Over the years I have mainly heard three contrasting opinions among modern Christ-followers regarding Jewish people and their connection with the Holy Bible. One opinion elevates the Jewish people to inappropriate heights, idolizing the nation in almost every way. Another opinion devalues its great calling and special mission among the nations of the world. The third opinion simply states in utmost ignorance: Who cares?! What does it matter?!

Let us use my previous article “Could Luke be Jewish?” as a kind of case study.

  • Discussion about whether the author of the Gospel of Luke was or was not Jewish is important, because the prevailing axiomatic teaching of the Christian churches worldwide is that he most definitely was not. So, if we hold a view that does not corresponded with reality and truth, shouldn’t that view be criticized and corrected?!
  • Discussion about whether the author of the Gospel of Luke was or was not Jewish is important, because if this view that Luke was Gentile and based on virtually no evidence, is believed so fervently among Christ followers today, this may be just a tip of the iceberg. In other words, it may be symptomatic of many other things that the traditional interpretation holds dear that are similarly baseless.

  • Discussion about whether the author of the Gospel of Luke was or was not Jewish is important, because if he was a Christ-following Jew and we are reading him as if he was a non-Jewish Gentile, we would simply miss reference points characteristic of his immediate background and way of thinking and as a consequence simply misunderstand him.
  • Discussion about whether the author of the Gospel of Luke was or was not Jewish is important, because if Luke was a Jew (as I think he probably was) than this will force as to reappraise the Judaism of that time, since one of the arguments that is always presented in defense that Luke was a Gentile that Luke was too interested in Gentiles for any Jew of his time.
  • Discussion about whether the author of the Gospel of Luke was or was not Jewish is important, because in spite of inconclusive evidence about whether he was or was not Jewish himself, his Jewish connection is actually not at all in doubt. In some way whether he was ethnically a Jew or Gentile is indeed irrelevant. The most important question is if he was a Gentile, what kind of Gentile was he?! I say that all available evidence shows convincingly, if he was not a Jew, he was someone who was deeply impacted by the faith, culture and context of the Jewish people around him. If he was a Gentile, he must have been a Jewish one.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. I propose that Luke’s ethnicity is irrelevant. Paul called him a physician (Col. 4:14) and Acts teams with details that someone with medical training would note. Beyond this, whatever his background, Luke appears as a person who was impacted by the work of Christ to the extent he followed Paul and recorded his momentous activities; his training would have allowed him access to many places to which others might not be allowed, and he was able to demonstrate Jesus’ concern for others. A doctor was best to authenticate some of the healings displayed by Peter and Paul.

    • Paul, even as a Jew, had great access to Roman life. He was a Roman citizen, after all, which is why he was treated well and was able to appeal to Caesar for a hearing. So, Paul did not need Luke to open doors for him; in fact, if they were related, Luke may have had the same Roman privileges as that of his kinsman, Paul.

  2. Shalom. If he was a Gentile, he most probably converted to Judaism as most of the first followers of Yeshua Ha Maschiach did. If he was a Gentile, wouldn’t that make him the only Gentile author in the Torah and Bible?

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