As we’re studying through the book of Acts together, I’ve run across several interesting tidbits of information, some of them I’ve shared on this blog. Some of information is just that, information. Some of them actually help me understand more about the church as described in Acts.
For example, consider Luke. Now, I think that Luke wrote the book of Acts as well as the Gospel of Luke. I think the “we” passages (where Luke changes from third person pronouns like “they” to first person pronouns like “we”) indicate where Luke was traveling with Paul and the servants of the gospel who were with him.
Interestingly, the first “we” passage occurs when Paul, Silas, and Timothy (at least) are in Troas:
And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the(1 )district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. (Acts 16:6-12 ESV)
Did you catch the change in pronouns? It happened in the city of Troas. In Acts 16:8, “they” went down to Troas. But, in Acts 16:10, while still in Troas, “we” sought to go to Macedonia, and in Acts 16:11, “we” sailed from Troas to Samothrace.
So, apparently, Luke joined the team traveling with Paul while they were in Troas.
But, something else happens later in Acts 16 while they were all in Philippi:
So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. (Acts 16:11-12 ESV)
So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed. (Acts 16:40 ESV)
Luke was with Paul when they came to Philippi, but he did not leave with them. (By the way, Luke rejoins Paul at least by Acts 20:5, when they were on the way back to Troas.)
There are several ways to explain Luke’s absence when the group left Philippi, but they primarily boil down to 2 options: 1) Luke remained in Troas, or 2) Luke had previously traveled somewhere else.
We see both options taking place with other people who travel with Paul. In either case, Luke could have given up the traveling lifestyle, or he was continuing to work as a servant of the gospel wherever he went.
What do you think happened to Luke?