Colossians 4:14 (NET) 14 Our dear friend Luke the physician and Demas greet you.
Our – means that Luke was a friend of Paul and with Paul’s other co-laborers.
dear friend – This phrase is from the Greek word agapetos which means love or beloved.
Luke the physician – here we learn clearly that Luke was a physician.
Discussion Question: Luke was Paul’s co-laborer in the spiritual Kingdom of God, why is it significant that Paul mentions Luke’s civilian profession?
Discussion Question: Do you know any professionals today who have used their profession to serve God’s Kingdom? Have you ever used your profession to serve God’s Kingdom? How could you use your profession for His Kingdom in the future? How have you used your other skills to serve God’s Kingdom?
Luke is briefly mentioned by name in only two other passages. See below.
2 Timothy 4:11 (NET) 11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is a great help to me in ministry.
Philemon 1:24 (NET) 24 Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my colaborers, greet you too.
When we piece together Luke’s life from the scriptures we learn the following.
- In the Greek language, Luke’s name means light – giving.
- He was a Gentile since he was not mentioned in the list of converted Jews shown in the previous verses 10 and 11.
- Luke was a physician.
- He is called a colaborer with Paul.
- Luke was with Paul when Paul wrote to Timothy and to the Colossians. Most believe Paul wrote these during his captivity in Rome.
- Luke is considered the Author of the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts although the author is not named in either book. Church fathers as early as 200 a.d. have credited the authorship of the two books to Luke which are both written to Theophilus.
- Assuming Luke is the author of Acts, then the ‘we’ passages in that book give us additional information about Luke’s journey with Paul.
- Luke was with Paul when Paul traveled to Macedonia.
- Acts 16:10 (NET) After Paul saw the vision, we attempted immediately to go over to Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.
- Luke was with Paul when Paul traveled back to Asia Minor.
- Acts 20:6 (NET) We sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and within five days we came to the others in Troas, where we stayed for seven days.
- Luke was with Paul when Paul said his goodbyes to the Ephesian elders in Asia Minor.
- Acts 21:1 (NET) After we tore ourselves away from them, we put out to sea, and sailing a straight course, we came to Cos, on the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara.
- Luke was with Paul when Paul went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea even though Paul was warned by the prophet Agabus.
- Acts 21:17 (NET) When we arrived in Jerusalem, the brothers welcomed us gladly.
- Luke was with Paul after Paul was imprisoned, appealed to Caesar in Rome, and was put on a ship to Italy.
- Acts 27:1 (NET) When it was decided we would sail to Italy, they handed over Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort named Julius.
- Acts 27:2 (NET) We went on board a ship from Adramyttium that was about to sail to various ports along the coast of the province of Asia and put out to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica
- Luke was with Paul safely when their ship crashed on the island of Malta during their journey to Italy.
- Acts 28:1 (NET) After we had safely reached shore, we learned that the island was called Malta.
- Luke was with Paul when Paul finally arrived in Rome.
- Acts 28:16 (NET) When we entered Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.
and Demas – see my next Bible study in this series about Demas.
greet you – meaning that at the time of this writing, Luke was with Paul, and he also sends along his greeting to the Colossians.
Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.
Can you Serve God with your Profession like Luke the Physician?
Don’t think of you job as just a way to earn money. Your job placed you into relationships with people that no missionary can ever reach. You must reach them, serve them, and pray for them.
Be grateful for those who have used their professional skills to serve My Kingdom. Think of those Doctors and Nurses who go on medical missions. Think of Ellen who uses her computer skills to help with her church’s website. Think of Jared and Donnie who use their computer programming skills to develop their website to improve marriages.
You have other skills other than your job skills. I am happy that you use your guitar to teach kids at the detention center and to help with the singing at church. Continue to use your writing skills for these Bible studies.
Think for a moment of all the abilities you have and all the possessions you have. How can you use those for My Kingdom?
Additional reference material about Luke.
Easton’s Bible Dictionary
the evangelist, was a Gentile. The date and circumstances of his conversion are unknown. According to his own statement (Luk 1:2), he was not an “eye-witness and minister of the word from the beginning.” It is probable that he was a physician in Troas, and was there converted by Paul, to whom he attached himself. He accompanied him to Philippi, but did not there share his imprisonment, nor did he accompany him further after his release in his missionary journey at this time (Act 17:1). On Paul’s third visit to Philippi (20:5,6) we again meet with Luke, who probably had spent all the intervening time in that city, a period of seven or eight years. From this time Luke was Paul’s constant companion during his journey to Jerusalem (20:6-21:18). He again disappears from view during Paul’s imprisonment at Jerusalem and Caesarea, and only reappears when Paul sets out for Rome (27:1), whither he accompanies him (28:2,12-16), and where he remains with him till the close of his first imprisonment (Phm 1:24; Col 4:14). The last notice of the “beloved physician” is in 2Ti 4:11.
There are many passages in Paul’s epistles, as well as in the writings of Luke, which show the extent and accuracy of his medical knowledge.