[Gr., Lou·kasʹ, evidently a contracted and affectionate form of the Latin name Lucius or Lucanus].
A physician and faithful companion of the apostle Paul. He was the writer of the Gospel of Luke and of the Acts of Apostles. That Luke was well educated is apparent from his writings. Also, his background as a doctor is noticeable in his use of medical terms.—Luke 4:38; Acts 28:8.
Luke did not speak of himself as an eyewitness of the events in the life of Christ that are recorded in his Gospel account. (Luke 1:2) So, he apparently became a believer sometime after Pentecost of 33 C.E.
In the book of Acts, Luke is referred to in an indirect way by the use of the pronouns “we” and “us.” (Acts 16:10-17; 20:5–21:18; 27:1–28:16) He was with Paul at Troas on the apostle’s second missionary tour and accompanied him from there to Philippi, where he may have remained until Paul’s return on his third missionary journey. Luke accompanied Paul to Palestine at the end of that missionary tour (Acts 21:7, 8, 15) and, while the apostle was imprisoned for about two years at Caesarea, Luke probably wrote his Gospel account there (about 56-58 C.E.). He accompanied Paul on his trip to Rome for trial (Acts 27:1; 28:16), likely completing the book of Acts in Rome about 61 C.E., since it covers events down to that year but does not record the outcome of Paul’s appeal to Caesar.
Luke joined Paul in sending greetings to Christians at Colossae when Paul wrote to them from Rome (c. 60-61 C.E.) and the apostle identified him as “the beloved physician.” (Col. 4:14) In writing to Philemon from Rome (about 60-61 C.E.), Paul included greetings from Luke, referring to him as one of his “fellow workers.” (Philem. 24; AV, Lucas) That Luke stuck close to Paul and was with him shortly before the apostle’s martyrdom is evident from Paul’s remark, “Luke alone is with me.”—2 Tim. 4:11.
Some hold that Luke was a Gentile, basing this mainly on Colossians 4:11, 14. Because Paul first mentioned “those circumcised” (vs. 11) and later referred to Luke (vs. 14), the implication is drawn that Luke was not of the circumcision and hence was not a Jew. But this is by no means conclusive, and there is specific evidence against it at Romans 3:1, 2, where Paul shows that God entrusted his inspired utterances to the Jews. Luke is one of those to whom such inspired utterances were entrusted.