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Luke-Acts is the name usually given by Biblical scholars to the hypothetical composite work of the Gospel of Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

 and the Acts of the Apostles
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

 in the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

. Together they describe the Ministry of Jesus
Ministry of Jesus
In the Christian gospels, the Ministry of Jesus begins with his Baptism in the countryside of Judea, near the River Jordan and ends in Jerusalem, following the Last Supper with his disciples. The Gospel of Luke states that Jesus was "about 30 years of age" at the start of his ministry...

 and the subsequent lives of the Apostles and the Apostolic Age
Apostolic Age
The Apostolic Age of the history of Christianity is traditionally the period of the Twelve Apostles, dating from the Crucifixion of Jesus and the Great Commission in Jerusalem until the death of John the Apostle in Anatolia...


Both the books of Luke and Acts are anonymous narratives written for a person named Theophilus
Theophilus (Biblical)
Theophilus is the name or honorary title of the person to whom the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles are addressed...

. The book of Acts starts out with: "The former treatise have I made“ (probably referring to Luke), and the author probably intended both books to be read together. Most scholars believe that they were written by the same person.

A traditional view holds that they were written by Luke
Luke the Evangelist
Luke the Evangelist was an Early Christian writer whom Church Fathers such as Jerome and Eusebius said was the author of the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles...

 named in Colossians , a doctor and follower of Paul
Paul of Tarsus
Paul the Apostle , also known as Saul of Tarsus, is described in the Christian New Testament as one of the most influential early Christian missionaries, with the writings ascribed to him by the church forming a considerable portion of the New Testament...

, but some doubt this view; a date of between 50 and 150 AD is considered likely for the work's composition. Some scholars dispute the Historical reliability of the Acts of the Apostles
Historical reliability of the Acts of the Apostles
The historical reliability of the Acts of the Apostles, the primary source for the Apostolic Age, is a major issue for biblical scholars and historians of Early Christianity. The historicity of Acts became hotly debated between 1895-1915...

. The work is Hellenized and written for a gentile
The term Gentile refers to non-Israelite peoples or nations in English translations of the Bible....

 audience. It is not known when it was separated into the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. Marcion, a famous 2nd century
Christianity in the 2nd century
The 2nd century of Christianity was largely the time of the Apostolic Fathers who were the students of the apostles of Jesus, though there is some overlap as John the Apostle may have survived into the 2nd century and the early Apostolic Father Clement of Rome is said to have died at the end of the...

Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

, who used a modified form of Luke known as the Gospel of Marcion
Gospel of Marcion
The Gospel of Marcion, called by its adherents the Gospel of the Lord, was a text used by the mid-2nd century Christian teacher Marcion to the exclusion of the other gospels...

, did not use Acts, perhaps he was unaware of it or intentionally excluded it from his biblical canon; Irenaeus
Saint Irenaeus , was Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, then a part of the Roman Empire . He was an early church father and apologist, and his writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology...

, a defender of proto-orthodoxy
Proto-orthodox Christianity
Proto-orthodox Christianity is a term, coined by New Testament scholar Bart D. Ehrman, used to describe the Early Christian movement which was the precursor of Christian orthodoxy...

, is the first to use and mention Acts, specifically against Marcionism
Marcionism was an Early Christian dualist belief system that originated in the teachings of Marcion of Sinope at Rome around the year 144; see also Christianity in the 2nd century....


External references

  • Miller, Robert J., The Complete Gospels, pp. 115–117 the "Introduction to the Gospel of Luke", "scholars usually refer to Luke's work as "Luke-Acts"". Polebridge Press, 1992. ISBN 0-944344-49-6
  • Joseph B. Tyson, Marcion and Luke-Acts: A defining struggle, University of South Carolina Press, 2006, ISBN 1570036500

External links

  • The Gospel of Luke in From Jesus to Christ, a PBS
    Public Broadcasting Service
    The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

    series, mentions Luke-Acts several times.