Was Luke a Jew or a Gentile?


by Shawn Brasseaux

For a long time now, theologians and others have argued over whether Luke was a Jew or a Gentile (non-Jew). I believe the Bible is clear as to which he was. Will we believe the Bible so we can then move on to more important matters?

Consider what the Apostle Paul wrote in the fourth and final chapter of Colossians: “[10] Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;) [11] 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.” When Paul talked about his Jewish helpers in Christ here, verses 10 and 11 discussed men “of the circumcision.” These were undoubtedly Jews.

Then, Paul talks about a Christian named Epaphras in verses 12 and 13. For sake of brevity, we will skip these verses.

Now, when we come to verse 14, note: “Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.” Luke was not classified in the “circumcision” group. From verse 12 onward, Paul mentioned Gentiles. It seems to me that if Luke were a Jew, Paul would have added Luke in verses 10-11, or Paul would have noted Luke was also “of the circumcision.” Since Paul did neither, the wording in Colossians chapter 4 leads me to conclude that Luke was a Gentile, a non-Jew. If Luke truly did write the Gospel Record According to Luke as well as the Book of Acts, that would mean that a Gentile wrote those two Bible books. Luke’s Gospel and the book of Acts thus had some Pauline influence, for as we saw in Colossians, Luke accompanied Paul. Luke followed Paul on his apostolic journeys throughout the book of Acts. Other than Luke being a Gentile Christian, a medical doctor, and a close companion of Paul until the very end of Paul’s life (2 Timothy 4:11), the Scriptures are silent about Luke’s origin and life.

Also see:
» Can you explain Paul’s ministry during the book of Acts?
» Was Saul a pastor, a prophet, or an evangelist?
» How were Gentiles saved before our Dispensation of Grace?