Notes‎ > ‎

Luke Jew or Gentile

Luke the beloved Physician

Who is the beloved physician Luke, writer of the Gospel so named and the Acts of the Apostles and companion of Paul The apostle? Well there is little talk about him but he is included in the scriptures not just writer of them, is he a Jew or a Gentile? What evidence is there to support either claim if any?

Paul preaching the word of God to Jew first secondly gentiles to provoke Israel to jealousy is evidence in scripture in his own writings but also in the account of Luke in the Acts of the Apostles where he documents the preaching of Paul and Barnabas and later Paul and Silas.  In the account of Luke he goes from a “them” narrative to a “we” narrative in chapter 16 and there accompanies Paul from Troas to Macedonia but he never mentions himself to be preaching the word, he is accompanying them who are.

The list of people in Acts 20 that accompany Paul in the Preaching of repentance to the Jew and faith toward Jesus Christ to the Gentile, Luke is not mentioned as being a Jew or gentile but we know he is there as the writer of the Acts of the Apostles he includes himself in the “we” and “us” and including himself in the source he uses for his own writings.  By just being there it doesn’t say if he is one or the other and neither does the list in Colossians 4, which is often used to prove he is a gentile being excluded from the circumcision.  What I do know is that he is responsible for writing scripture, which speaks volumes.  

I need to explore the suggestion of Luke being a gentile as opposed to being a Jew and see if it confirms or denies it logically and through scripture. If I’m still not clear and I still want to know I will ask God when I meet Him face to face, although to be fair I think I will just be floored to be in His presence and it be no longer an issue.

  

Suggestions for A Gentile

 

 

Lukas is a Greek name (not really evidence that he is gentile)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not included in the list of the circumcision in Colossians 4.

 

 

 

 

 

Luke is a physician

 

 

 

Luke’s writing is Hellenistic in style

 

Dual names

Saul-Paul is a gentile name and he was born a Roman citizen but boast about being Hebrew of Hebrews and of the tribe of Benjamin.

Simon-known as Peter, so it wasn’t uncommon for a Jew to be known by a gentile name also.

 

The others listed as the circumcision have Greek names also. Many Jews were known by their Greek names. Apollos is a Greek name Acts 18:24 mentioned he is a Jew.

 

Could it be that these 3 only were workers, working together of the circumcision for the message of the kingdom of God, and not the “us” part of the prayer request for the mystery of Christ which is in the same chapter?

 

Being a physician isn’t limited to gentiles of that time and to exclude a Jew from being a physician is stupid.

 

 

Josephus who is Jewish also had a Hellenistic style in his writing A.D 37-100.

 

 

The above is not really conclusive evidence to him being a gentile to be fair and wouldn’t really stand up in a court of law.

The list in Colossians 4 list people who are with Paul, he tells you something about each of them. Tychicus beloved, faithful, fellow servant of Paul and Onesimus faithful and beloved brother sent by Paul with a purpose to encourage, inform, comfort and find out how they were doing so they in turn could return to tell Paul and so he also be encouraged and comforted.

Aristarchus was in prison at the same time as Paul and with him sends his greetings as does Marcus and Jesus called Justus.  These are of the circumcision, only these were working together for the kingdom of God. These also were a comfort to Paul while he was in prison. Does this mean that Marcus and Justus were in prison too or just present at the time of sending the greetings, and only being joined to Aristarchus as a Jew and his fellow worker in the “and”?  To say Paul was still preaching the Kingdom message to the circumcision would say he was still preaching two different messages at the same time which I find difficult to believe at this point in history.

Or is it that the “these” are the five that were working together as Jews for the kingdom of God or only the later three? The later three makes sense, as Onesimus is one of you which could imply he is a gentile along with Epaphras who also is a servant of Christ praying for them having a great zeal for them and others. 

Tychicus is omitted from either group as are Luke who is the beloved physician and Demas and doesn’t say in this chapter if they are Jews or Gentiles.

To distinguish the things that differ...the message of Colossians where by Paul is asking them to pray for a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, the reason for his imprisonment, mystery hid in God never revealed until then, where the believer is to set their affection on things above not on things on the earth.

This is distinctly different than the kingdom of God that is preached by the circumcision to the circumcision throughout scripture of which by the way Luke being responsible for writing more words than any other New Testament writer including our apostle Paul!

If anything the book of Colossians as a whole including the list does for me is to separate the two objects of preaching and who was doing which.

Could it be argued that Luke’s exclusion from the list is that he wasn’t preaching the kingdom of God but a companion of Paul during the preaching of the new message he now preaches found in Colossians and which can be also found in Ephesians.

The message of a new church of neither Jew or Gentile but one new man created in full knowledge, Christ all and in all, His body the Church the Mystery hid from ages and from generations but reviled to Paul to make known this mystery among the Gentiles whom we preach Colossians 1:28 notice the “we”.  So in the list of Colossians 4 there are two groups mentioned the “we” who preach the mystery and the “these” who preach the kingdom of God who are of the circumcision which were a comfort to Paul while in prison.

Luke mentioned in Colossians 4:14 only confirms that he is a beloved physician and he was with Paul nothing more.  It has never been said that Luke was active in speaking/preaching the word or sent by Paul to do anything for him, it has been said he was loved by him and his companion. We also know he is the author of scripture written to set things in order for the friend of God – Theophilus.

In addition to this is that the Oracles of God committed to Israel Acts 7:38 which Luke written and Romans 3:2 which Paul written "What advantage then hath the Jew? Or what profit is there of circumcision? "Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God." and according to Hebrews they being Hebrew should be able to teach the oracles but they were unskilled and babes in the Word.  (oracle Greek λόγιον an utterance, from λόγος word, something said) The Oracle of God is a divine communication or revelation of which the bible is considered to be. Israel is considered to be Gods servant and a light to the gentiles according to Isaiah 49:6.

So to keep in-line with the all scripture is God breathed and thus the oracles of God, Luke to be writing scripture would imply he was????

James writing to the 12 tribes that are scattered abroad that of Gods will He begat them with the word of truth and that the engrafted word is able to save the soul. Also Hebrews 4:12 says His word is quick/alive and powerful.  It is fair to say without the Jew salvation would not be available to us gentiles today for John 4:22 Jesus said salvation is of the Jews.

So would God choose a gentile to write scripture? If He did then the words of Paul may need amending if I have understood them right, as the oracles were not only committed or entrusted to the Jew but also the Gentile. On the other hand if Luke was a Jew the scripture would stand up and no change needed. 2 Timothy 3:15 Paul writing - it is the scriptures which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus, of which Luke was entrusted to pen more words than Paul ever did.

John 4 may also need amending too as Jesus must have been mistaken to say salvation is of the Jews. He should have known better that it would also come penned through a gentile writer of the scriptures. It is these scriptures written by Luke that make up the Word of God that can make thee wise unto salvation and thus be His oracles and continue the blessing and light to us Gentiles.

So why is it important, does it matter if he was a Jew or a Gentile?

I think so...if people believe him to be a gentile that written scripture then the oracles of God did not only come from Jews but Gentiles too! This then opens up the many other doctrines from non Jews who claim to receive divine revelation from God! I can think of a few who claim to be the only channel God is using today. Not only that in Jeremiah it talks of people in the latter days... who speak thus says the LORD.

 

Jer 23:18  For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?

Jer 23:19  Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked.

Jer 23:20  The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.

Jer 23:21  I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.

Jer 23:22  But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.

     Jer 23:23  Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off?  

 
Could it be that for us to consider it perfectly is to argue that Luke is in keeping with the traditional means of giving his word to the Jew as opposed to the gentile and that Paul’s insight into the future of prophetic words and revelations from God coming to an end in Corinthians signify that we no longer need divine prophesy and revelation because we have the complete word of God preserved and handed down until His return.
 
So am I convinced one way or the other? The evidence for Luke being gentile is weak although the scriptures are silent one way or the other by implication of the way the scriptures have been handed down speaks volumes. Not 100% sure but siding more on him being a Jew.
Mainly because Luke is a writer of scripture but also that he must have been close enough to his sources for them to open up to him while he gathered his own evidence for writing the gospel and Acts of the Apostles which seems unlikely if he was a gentile.
Luke is likely to have been converted on the narrative delivered by the eye witnesses who ministered the word of all that Jesus began to both do and teach received by Luke who believed them. So possibly Luke was a first generation believer of those who would believe on their testimony.

Eight years (give or take) after the ascension of Jesus, did the first gentile who was God fearing get saved through the preaching of a Jew and a new acceptance of a gentile believer was on the horizon for the Jewish believer and it took a vision from the Apostle Peter to convince them they weren’t to be classed as unclean.  Still for some time after there still remained a separation of Jews and gentiles mixing in the same circles. 

The acceptance by the Jew of gentiles receiving salvation through faith in Christ is one thing and mixing with them another! For Luke’s sources to have carried any authority he probably would have interviewed some of them first hand, also access to other narratives that were available to him.

Possible sources could be Matthew as the only other gospel writer to include a genealogy although the gospel of Matthew was written in Hebrew, did Luke need to have it translated or could he read Hebrew is not clear. As Luke is writing for the friend of God is seems logical he would go back farther than Matthew to Adam and God. As a gentile and a woman it blesses me to see Boaz who married Ruth a non Jew and Mary’s line descended from Nathan son of David.

Many parallels with Marks gospel and if this is the same Mark/Marcus in Colossians it is clear Luke knows him well and knew of the dispute between Paul and Barnabas to mention it in Acts.

The temple account would make him very familiar to the Jewish traditions of the service of the priest office. The use of angelic beings with Zacharias regarding the one who will prepare the way of the LORD (making him familiar with O.T writings) and the preparation and announcement of the birth of Gods son. 

The intimate knowledge of Mary who pondered these things in her heart and the relationship she had with her sister Elizabeth.

The contents of writing blessed the friends of God in the Gospel account in a previously Jewish dominated scene to include compassionately, women, non Jews receiving the odd occasion of grace by Jesus a taste of future things to come.  Luke can be seen to have been influenced by a love for the gentiles, underdogs in his writing.  This could have been through observation on the possible preaching of Paul the apostle to the gentile.  However this still does not prove he was one.

Travelling with Paul Luke includes himself in the accounts that follow and until the end of the book of Acts Paul delivered the message of the risen Christ to the Jew first, to the temple and then to the gentiles. Luke was on his knees with Paul also one that besought him not to go to Jerusalem knowing what would befall him after the prophetic word about what would happen to him there.

Acts 21:27 Paul continued in following the Jewish customs and not wanting to be a stumbling block to the Jews he was preaching to he went into the temple to make the offering signifying the end of purification and it was then the Jews which were of Asia came to the men of Israel accusing Paul of teaching the Jews contrary to the law and of bringing in Greeks into the holy place the temple. They named the offender as Trophimus an Ephesian which he didn’t do but they had seen him with him in the city as I am sure they would have seen Luke too. 

So why didn’t they also mention Luke if he too was a gentile? Always looking for something to accuse him Luke would have provided more evidence. It was Trophimus who were being used in the accusation presented to the men of Israel, not Luke.  When they thought Paul to have brought a gentile into the temple they were enraged and dragged him out of the temple and beat him of which Luke was a witness.
It is clear from his gospel account he was very familiar of the inner workings of the temple and knew how the Leviticus office would rotate the service, could it be that he was a Jew and they who were accusing him couldn’t use him in their accusations?

At the end of it all through scripture I have gained little to no background on Luke other than he was a writer of Scripture, a doctor and close companion of Paul. An evangelist through the written word and with Paul till the end when others had abandoned him, this speaks volumes of the type of person he was and Jew or Gentile he adds to the faith of all the friends of God for faith comes by hearing the word of God.

With his close association with Paul right up to the end not abandoning him and as Paul crossed over from one hope to the other forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before pressing forward for the prize of the high calling as I am sure Luke also, together I will be enjoying my blessings in heavenly places where there will be no Jew or Gentile.