebrews.   


Luke's home town is debated. It is unlikely that Luke is the same person as Lucius of Acts 13:1. However there are many references to Luke and Antioch: (Acts 11:19 27; 13:1; 14:26; 15:22, 15:23, 15:30, 15:35; 18:22). It seems most likely that Luke was a native of Antioch. Other stories make Luke live in Alexandria and Achaia and narrate that he died in Achaia or Bithynia. But we know that he lived in Philippi for a considerable period. 


Luke first meets Paul at Troas just before the vision of the Man from Macedonia (Acts 16:10-12), and a conversation with Paul about the work in Macedonia may well have been the human occasion of that vision and call. (If the reading of Codex Bezae (D) in Acts 11:27 f is correct, Luke met Paul at Antioch before the 1st missionary tour.) Luke remains in Philippi when Paul and Silas leave (Acts 16:40, “They ... departed”). He is here when Paul comes back on his 3rd tour bound for Jerusalem (Acts 20:3-5). He shows also a natural pride in the claims of Philippi to the primacy in the province as against Amphipolis and Thessalonica (Acts 16:12, “the first of the district”). On the whole, then, we may consider Philippi as the home of Luke, though he was probably a man who had traveled a great deal, and may have been with Paul in Galatia before coming to Troas. He may have ministered to Paul in his sickness there (Gal 4:14). His later years were spent chiefly with Paul away from Philippi (compare Acts 20:3-28, Acts 20:31, on the way to Jerusalem, at Caesarea, the voyage to Rome and in Rome). He was apparently not with Paul when Phi 2:20 was written, though, as we have seen, he was with Paul in Rome when he wrote Colossians and Philemon. He was Paul's sole companion for a while during the 2nd Roman imprisonment (2Tim 4:11). His devotion to Paul in this time of peril is beautiful.


Paul (Col 4:14) calls Luke “the beloved physician.” He was Paul's medical adviser, and doubtless prolonged his life and rescued him from many a serious illness. He was a medical missionary, and probably kept up his general practice of medicine in connection with his work in Rome. He probably practiced medicine in Malta (Acts 28:9 ). There are many touches through the gospel which show Luke's medical background. The birth of Jesus is told from Mary's perspective, Luke adds details of Jesus circumcision, describes a fever as a high fever. He not only uses many medical terms (Bible Gem 727) and technical terms, but he also has the physician's interest in the sick and afflicted. It is interesting to note that 5 out of 6 miracles recorded by Luke are healings.


Luke was a Greek, a Christian, a man well-travelled, a man of world perspective, sympathetic, cultured, poetic, spiritual and artistic. Luke brings to the account he wrote an understanding of culture and geography that the others don't. For example Luke calls the "sea of Galilee" a lake. Being a constant companion to Paul gives us an on the spot description of the events of Acts. It is likely that Luke wrote his gospel in Caesarea and the Book of Acts in Rome. 


Luke, the historian, was methodical, meticulous and detailed. Luke’s is an ordered account. Luke’s did the research to collate and organize the stories related to Christ. Sometimes it takes a man from the outside to pull together the pieces and give us a clear concise account in the end covering all angles. His focus in his gospel is on Gentiles, the outcastes, the poor and women. It is a gospel that rings with joy and release for the captives. 



Grace is the fact that God knows every stupid mistake I'll make in ministry yet still chose to use & bless me. Rick Warren


When one of Charles Spurgeon's students proudly stepped up to preach, but came back down having failed miserably, Spurgeon supposedly said something like, 'If you'd gone up the way you came down, you'd have come down the way you went up.'


Don't ever seek to be the greatest. Seek instead to do great things. If you aspire to greatness, your greatness will die with you. But if you aspire to do great things, your legacy will live on. The only way to do this is by being a servant. Lead by serving and you'll do great things


Dr Martin Luther King Jr said, ‘If a man is called to be a street sweeper he should sweep streets as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of Heaven and earth will pause and say, “Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”






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