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STUDIES IN ACTS      Studies in Acts

17. LUKE - a writer of note

"Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings" (Col.4:14).

Luke is best known for his writings – he is responsible for a quarter of the New Testament. As a second-generation Christian he relied on eyewitnesses for his Gospel (Lk.1:1-4). He was Paul's companion on some of his missionary journeys and his journey to Rome.

Consider the person
Luke was an educated Gentile Christian. He was a medical doctor and the author of the third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. Acts features him as a companion and faithful friend of Paul. Once he was the only person supporting Paul pending his trial in Rome (see Col.4:14; 2 Tim.4:11; Phlm. 24). Some scholars believe he was Paul's personal physician, who cared for some ongoing physical complaint (Gal.4:15 with 6:11 may indicate an eye complaint or malaria). Luke was a humble man (he does not name himself in his writings).

Study the Scriptures
As a doctor Luke is interested in people. He has a God-given concern for the poor, sick and outcast - the marginalised. He reveals a great interest in the power of the gospel in people's lives, and the power of God in deliverance and healing (Lk.5:17; 8:46). Study some of the deliverance stories in Acts. Notice the doctor's perspective. Sometimes a person's condition and symptoms are given, followed by the details of healing and its evidence. For example, in Acts 3, the crippled man Peter ministered to is not only healed but enabled to walk – instantly! Luke's presence with Paul in the Acts is indicated by his use of the personal pronoun 'we'. Study the so-called 'we-passages' in Acts 16:10-17; 20:5-21; 27:1-28:16.

Ask questions

1. Can writing be a Spirit-inspired ministry? If the answer is Yes, how can we encourage and promote Christian writers?

2. Does divine healing include natural healing and healing through medical science?

3. Does God still call believers to be doctors, nurses, and social workers? The sense of vocation is often missing in today's church and society.

Apply some thoughts

1. List and pray for Christian missions that seek to bring the compassion of Christ to a needy world. Work in third-world countries deserves our attention. Use the book or CD supplied by Operation Mobilisation to highlight needs for concern and prayer.

2. Pray for Christians in media work, political positions or one of the caring professions.

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Copyright 2008 Vernon Ralphs

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