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The common conclusion that scholars have determined for the authorship of the third gospel is a physician named Luke, who was Paul’s missionary companion for much of his ministry. It is believed that this author is the same Luke that Paul refers to in Philemon 24, Colossians 4:14, and 2 Timothy 4:11. Luke is also the author of Acts. Luke and Acts combined make up one quarter of the NT. In Luke 1:1-4, the author makes it clear that he has undertaken this book to give an orderly account of his findings, that the audience “may know the truth” of the events of Jesus’ life.
The immediate audience for Luke’s account was a man named Theophilus. Both Luke and Acts are addressed to a person named Theophilus. Luke makes his intentions clear in the statement “it seemed good for me also… to write an orderly account for you…” It appears that in a sea of other false accounts of Jesus, Luke set out to give an accurate record of what He has received from the apostles. The Greek grammar and syntax is much more sophisticated that the other gospels, so it appears Luke’s gospel was intended for a scholarly audience and possibly even as an apologetic in legal cases.
There is much debate on the date and source material for the book of Luke. Many scholars believe that Luke had access to both the gospels according to Mark and Matthew. This along with the probable dates of Luke’s journeys with Paul have led scholars to believe Luke was written sometime in the mid 60’s. The exact date is very difficult to determine, but it seems most likely this book was written before AD 70 when the Romans sacked Jerusalem.