Acts 1:1 tells us that before Acts was written, its author wrote a
former account. This, and the fact that both accounts were addressed to Theophilus, helps lead us to conclude that one author was responsible for both books. The two accounts can be viewed as Part 1 and 2 of
Origin and History of the Christian Church.
Part 1 is a narrative of the life and work of Jesus (the Gospel of Luke) and Part 2 (Acts of the Apostles) is an account of the spread of the message of Jesus and of the early church.
Luke was aware of many who had written about the events that have shaken the city of Jerusalem and beyond—the events concerning Jesus Christ. The sources for such literary works included many
eyewitnesses and ministers of the word (Luke 1:2, NKJV) —a clear reference to the disciples and other contemporaries of Jesus. Luke himself had an exposure to these witnesses and ministers (such as Paul and other apostolic leaders) and possibly also to the Gospels written by Mark and Matthew. Luke, obviously, was not an eyewitness to the Jesus story, but he was a credible and authentic convert to Christ.
Matthew wrote to a Jewish audience, presenting Jesus as the Great Teacher, the fulfillment of prophecy, and the King of the Jews. He often referred to Old Testament prophecies being fulfilled in Christ. Mark wrote to a Roman audience about Jesus, the person of action. Luke, a doctor and a Gentile, wrote to the Greeks and the Gentiles about the universal Jesus—the Savior of the world. Luke mentions that the purpose of his writing is twofold: to present an
orderly account (Luke 1:3, NKJV) and to provide certainty to the great teachings of the new era. Certainty about truth, as in Jesus, is one goal of his Gospel.
Luke, an inspired author of Scripture, used other material in his writings. Very interesting. Obviously that use of other sources doesn’t negate the inspiration or authority of what he wrote. What lessons should that have for us as Seventh-day Adventists regarding the question of how inspiration, either canonical or noncanonical, works on inspired writers?