The evangelist, probably the same person who is called by St. Paul, "the beloved physician," Col 4:14. The name Luke, or Lucas, Phm 1:24, is the same as Lucanus in Latin. Luke was the writer of the gospel, which bears his name, and of the Acts of the Apostles, having been the friend and companion of St. Paul in most of the journeys recorded in the latter book. Thus, in Ac 16:11, he first uses the word "we," and shows that he was with Paul at Troas and in his first Macedonian tour. After they reach Philippe, an interval of separation occurs; but they are again together at Philippi when Paul sails thence for Jerusalem, and from that time he continues with the apostle in his labors, voyages, and sufferings, to the close of his first imprisonment at Rome, Ac 17:1; 20:5-6,13-16; 21-28; Phm 1:24; 2Ti 4:11. His personal history before and after this period of his companionship with Paul, is unknown, or rests on uncertain traditions. His own narrative contains the least possible mention of himself; yet we cannot doubt that he was eminently useful to the early church, by his learning, judgment, fidelity, and even his medical skill, besides leaving to the church universal the invaluable legacy of his writings.
the evangelist, was a Gentile. The date and circumstances of his conversion are unknown. According to his own statement (Lu 1:2), he was not an "eye-witness and minister of the word from the beginning." It is probable that he was a physician in Troas, and was there converted by Paul, to whom he attached himself. He accompanied him to Philippi, but did not there share his imprisonment, nor did he accompany him further after his release in his missionary journey at this time (Ac 17:1). On Paul's third visit to Philippi (Ac 20:5-6) we again meet with Luke, who probably had spent all the intervening time in that city, a period of seven or eight years. From this time Luke was Paul's constant companion during his journey to Jerusalem (Ac 20:6-21:18). He again disappears from view during Paul's imprisonment at Jerusalem and Caesarea, and only reappears when Paul sets out for Rome (Ac 27:1), whither he accompanies him (Ac 28:2,12-16), and where he remains with him till the close of his first imprisonment (Phm 1:24; Col 4:14). The last notice of the "beloved physician" is in 2Ti 4:11.
There are many passages in Paul's epistles, as well as in the writings of Luke, which show the extent and accuracy of his medical knowledge.
(See Acts.) Contracted from Lucanus, as Silas is contracted from Silvanus. A slave name. As Luke was a "physician," a profession often exercised by slaves and freedmen, he may have been a freedman. Eusebius (H.E. iii. 4) states that Antioch was his native city. He was of Gentile parentage before he became a Christian; as appears from Col 4:11,14: "Luke the beloved physician" (one of "my fellow workers unto the kingdom of God which have been a comfort unto me") is distinguished from those "of the circumcision."
That he was not of "the seventy" disciples, as Epiphanius (Haer. i. 12) reports, is clear from his preface in which he implies he was not an" eye witness"; the tradition arose perhaps from his Gospel alone recording the mission of the seventy. His history in Acts is first joined with that of Paul at Troas (Ac 16:10), where the "we" implies that the writer was then Paul's companion. He accompanied the apostle in his journey to Jerusalem and Rome, at Paul's first Roman imprisonment "Luke my fellow labourer," Philemon (Phm 1:24) written from Rome, as also Colossians (Col 4:14); also in Paul's last imprisonment there, when others forsook him Luke remained faithful (2Ti 1:15; 4:11 "only Luke is with me".) His death by martyrdom between A.D. 75 and 100 is generally reported.
(light-giving), or Lu'cas, is an abbreviated form of Lucanus. It is not to be confounded with Lucius,
which belongs to a different person. The name Luke occurs three times in the New Testament--
; Phle 1:24 --and probably in all three the third evangelist is the person spoken of. Combining the traditional element with the scriptural we are able to trace the following dim outline of the evangelist's life. He was born at Antioch in Syria, and was taught the science of medicine. The well known tradition that Luke was also a painter, and of no mean skill, rests on the authority of late writers. He was not born a Jew, for he is not reckoned among those "of the circumcision" by St. Paul. Comp.
with ver. 14. The date of his conversion is uncertain. He joined St. Paul at Troas, and shared his Journey into Macedonia. The sudden transition to the first person plural in
is most naturally explained after all the objections that have been urged, by supposing that Luke the writer of the Acts, formed one of St. Paul's company from this point. As far as Philippi the evangelist journeyed with the apostle. The resumption of the third person on Paul's departure from that place,
would show that Luke was now left behind. During the rest of St. Paul's second missionary journey we hear of Luke no more; but on the third journey the same indication reminds us that Luke is again of the company,
having joined it apparently at Philippi, where he had been left. With the apostle he passed through Miletus, Tyre and Caesarea to Jerusalem. ch. Acts 20:6; 21:18 As to his age and death there is the utmost uncertainty. He probably died a martyr, between A.D. 75 and A.D. 100. He wrote the Gospel that bears his name, and also the book of Acts.
LUKE. The New Testament informs us of very few particulars concerning St. Luke. He is not named in any of the Gospels. In the Acts of the Apostles, which were, as will hereafter be shown, written by him, he uses the first person plural, when he is relating some of the travels of St. Paul; and thence it is inferred, that at those times he was himself with that Apostle. The first instance of this kind is in the eleventh verse of the sixteenth chapter; he there says, "Loosing from Troas, we came up with a straight course to Samothracia." Thus, we learn that St. Luke accompanied St. Paul in this his first voyage to Macedonia. From Samothracia they went to Neapolis, and thence to Philippi. At this last place we conclude that St. Paul and St. Luke separated, because in continuing the history of St. Paul, after he left Philippi, St. Luke uses the third person, saying, "Now when they had passed through Amphipolis," &c, Ac 17:1; and he does not resume the first person till St. Paul was in Greece the second time. We have no account of St. Luke during this interval; it only appears that he was not with St. Paul. When St. Paul was about to go to Jerusalem from Greece, after his second visit into that country, St. Luke, mentioning certain persons, says, "These going before tarried for us at Troas; and we sailed away from Philippi," Ac 20:5-6. Thus again we learn that St. Luke accompanied St. Paul out of Greece, through Macedonia to Troas; and the sequel of St. Paul's history in the Acts, and some passages in his epistles, 2Ti 4:11; Col 4:14; Phm 1:24, written while he was a prisoner at Rome, informs us that St. Luke continued from that time with Paul, till he was released from his confinement at Rome; which was a space of about five years, and included a very interesting part of St. Paul's life, Acts 20-28.
Here ends the certain account of St. Luke. It seems probable, however, that he went from Rome into Achaia; and some authors have asserted that he afterward preached the Gospel in Africa. None of the most ancient fathers having mentioned that St. Luke suffered martyrdom, we may suppose that he died a natural death; but at what time, or in what place, is not known. We are told by some that St. Luke was a painter, and Grotius and Wetstein thought that he was in the earlier part of his life a slave; but I find, says Bishop Tomline, no foundation for either opinion in any ancient writer. It is probable that he was by birth a Jew, and a native of Antioch in Syria; and I see no reason to doubt that "Luke, the beloved physician," mentioned in the Epistle to the Col 4:14, was Luke the evangelist.
Lardner thinks that there are a few allusions to this Gospel in some of the apostolical fathers, especially in Hermes and Polycarp; and in Justin Martyr there are passages evidently taken from it; but the earliest author, who actually mentions St. Luke's Gospel, is Irenaeus; and he cites so many peculiarities in it, all agreeing with the Gospel which we now have, that he alone is sufficient to prove its genuineness. We may however observe, that his testimony is supported by Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, Eusebius, Jerom, Chrysostom, and many others. Dr. Owen and Dr. Townson have compared many parallel passages of St. Mark's and St.
Luke's Gospels; and Dr. Townson has concluded that St. Luke had seen St. Mark's Gospel, and Dr. Owen, that St. Mark had seen St. Luke's; but there does not appear to be a sufficient similarity of expression to justify either of these conclusions. There was among the ancients a difference of opinion concerning the priority of these two Gospels; and it must be acknowledged to be a very doubtful point.
There is also great doubt about the place where this Gospel was published. It seems most probable that it was published in Greece, and for the use of Gentile converts. Dr. Townson observes, that the evangelist has inserted many explanations, particularly concerning the scribes and Pharisees, which he would have omitted if he had been writing for those who were acquainted with the customs and sects of the Jews. We must conclude that the histories of our Saviour, referred to in the preface of this Gospel, were inaccurate and defective, or St. Luke would not have undertaken this work. It does not, however, appear that they were written with any bad design; but being merely human compositions, and perhaps put together in great haste, they were full of errors. They are now entirely lost, and the names of their authors are not known. When the four authentic Gospels were published, and came into general use, all others were quickly disregarded and forgotten.
St. Luke's Gospel is addressed to Theophilus; but there was a doubt, even in the time of Epiphanius, whether a particular person, or any good Christian in general, be intended by that name. Theophilus was probably a real person, that opinion being more agreeable to the simplicity of the sacred writings. We have seen that St. Luke was for several years the companion of St. Paul; and many ancient writers consider this Gospel as having the sanction of St. Paul, in the same manner as St. Mark's had that of St. Peter. Whoever will examine the evangelist's and the Apostle's account of the eucharist in their respective original works, will observe a great coincidence of expression, Lu 22; 1Co 11, St. Luke seems to have had more learning than any other of the evangelists, and his language is more varied, copious, and pure. This superiority in style may perhaps be owing to his longer residence in Greece, and greater acquaintance with Gentiles of good education, than fell to the lot of the writers of the other three Gospels. This Gospel contains many things which are not found in the other Gospels; among which are the following: the birth of John the Baptist; the Roman census in Judea; the circumstances attending Christ's birth at Bethlehem; the vision granted to the shepherds;
the early testimony of Simeon and Anna; Christ's conversation with the doctors in the temple when he was twelve years old; the parables of the good Samaritan, of the prodigal son, of Dives and Lazarus, of the wicked judge, and of the publican and Pharisee; the miraculous cure of the woman who had been bowed down by illness eighteen years; the cleansing of the ten lepers; and the restoring to life the son of a widow at Nain; the account of Zaccheus, and of the penitent thief; and the particulars of the journey to Emmaus. It is very satisfactory that so early a writer as Irenaeus has noticed most of these peculiarities; which proves not only that St. Luke's Gospel, but that the other Gospels also, are the same now that they were in the second century.