Evidence to support Luke as author of Acts
It has been generally accepted by the Christian community that Luke is the author of the book of Acts. There are some features that identify the book of Luke and Acts as being written by the same author. For example, both books are addressed to Theophilus. The author started out his writing in Acts 1:1, by referring to a “former book”. This is therefore proof that he had written a book to Theophilus before. According to Lea and Black, “the style of writing for Luke and Acts is similar”
How could Luke become aware of privileged information such as found in Acts 23:25–30, 25:14–22, and 26:30–32? In all of those passages, there are specific details of interactions and conversations among government leaders and the decisions they made. Luke showed his obvious knowledge of the governmental structure in his narration of the events. These specific details could have been relayed to Luke by Paul, but the specificity of the details made it more likely that Luke was an eyewitness. “Use of narrators’ own voices projects personal confidence in their knowledge of the stories, and that sense of narrative authority increases narrators’ believability.”
The “we” passages to determine authorship
The “we” passages are located in Acts 16:8-17, 20:5-15, 21:1-18 and 27:1-28:16. Luke explained that he was not an original disciple of Christ (Luke 1:1-3). However, his use of the first person plural pronoun “we”, proves that he was an eyewitness of the things he recorded as the travelling companion of Paul. The most common use of the word “we” is generally understood to include the speaker. In several chapters of the book of Acts, Luke’s narration mentions many other characters, however in the four “we” passages, he took care to be sure to let the reader, Theophilus, know that on these occasions, he was not merely repeating a story, but was an actual eyewitness. The story would be more believable when someone claims to be a witness. Others have unsuccessfully attempted alternate explanation as to the “we” passages. “The attempts to explain the use of “we” in these four texts as anything other than an indication of the presence of the author are failures.”
“We have shown that there is no convincing reason to deny that the author of Acts was a companion of Paul. That he was his companion is the natural implication of the “we” passages. That this companion was none other than Luke “the beloved physician” is the unanimous opinion of the early church. We have good reason, then, to conclude that Luke was the author of Acts.”
Campbell, William Sanger. “We” Passages in the Acts of the Apostles. Boston, USA: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006. Accessed January 15, 2019. ProQuest Ebook Central.
Carson, Donald A, and Douglas J. Moo. An Introduction to the New Testament. Leicester: Apollos, 2008.
Köstenberger Andreas J., L. Scott Kellum, and Charles L. Quarles. The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament. Nashville, TN: B & H Academic, 2016.
Lea, Thomas D., and David Alan Black. The New Testament: Its Background and Message. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2007.