I started this thread over a week ago on the authorship of the Third Gospel, and would like now simply to bring some closure to it before moving on to other things. To sum up: there is a kind of interpretive logic that can lead one to think that this Gospel was written by Luke, a Gentile physician who was a traveling companion of Paul. This is what I myself thought for years, and it was based on this logic, that:

  • The author of Acts also wrote the Gospel of Luke
  • That the author of Acts, and therefore of Luke, must have been a traveling companion of Paul (since he speaks of himself in the first person on four occasions)
  • That this author was probably a Gentile because he was so concerned with the spread of the Christian movement among Gentiles (the whole point of the book of Acts)
  • Paul himself speaks of a Gentile among his traveling companions in Colossians 4, naming him as Luke the beloved physician.
  • Therefore this person was likely the traveling companion of Paul.

After laying out the logic of that position I tried to dismantle it by showing its very weak links, as I will summarize in a second. But first I should say that I completely agree, still, that whoever wrote Acts also wrote Luke. Not only does the beginning of Acts show this (compare it to the first four verses of Luke), but so does the similarity of writing style, vocabulary, theological perspectives, major themes, parallel incidents and just about everything else about the two books. Moreover, I agree that a Gentile probably wrote these books. I do not think the fact that he was concerned about a Gentile mission shows this – Paul, for example, was *particularly* concerned about the mission, and he was a Jew! No reason that this author couldn’t be as well. But there are other reasons for thinking he was a gentile that I haven’t gone into and don’t need to at this point; it’s widely conceded he was gentile.

But there’s little reason to think he was Paul’s traveling companion and virtually no reason, in my opinion, to think that he was a physician named Luke.


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