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Among Christians, Luke is customarily
regarded as the author of the Third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. He
was a companion of the apostle Paul and the most literary of the New Testament
writers. As is the case with most of the early Christians, information about
his life is scarce. The prevalence of medical terms in his writings and other
sources strongly suggests that he was a physician.
Luke was also a Gentile. He was intimately involved in the missions of Paul
and was present during Paul's imprisonment in Rome. Luke's importance to the
Christian tradition lies, fittingly, in his writings, in which he was careful
to stress the universality of the Christian faith, saying "that repentance
and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations" (Luke
24:47). Luke was also, perhaps, the first to connect Roman history and the
Roman Empire with Christianity. He held the Jews responsible for Christ's death,
not the Romans (the Book of Luke notes on three occasions that Pilate did not
find Jesus guilty). By noting the ritual differences between Judaism and Christianity
in the Acts of the Apostles, Luke made it clear that Christianity was open
to all believers, not just to Jews. The Book of Acts is profoundly important
because of its account of early church history and its guidance on ecclesiastical
matters such as the Trinity, the Eucharist, and baptism. Through his writings
Luke helped provide the solid foundation the church would need when its members
realized that the second coming was not imminent.
Works by the Author
Ballou, Robert A., Friedrich Spiegelberg, and Horace L. Friess, eds. The
Bible of The World. New York: The Viking Press, 1939.
The Dartmouth Bible. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1950.
Bates, Ernest Sutherland, ed. The Bible. New York: Simon and Schuster,
The Holy Bible. New York: P. J. Kenedy & Sons, 1914.
The biographical material about the author originally appeared on The
Goodrich Room: Interactive Tour website.