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Commentary: Luke

The Gospel According to Luke

Commentary: Luke

Rev. Noel Due

by Rev. Noel Due

Subject: Bible Commentary

Book Code: 256

Pages: 141 pp, A4

Pub. Date: 1992

ISBN: 0 86408 146 7

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The Book of Luke never actually states that it was written by Luke. How, then, did it come to be ascribed to him? We know that the Book of Luke and the Book of the Acts were written by the one person and both were dedicated to the same individual (viz. Theophilus). We also know that the author of them both was not one of the Twelve, but was one who had gained his information from eyewitnesses and who had taken into account earlier narratives (Luke 1:1-4). From Acts, however, we can also deduce that the author was a travelling companion of Paul (see Acts 16:10-17; 20:5-15; 21:1-18; 27:1-28:16 where the word 'we' is used). While some scholars have denied the significance of the 'we' passages, the most natural interpretation is to see them for what they are-accounts of journeys undertaken together. We know that Luke was a medical doctor and a travelling companion of Paul (Col. 4:14; II Tim. 4:11; Philemon 24), and there is some evidence to suggest the author of the third Gospel was medically very astute (see the description of Peter's mother-in-law's condition in Luke 4:38 and that of the leper in 5:12).

When we bear all this in mind, and note that from the earliest days the authorship has been attributed to Luke, the travelling companion of Paul, we should be free to accept that it was indeed written by him. Some scholars have rejected Lucan authorship, but if the Book was indeed written by some other person, why was it attributed to the relatively insignificant person of Luke to begin with?

Though he does not mention himself by name, Luke was the author of the third Gospel.

As to the date of his work there has been much debate. If we assume, however, that both Luke and Acts were penned by the same person, and from the prefaces of each book we know that the Gospel was completed first, Luke must have finished his Gospel a year or so prior to the close of the Book of the Acts. This would give a date of circa AD 60-61.