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Archive for July 21st, 2012

Last post I did was titled, Muslim Writers’ Attack Against Traditional Authorship of the Gospels, Matthew and Mark: Part 2.  In this post, I will cover Luke and Acts.  Some of you maybe asking why are you adding Acts? since Acts is not part of the Gospel.  As I mentioned in my last post, I said,

I think it is important to cover it because Acts is associated with Luke since he wrote not just the Gospel of Luke, but the Book of Acts too.

Arguments for Traditional Authorship of Luke and Acts

As for the external evidence, here is what Irenaeus has to say about Luke,

Thus did the apostles simply, and without respect of persons, deliver to all what they had themselves learned from the Lord.  Thus also does Luke, without respect of persons, deliver to us what he had learned from them, as he has himself testified, saying, ‘Even as they delivered them to us, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word.’”[1]

In regards to Luke, Turtullian says this about Luke the physician and the disciple who learned from Paul and the apostles.

Luke, however, was not an apostle, but only an apostolic man; not a master, but a disciple, and so inferior to a master—at least as far subsequent to him as the apostle whom he followed (and that, no doubt, was Paul) was subsequent to the others….Inasmuch, therefore, as the enlightener of St. Luke himself desired the authority of his predecessors for both his own faith and preaching, how much more may not I require for Luke’s Gospel that which was necessary for the Gospel of his master.

In terms of the internal evidence, Luke 1:3 and Acts 1:1 point out the same person.  Luke 1:3 says,

It seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus.”

Acts 1:1 says,

The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach.”

As you can see, both verses are referring to the same person who is no other than Theophilus, who is no other than Luke.  This name Theophilus is probably a reference of him being a chief magistrate in Greece or in Asia Minor.[2]  Although the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts have similar language, style, and interests, there is more to show in regards to how Luke and Acts are written by the same author.[3]  To accomplish that, we must venture into the “we” passages, which are passages in Acts, where the author includes himself as an eyewitnesses of the events concerning the disciples’ affairs after the resurrection of Christ.[4]  For example, Acts 16:10-17 indicates that Luke was involved in a missionary journey with Paul, Timothy, and Silas to Macedonia, by using the first person plural (“we”).[5]  Here is an example of how the first person plural is used from that passage,

We sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.”

Other verses you can refer to that implements the first person plural with Luke being involved is: Acts 20:5-16; 21:1-18; 27:1-28 and 28:16.

Second internal evidence to consider is the identification of being a physician (Colossians 4:14).[6]   The Gospel of Luke, which is written by the physician Luke, reveals an astute interest in precise medical terminology when compared to the other Gospels.  For example, Matthew 8:14 and Mark 1:30 implements the use of πυρέσσω (“fever”) in relation to Peter’s mother-in-law, but Luke uses a slightly different term: πυρετῷ μεγάλῳ (“high fever”).[7]  On another note, instead of using the term λεπρὸς (“leper”) as Matthew 8:2 does, Luke 5:12 uses πλήρης λέπρας (“full of leprosy”).[8]  The specific medical terminology used by Luke clearly fits Luke’s medical profession.

Third main factor to consider is Luke’s carefulness to detail.  For example, Luke 1:1-3 says,

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus.”

Clearly, as a physician, Luke was careful with detail because he wanted to record what was accurate.


[1] Robert L. Thomas and David F. Farnell, “The Jesus Crisis: The Inroads of Historical Criticism into Evangelical Scholarship,” 65.

[2] Keith Thompson, “Who Wrote the Gospels? Internal and External Arguments For Traditional Authorship,” Answering Islam: A Christian-Muslim Dialog, 7.

[3] Ibid, 7.

[4] Ibid, 7.

[5] Ibid, 8.

[6] Ibid, 8.

[7] Ibid, 8.

[8] Ibid, 8.

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