Problems with Thinking That Luke Wrote Luke (and Acts)

I continue now with my discussion of whether one of Paul’s traveling companions wrote the account of his life in the book of Acts, and thus, by association, the Gospel of Luke.  It turns out to be a really sticky problem — one of those that can’t be solved simply by looking at a couple of verses and applying some basic logic.

In my previous post I gave the logic that is typically adduced for thinking that the Luke was probably ...

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Did “Luke” Really Write Luke? And the book of Acts?

Here is an important question that I received recently, which I’ve addressed long ago on the blog, before living memory.  Time to address it again!  The basic issue: isn’t there good evidence that the book of Acts, which describes the spread of Christianity throughout the Roman world, especially through the missionary efforts of Paul, was written by an eyewitness, an actual traveling companion of Paul who was with him for a number of his endeavors?   (Whoever the author is, he ...

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Was Christianity a Missionary Religion with No Missionaries?

Early Christians were bound and determined to convert others to their faith, as I indicated in my previous post.  Or at least that’s what their literature suggests; I very much doubt if *everyone* was!  But they certainly did convert people – within four hundred years a tiny handful of the disciples of Jesus’ uneducated and unimpressive disciples had become the official religion of the entire western world.

The interest in making converts made this religion unlike anything else in the Roman ...

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Why Do Christians Try to Convert People?

I begin this New Year by addressing a really interesting question I received recently from a reader.  It’s a question that has rarely occurred to most people.  Today, we tend to think that religions are by their very nature interested in converting others to their views, that they just inherently evangelistic, missionary, proselytizing.  If you religion is “the right one,” wouldn’t you want everyone to agree with you, so they too could be right, instead of wrong?   Wouldn’t their salvation ...

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Why Does Matthew Have the Story of the “Wise Men”?


My Bible group had a good time yesterday comparing Matthew and Luke’s accounts of the Christmas story. One question that came up was why would Matthew relate the story of the Magi?



Ah, it’s a great question and – as it turns out – an important one for understanding the Gospel of Matthew.   The story is found only in this Gospel (But this time of year, who can keep ones mind from jumping to:  “We Three Kings of Orient Are….”), and ...

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Why Would an Agnostic-Atheist Be A Bible Scholar??

Five years ago I received this question.  I still hear it!   And I would still answer it the same way.  A question that makes a lot of sense in one way actually doesn’t make a lot of sense looked at in another way.  I suppose a lot of our questions are like that….   Here is the question and response.


QUESTION:   The one thing that I do not understand about you is that you have stated you have lost your faith. That ...

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Why Don’t You Just Believe?

The following post is for anyone interested.  You interested?  Join the blog.  You get five posts a week, each and every week of the year, on all sorts of intriguing topics connected with the New Testament and Early Christianity.



What do you have to lose by having faith and believing that Christ was born supernaturally as a result of a virgin birth to Mary, that Christ performed miracles, that Christ died by crucifixion and came back to ...

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Setting Dates for the Gospels

One of the questions I often get asked on the blog is how we know when the Gospels were written.   I’ve answer the question at some length before, and thought it might be useful to answer it again. Here’s what I said years ago, and looking at it, I’d say the same thing again.  In fact, I will.  Here:



How are the dates that the Gospels were composed determined? I’ve read that Mark is usually dated to 70 or ...

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Do Textual Variants Actually *Matter* For Much??

In light of my previous post, I thought I should address a question I get asked a lot. Or rather, a rhetorical question that I hear posed a lot — especially by evangelical apologists who want to insist that even though there are hundreds of thousands of differences in our manuscripts, none of them really matters for anything that’s important. (This was a perennial objection to my book Misquoting Jesus.)  Is that true?   I dealt with it many years ago ...

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