Useful Bible Studies > Colossians Commentary > chapter 4

About Luke and Demas

Colossians 4:14

Luke is of course famous to us as the author of the Books of Luke and Acts. We know something about his many journeys because of his careful use of the word ‘we’ whenever he was with Paul (for example Acts 16:10).

However, it may surprise us to know that his name appears only three times in the Bible (see 2 Timothy 4:11 and Philemon 24). Luke does not mention his own name in either of the books that he wrote. Romans 16:21, with a different spelling, may perhaps refer to him.

So, from Colossians 4:14 we learn that Luke was a doctor. An earlier verse in the same passage (4:11) gives the impression that he did not belong to Israel’s people, the Jews. However, the Book of Luke shows us that Luke knew the Old Testament, the Jewish Bible, extremely well. During that period of history, many people who were not Jews believed in Israel’s God. They prayed to him (Acts 10:1-2) and they studied the Bible carefully (Acts 8:27-28). In that way, Luke may have already known the true God even before he heard the Christian message.

The name of Demas also appears three times in the Bible, in the same passages (Philemon 24; 2 Timothy 4:10). That last reference, 2 Timothy 4:10, is very sad. Demas had left Paul, and not for any good reason. Demas ‘loved the present age’, Paul says. Paul does not explain further. Perhaps Demas became greedy when he saw an opportunity to make money. Perhaps he became too afraid and he wanted to protect his own life. He went to Thessalonica, and the Bible records nothing more about him. We would like to think that he later returned to God – but the Bible does not say.

Next part: Paul's letter to the church at Laodicea (Colossians 4:15-16)


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© 2019, Keith Simons.