International Standard Bible EncyclopediaEVANGELIST
This is a form of the word ordinarily translated "gospel" (euaggelion), except that here it designates one who announces that gospel to others (euaggelistes, "a bringer of good tidings"), literally, God Himself is an evangelist, for He "preached the gospel beforehand unto Abraham" (Galatians 3:8); Jesus Christ was an evangelist, for He also "preached the gospel" (Luke 20:1); Paul was an evangelist as well as an apostle (Romans 1:15); Philip the deacon was an evangelist (Acts 21:8); and Timothy, the pastor (2 Timothy 4:5); and indeed all the early disciples who, on being driven out of Jerusalem, "went everywhere preaching the word" (Acts 8:4 the King James Version).
But Ephesians 4:11 teaches that one particular order of the ministry, distinguished from every other, is singled out by the Head of the church for this work in a distinctive sense. All may possess the gift of an evangelist in a measure, and be obligated to exercise its privilege and duty, but some are specially endued with it. "He gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers." It will be seen that as an order in the ministry, the evangelist precedes that of the pastor and teacher, a fact which harmonizes with the character of the work each is still recognized as doing. The evangelist has no fixed place of residence, but moves about in different localities, preaching the gospel to those ignorant of it before. As these are converted and united to Jesus Christ by faith, the work of the pastor and teacher begins, to instruct them further in the things of Christ and build them up in the faith.
At a later time, the name of "evangelist" was given the writers of the four Gospels because they tell the story of the gospel and because the effect of their promulgation at the beginning was very much like the work of the preaching evangelist. In character, the Gospels bear something of the same relation to the Epistles as evangelists bear to pastors and teachers.
James M. Gray
LUKE, THE EVANGELIST
The name Luke (Loukas) is apparently an abbreviation for Loukanos. Old Latin manuscripts frequently have the words CATA LUCANUM as the title of the Third Gospel. (But the form Loukios, is also found in inscriptions synonymous with Loukas; compare Ramsay, The Expositor, December, 1912.)
It was a common fashion in the koine to abbreviate proper names, as it is today, for that matter (compare Amphias from Amphiatos, Antipas from Antipatros, Apollos from Apollonias, Demas from Demetrios, Zenas from Zenodoros, etc.; and see Jannaris, Historical Greek Grammar, section 287).
2. Mentioned Three Times by Name:
Paul alone names Luke (Colossians 4:14 2 Timothy 4:11 Philemon 1:24). He does not mention his own name in the Gospel or in the Acts. Compare the silence of the Fourth Gospel concerning the name of the apostle John. There was no particular occasion to mention Luke's name in the Gospel, except as the author, if he had so wished. The late legend that Luke was one of the Seventy sent out by Jesus (Epiphanius, Haer., ii.51, 11) is pure conjecture, as is the story that Luke was one of the Greeks who came to Philip for an introduction to Jesus (John 12:20 f), or the companion of Cleopas in the walk to Emmaus (Luke 24:13). The clear implication of Luke 1:2 is that Luke himself was not an eyewitness of the ministry of Jesus.
3. A Gentile:
In Colossians 4:14 Luke is distinguished by Paul from those "of the circumcision" (Aristarchus, Mark, Jesus Justus). Epaphras, Luke, Demas form the Gentilegroup. He was believed by the early Christian writers to have come directly from heathendom to Christianity. He may or may not have been a Jewish proselyte. His first appearance with Paul at Troas (compare the "we"-sections, Acts 16:10-12) is in harmony with this idea. The classic introduction to the Gospel (Luke 1:1-4) shows that he was a man of culture (compare Apollos and Paul). He was a man of the schools, and his Greek has a literary flavor only approached in the New Testament by Paul's writings and by the Epistle to the Hebrews.
His home is very uncertain. The text of D (Codex Bezae) and several Latin authorities have a "we-"passage in Acts 11:27. If this reading, the so-called B text of Blass, is the original, then Luke was at Antioch and may have been present at the great event recorded in Acts 13:1 f. But it is possible that the Western text is an interpolation. At any rate, it is not likely that Luke is the same person as Lucius of Acts 13:1. Ramsay (St. Paul the Traveler, 389) thinks that Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, III, iv, 6) does not mean to say that Luke was a native of Antioch, but only that he had Antiochian family connections. Jerome calls him Lucas medicus Antiochensis. He certainly shows an interest in Antioch (compare Acts 11:19-27; Acts 13:1; Acts 14:26; Acts 15:22, 23, 30, 35; 18:22). Antioch, of course, played a great part in the early work of Paul. Other stories make Luke live in Alexandria and Achaia and narrate that he died in Achaia or Bithynia. But we know that he lived in Philippi for a considerable period. He first meets Paul at Troas just before the vision of the Man from Macedonia (Acts 16:10-12), and a conversation with Paul about the work in Macedonia may well have been the human occasion of that vision and call. Luke remains in Philippi when Paul and Silas leave (Acts 16:40, "They.... departed"). He is here when Paul comes back on his 3rd tour bound for Jerusalem (Acts 20:3-5). He shows also a natural pride in the claims of Philippi to the primacy in the province as against Amphipolis and Thessalonica (Acts 16:12, "the first of the district"). On the whole, then, we may consider Philippi as the home of Luke, though he was probably a man who had traveled a great deal, and may have been with Paul in Galatia before coming to Troas. He may have ministered to Paul in his sickness there (Galatians 4:14). His later years were spent chiefly with Paul away from Philippi (compare Acts 20:3-28, 31, on the way to Jerusalem, at Caesarea, the voyage to Rome and in Rome).
Paul (Colossians 4:14) expressly calls him "the beloved physician." He was Paul's medical adviser, and doubtless prolonged his life and rescued him from many a serious illness. He was a medical missionary, and probably kept up his general practice of medicine in connection with his work in Rome (compare Zahn, Intro, III, 1). He probably practiced medicine in Malta (Acts 28:9 f). He naturally shows his fondness for medical terms in his books (compare Hobart, The Medical Language of Luke; Harnack, New Testament Studies: Luke the Physician, 175-98). Harnack adds some examples to those given by Hobart, who has overdone the matter in reality.
See further, ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.
6. Brother of Titus:
It is possible, even probable (see Souter's article in DCG), that in 2 Corinthians 8:18 "the brother" is equivalent to "the brother" of Titus just mentioned, that is, "his brother." If so, we should know that Paul came into contact with Luke at Philippi on his way to Corinth during his 2nd tour (compare also 2 Corinthians 12:18). It would thus be explained why in Acts the name of Titus does not occur, since he is the brother of Luke the author of the book.
7. Connection with Paul:
If the reading of Codex Bezae (D) in Acts 11:27 is correct, Luke met Paul at Antioch before the 1st missionary tour. Otherwise it may not have been till Troas on the 2nd tour. But he is the more or less constant companion of Paul from Philippi on the return to Jerusalem on the 3rd tour till the 2 years in Rome at the close of the Acts. He was apparently not with Paul when Philippians 2:20 was written, though, as we have seen, he was with Paul in Rome when he wrote Colossians and Philemon. He was Paul's sole companion for a while during the 2nd Roman imprisonment (2 Timothy 4:11). His devotion to Paul in this time of peril is beautiful.
8. Author of Both Gospel and Acts:
For the proof of the Lukan authorship of the Acts see ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. For the discussion of the Lukan authorship of the Gospel with his name, see LUKE, THE GOSPEL OF. Our interest in him is largely due to this fact and to his relations with Paul. The Christian world owes him a great debt for his literary productions in the interest of the gospel.
One legend regarding Luke is that he was a painter. Plummer (Commentary on Luke, xxiff) thinks that the legend is older than is sometimes supposed and that it has a strong element of truth. It is true that he has drawn vivid scenes with his pen. The early artists were especially fond of painting scenes from the Gospel of Luke. The allegorical figure of the ox or calf in Ezekiel 1 and Revelation 4 has been applied to Luke's Gospel.
Bible dicts., comms., lives of Paul, instroductions. See also Harnack, "Lukas, der Arzt, der Verfasser" (1906); New Testament Studies: Luke the Physician (1907); Ramsay, Luke the Physician (1908); Selwyn, Luke the Prophet (1901); Hobart, The Medical Language of Luke (1882); Ramsay, Was Christ Born at Bethlehem? A Study in the Credibility of Luke (1898); Maclachlan, John, Evangelist and Historian (1912).
A. T. Robertson
PHILIP, THE EVANGELIST
One of "the seven" chosen to have the oversight of "the daily ministration" of the poor of the Christian community in Jerusalem (Acts 6:5). Whether Philip, bearing a Greek name, was a Hellenist, is not known, but his missionary work reveals to us one free from the religious prejudices of the strict Hebrew.
The martyrdom of Stephen was the beginning of a systematic persecution of the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered over Judea and Samaria (Acts 8:1), and even as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch (Acts 11:19). Thus, the influence of the new teaching was extended, and a beginning made to the missionary movement. The story of Philip's missionary labors is told in Acts 8:5;. He went to the chief city of Samaria, called Sebaste in honor of Augustus (Greek Sebastos). The Samaritans, of mixed Israelite and Gentile blood, had, in consequence of their being rigidly excluded from the Jewish church since the return from exile, built on Mt. Gerizim a rival sanctuary to the temple. To them Philip proclaimed the Christ and wrought signs, with the result that multitudes gave heed, and "were baptized, both men and women." They had been under the influence of a certain sorcerer, Simon, who himself also believed and was baptized, moved, as the sequel proved, by the desire to learn the secret of Philip's ability to perform miracles (see SIMON MAGUS). The apostles (Acts 8:14) at Jerusalem sanctioned the admission of Samaritans into the church by sending Peter and John, who not only confirmed the work of Philip, but also themselves preached in many Samaritan villages.
The next incident recorded is the conversion of a Gentile, who was, however, a worshipper of the God of Israel, a eunuch under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. As he was returning from worshipping in the temple at Jerusalem, he was met by Philip on the road to Gaza. Philip expounded to him that portion of Isaiah 53 which he had been reading aloud as he sat in his chariot, and preached unto him Jesus. It is another sign of Philip's insight into the universality of Christianity that he baptized this eunuch who could not have been admitted into full membership in the Jewish church (Deuteronomy 23:1).
See ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH.
After this incident, Philip went to Azotus (Ashdod), and then traveled north to Caesarea, preaching in the cities on his way. There he settled, for Luke records that Paul and his company abode in the house of Philip, "the evangelist," "one of the seven," for some days (Acts 21:8). This occurred more than 20 years after the incidents recorded in Acts 8. Both at this time and during Paul's imprisonment at Caesarea, Luke had the opportunity of hearing about Philip's work from his own lips. Luke records that Philip had 4 daughters who were preachers (Acts 21:9).
The Jewish rebellion, which finally resulted in the fall of Jerusalem, drove many Christians out of Palestine, and among them Philip and his daughters. One tradition connects Philip and his daughters with Hierapolis in Asia, but in all probability the evangelist is confounded with the apostle. Another tradition represents them as dwelling at Tralles, Philip being the first bishop of the Christian community.
S. F. Hunter
Easton's Bible Dictionary
A "publisher of glad tidings;" a missionary preacher of the gospel (Ephesians 4:11
). This title is applied to Philip (Acts 21:8
), who appears to have gone from city to city preaching the word (8:4
, 40). Judging from the case of Philip, evangelists had neither the authority of an apostle, nor the gift of prophecy, nor the responsibility of pastoral supervision over a portion of the flock. They were itinerant preachers, having it as their special function to carry the gospel to places where it was previously unknown. The writers of the four Gospels are known as the Evangelists.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
) A missionary preacher; a bringer of the good news. Specially: (a) A missionary preacher sent forth to prepare the way for a resident pastor; an itinerant missionary preacher. (b) A writer of one of the four Gospels (With the definite article); as, the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. (c) A traveling preacher whose efforts are chiefly directed to arouse to immediate repentance.