Dear Dr. Sarvadi:
I read recently in a book by Dr. Heidler that Luke was a Gentile! I am surprised, is there some evidence that suggests this?
This is very good question and scholars differ in their opinions.
While there is no solid evidence in Scripture that Luke was a Jew or Gentile, some scholars have asserted that Luke was a Gentile because of Paul’s letter to the Colossians where he includes a list of those “of the circumcision or Jews” that were with him at the time the letter was written.
It is here he lists Epaphras, (an intercessor) and purposely points out that he is a Gentile. He then mentions the presence of Luke, his physician and historian not calling him either a Gentile or listing him among the circumcised.
Some scholars argue that Luke was not active in the preaching ministry and the list of “the circumcised” was a list of only those that had gone out to teach and instruct the churches. Paul deliberately left Luke out of that group but mentioned his presence and function.
This is weak evidence to conclude Luke was a Gentile, yet I can see the perspective.
During the time period of Yeshua and the disciples, any non-Jew that came into the faith would have to go through the ritual Mikveh and would be deemed a Jew just as one born a Jew. It wasn’t until Paul’s ministry that non-Jews became believers by faith and were called Christians. Luke functioned in the way and customs of the Jews, in the same way Yeshua and the disciples complied.
With this admonishment it is doubtful that Luke was a Gentile or Paul would have made an exception.
I lean more toward the possibility that Luke was Jewish. But the truth is – aren’t we, as believers, all Jewish in heart?
If the Messiah lives there- Absolutely!