Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Differing Opinions

I like this depiction of Luke, and I love the two books of the New Testament attributed to him. He writes to a Friend of God, as Theophilus translates:

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. (Luke 1:3-4 KJV)


The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, (Acts 1:1 KJV)

It may be that he never met Jesus, but he comes across as one who has interviewed:

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19 KJV)

Reading through Acts, we find a perspective change. We move from third person to first person plural as Luke uses “we” in some travels, indicating he accompanied Paul. A true eye-witness account.

Sunday’s sermon included Acts 13:1:

Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. (Acts 13:1 KJV)

As you know, I look for background, and noticed in Matthew Henry’s Commentary:
(2.) Lucius of Cyrene, who some think (and Dr. Lightfoot inclines to it) was the same with this Luke that wrote the Acts, originally a Cyrenian, and educated in the Cyrenian college or synagogue at Jerusalem, and there first receiving the gospel.
I was not aware of this before and it raised questions about my long-held thoughts that Luke was a Greek physician. Now, why did I think that? Partly because he was not included in the “circumcision” list:

With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here. Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;) And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me. (Colossians 4:9-11 KJV)

But in a verse with Demas:

Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you. (Colossians 4:14 KJV)

And again, when Paul is instructing Timothy:

Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. (2 Timothy 4:9-11 KJV)

I’ve also been influenced by fiction, remembering Taylor Caldwell’s “Dear and Glorious Physician”, published and read when I was in high school. Reviewing reminds me just how fictional it was!

I may have opinions about the author of The Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, but the Bible offers facts. My opinions may differ from others, as does Dr. Lightfoot and Matthew Henry, but the Bible presents inspired writings upon which our faith is based. It really doesn’t matter to me which opinion is correct, but it is important to me to know the facts.

Now I want to read Acts more closely, noting where the first person plural places Luke during the chronology. I want to pay attention to who travels with him, when and where. I do not want, ever, to be described as Demas, having loved this present word and is departed.

I’d rather be described, as Luke, being with Paul, or as Mark, profitable for the ministry.

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