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.
The biographical material about the author originally appeared on The Goodrich Room: Interactive Tour website.
Last modified April 10, 2014