Let’s read Acts 1:1, “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach.” Now, let’s compare that to Luke 1:3-4, “It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.” It seems very likely that the man who wrote book of Acts, also wrote the book of Luke. Both of these books are addressed to a man named Theophilus. We believe that Luke is the author of the book of Acts.

There are several speculations about the identity of Theophilus. He must have been a man of some importance, for he is called “most excellent Theophilus” in Luke 1:3.  We cannot know definitely who he was, so I will not offer any thoughts, other than to note that the definition of his name is: Friend of God. (Theo means God. Philus means friend.) In that case, if you know the Lord Jesus as your savior, you will be considered a friend of God, so this book was written to YOU! The Lord Jesus said in John 15:15, “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I HAVE CALLED YOU FRIENDS; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”

What do we know about Luke?

  • He was a traveling companion of Paul. As we read of Paul’s travels in Acts, it becomes obvious when Luke is with Paul and when he is not. For example we read in Acts 14:24, “And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia.” Obviously, Luke is not with Paul at this point. Now let’s read Acts 16:8-10, “And THEY passing by Mysia came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. And after he had seen the vision, immediately WE endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called US for to preach the gospel unto them.” Notice in verse 10 that Luke uses the word ‘THEY’. In verse 10, he uses the words ‘WE’ and ‘US’. This is the first time that Luke includes himself in speaking of Paul’s travels.
  • Luke was a doctor. We read in Colossians 4:14, “Luke, the BELOVED PHYSICIAN, and Demas, greet you.” Perhaps because of poor health, Paul needed a doctor to be with him. Paul once said of himself, “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.” (2 Corinthians 12:7) In 2 Corinthians 11:24-28, Paul speaks of being beat with 39 lashes on five different occasions. He was beaten with rods, stoned, shipwrecked, etc. I would say he was in need of the constant company of a doctor.
  • Luke was still with Paul at the very end of his life. 2 Timothy 4:11, “Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.” 2 Timothy was the last book Paul wrote before he was killed for his testimony. According to history, Paul was beheaded about six months after the writing of this book.

We do not have any evidence that Luke ever met the Lord Jesus while He was on the earth. But, he certainly loved the Lord and spent his life in service to his savior. His name is only mentioned twice in the Bible (Colossians 4:14, 2 Timothy 4:11). We know so little about this man, but his contribution to the Word of God is invaluable. We can be thankful for his willingness to serve the Lord so completely. (280.4)