Luke, Lucas [Lo̅o̅ke,Lo̅o̅'cas]—light-giving or luminous.
Less is known of Luke than any other New Testament writer. This we do know, he was a Gentile and probably the brother of Titus (2 Cor. 8:16; 12:18). Paul speaks of him as a “beloved physician.” Luke must have been a man of some wealth, otherwise he could not have traveled with Paul as his friend and useful companion (Acts 1:1; Col. 4:14; 2 Tim. 4:11; Philem. 24). Tertullian said of this native of Antioch that he received his illumination from Paul.
Luke was a man of learning and knowledge, an exact observer and faithful recorder. His medical training taught him to be exact. He is in the first rank as a reliable historian, scholarly, skilful and sympathetic (Luke 1:1-3; Acts 1:1-3). His gospel is the most literary of the four. With his Greek mind he had a sense of form, a beautiful style—studied and elaborate. A poet, he was unsurpassed as a word-painter. Luke’s gospel has been described as the most wonderful book ever written, the most beautiful book in the world. Above it and within it we hear the rustle of the angels'wings, the music of angels’songs.
Luke’s qualifications for his great ministry were manifold. Above and beyond all else, he had the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Then there was his long and close companionship with Paul, and Luke the follower of Paul set down in a book the Gospel which Paul loved to preach. Luke also had abundant opportunities for personal acquaintance with other apostles. His liberal education also indicated that in him God had a proper vessel for the accomplishment of His plan. The wisdom of the divine choice was justified.
Luke’s mission was to proclaim Christ’s humanity. His is The Gentile Gospel, thus he traces Christ’s lineage back to Adam, and gives prominence to the sympathy and sociableness of Jesus as the Man (Luke 15:1) who came to save (Luke 19:10). As the representative of Grecian reason and culture, Luke presented Christ as the true Representative of universal man.
Luke wrote both the gospel bearing his name and the Book of Acts (Luke 1:1; Acts 1). The characteristic features of his gospel are clearly defined.
I. Its gratuitousness. It is par excellence the gospel of pardon and redemption (Luke 1:28; 2:40).
II. Its sympathy. Christ is before us as the Healer of broken hearts and the Sharer of our woes. Luke is the gospel of philanthropy.
III. Its joyfulness. How full of praise the Gospel of Luke is! Angelic joy is prominent (Luke 1:14; 2:10, 13; 15:7).
IV. Its thanksgiving. The Church continues the hymns of high praise Luke taught her to sing.
V. Its teaching of the holy spirit. It is profitable to gather out all Luke’s references to the special missions of the Spirit (Luke 1:15, 35, 41; 2:23, 26; 3:22; 4:1).