A question that I’m asked from time to time is “Was the apostle Luke a Jew or a Gentile?” While there is no solid evidence in Scripture to determine for certain whether or not Luke was born a Jew, some scholars have asserted that Luke was actually a Greek educated doctor and a Gentile. This is assumed not only because of his Greek education but also by the fact that Paul does not include Luke in his list of “companions of the circumcision” in Colossians 4:11 along with Aristarchus, Mark, and Jesus Justus.
Later in the letter he lists Epaphras, (an intercessor) and purposely points out that he is a Gentile. Paul 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, so he was therefore not included in Paul’s list of “the circumcised”. An obvious conclusion could be at that point in time Luke was dedicated to Paul in his service in prison and not active in personal missionary work.
During the 1st century we can rightly assume that if Luke were a Gentile but known as a disciple of Yeshua, then just like all other righteous Gentiles at the time, Luke took on the yoke of Judaism. As there was no formal “Church” in the nations yet, it is therefore, likely that Luke was converted early on from paganism to the only true God and became a “Jew.” It is obvious that Luke functioned in the ways, traditions and customs of the Jews as he followed his Jewish teacher, Yeshua.
Paul asks the question in Romans 3:1,2 “Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? “Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.” With this admonishment, we can definitely agree that Luke was included with those “Jews” who were entrusted with the oracles of God and considered by this standard to be at least, a converted Jew.
But, like all of believers from the nations – aren’t we all Jewish in heart?
If the Messiah lives there- Absolutely!