Home  >  Features  >  Looking Back

Looking Back

Image: archives-pic_cropped.jpg

Looking Back

January 1970

A short exploration of Luke from January 1970.


L is for Luke

by Norman Fenwick

Luke is the author’s name upon the third gospel in the New Testament.

He had a Greek name; he wrote excellent Greek; he was sympathetic with the Greeks. The Greek he employed was the language used in everyday life. Many people wrote it as well as spoke it. He was therefore, almost certainly, a Greek.

Luke also wrote the Acts of the Apostles: almost a sequel to his telling of the Gospel story. His knowledge went back over a number of years, during which time he had associated with Apostles, eye-witnesses, and possibly with our Lord’s personal friends.

Luke’s knowledge covered all the major facts and his attractive Gospel contains many details that do not appear in others.


A doctor’s interest

In Acts – the sequel – Luke’s aim was to show the power possessed by the Apostles through the Holy Spirit as proof of their divine commission.

Luke was a doctor by profession. Certainly there is a great interest shown in the sick, the poor, the despised and the sinful. His Gospel is the only one with the story of the Good Samaritan, where we have such details as this: “He had compassion, and went up to him (the wounded man) and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine” (St Luke 10.33, 34), which may denote a doctor’s interest.

Travelling companion

Luke was Paul’s friend and travelling companion. Certain passages in Acts are written in the first person, ie Luke uses ‘we’ not ‘they’ showing that he was present at the events he describes (Acts 16:10, 17; 20:5, 15).

Thus it is generally accepted hat Luke himself was an eye-witness of those sections. If so, whom did he meet? In the first section he met Paul, Silas and Timothy.

In the second ‘we’ section, Luke accompanied Paul to Caesarea, and seems to have spent two years of his imprisonment there, making use of this opportunity to collect material for his Gospel.

At Caesarea, they stayed for some days with Philip the evangelist (Ch.21:8) and went up to Jerusalem with one Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple (Ch.21:16) who seems to have lived at Jerusalem and who probably told Luke much about the early days of the Church.

Lastly, Luke was loyal and courageous and a man of prayer. Paul was a prisoner in Rome, a dangerous person to know, but Luke remained when others had fled. “Only Luke is with me,” says Paul.

Man of Prayer

Surely Luke was also a man of prayer. He tells us how Jesus prayed at his baptism before choosing the disciples, at Caesarea Philippi, and again when put on the Cross. All these incidents of prayer are peculiar to Luke, as are the three parables of prayer. (The Persistent Friends, The Persistent Widow, The Pharisee and Tax-Collector at prayer).

Who was Luke? An author, a doctor, a man of prayer and a believer in the Holy Spirit, one who believed utterly in the love of God and in Jesus’ demand for complete devotion from all His followers.

Previous:The Man Who Met Christ in Rangoon

Looking Back Menu