Posted by / Monday 3 April 2017 / No comments

Who wrote the gospel of Luke?

The book of Luke is one of the synoptic gospels, apart from the books of Mark and Matthew. In a bid to determine the writer of Luke, evidence would be advanced both from the gospel of Luke itself and from other external sources.

Eusebius, AD 325
One of the external evidence about the authorship of Luke is called Eusebius. He wrote in A.D. 325 that “Luke, by race a native of Antioch, and by profession a physician…has left us examples,…in two inspired books, the gospel and the Acts of the Apostles.” This is a historian confirming through his writings that Luke wrote the gospel of St. Luke.

Muratorian fragment, A.D. 170
Another external evidence of the authorship of Luke can be seen in the Muratorian fragmant. This document is regarded as ”…a copy of perhaps the oldest known list of most of the books of the New Testament.” Luke’s gospel and the Acts of the Apostles are all confirmed to have been written by Luke the physician.

Paul’s confirmation
In the book of Colossians 4:14, Paul also described Luke as “the beloved physician.” Though this statement does not clearly say that he wrote the book of Luke, it confirms that he was a medical doctor and therefore confirms what Eusebius had also written.

Note: the thrust of the internal proof that Luke wrote the gospel is largely premised on proving that he was a physician because the writer and his profession have not been detached.

The use of medical terms
It is argued that since Luke was a medical doctor, some medical terms have found their way into his writings that go to prove that he wrote the book of Luke. In the story of the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law, Luke identified that the woman was down with “High Fever.” It was his training as a Medical Doctor that helped him to diagnose the ailment and to state it in his book.

Toning down harsh comments
Luke toned down some comments about doctors which he found to be unsavory. In the story of the healing of the woman with the issue of blood, Mark wrote that the woman had been to a lot of physicians and had paid money but the physicians could not cure him. Luke toned down this statement, writing that “She could not be treated by anyone.” It is assumed that since Luke was a medical practitioner, he could not allow that statement about doctors to be written in his book, hence, he removed it. This is exactly what betrays him as a doctor.

Evidence in the book of Acts of the Apostles
The authorship of book of Acts of the Apostles adds credence to the belief that Luke wrote the gospel of Luke. In the opening verses of the Acts of the Apostles, the author referred to a first book that he had written. This first book is believed to be Luke. The reason is that the book of Acts seems like the sequel to the book of St. Luke. While the book of Luke followed the work of Jesus from Galillee to Jerusalem, the Acts of the Apostles traced the beginning of Christianity from Jerusalem to the Apian ways of Rome. It is this continuity that exposes Luke as the author of both books.

Addressee of the book of Acts
In both the books of Luke and that of Acts of the Apostles, the books were written and dedicated the same individual and that is Theophilus. If the two books were addressed to the same person, and the second book seems like a continuation of the first, it is safe to believe that the same person wrote the two books that is, the gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles.

1. Highlight both the external and internal evidence that shows that Luke, the physician was the author of the book of Luke.

2. Advance six reasons to prove that Luke was the writer of the gospel of Luke.

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