Special Lucan Words -- By: G. Mackinlay

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 077:308 (Oct 1920)
Article: Special Lucan Words
Author: G. Mackinlay


Special Lucan Words

Lieutenant-Colonel G. Mackinlay

All scholars and Bible students are agreed, from the abundant evidence which we possess, that the same author wrote the Gospel which bears the name of St. Luke and the Book of Acts. His name is not given in the Scripture, but he is generally believed to have been St. Luke, and we shall accept this view. Our author was evidently well acquainted with the LXX translation of the Old Testament, as he uses many Greek words found in it which are not very generally employed elsewhere.

His style, unlike that of other writers of the New Testament, is classical, and it is said greatly to resemble that of Thucydides. Like the classical authors, but unlike the three other Evangelists, he makes use of a very large vocabulary, and he employs many compound Greek words in order to give forceful and descriptive meanings. From a recent examination of Wigram’s Concordance of the Greek Text, from which our Authorized Version is translated, it is found that the number of different words used in the Gospel of St. Luke, but not employed elsewhere in the New Testament, is 261; the number used only in the Acts is 410; and common to both Luke’s Gospel and the Book of Acts, but not found elsewhere, is 64; making a total of no less than 735 words used by St. Luke which are not employed by any other writer in the New Testament.

Large as these numbers are, they do not represent all the words which are special to St. Luke, because the oldest MSS. of the New Testament give several additional ones, which he alone employed; these have been altered by copyists to more usual Greek equivalents, or to words in accord with those used by the other Synoptists in their parallel passages. Some examples are given in Table I., in which

the original special Lucan words have been replaced by others bearing nearly the same meaning. Happily hardly any practical difference has been made in any of the passages in which they occur, except in one case; and even in that one the general meaning conveyed has scarcely been affected.

TABLE I.

SPECIAL LUCAN WORDS IN THE OLDEST MSS.

These are, most of them, natural alterations to make. In No. 1 in Table I. the word has evidently been changed in order to obtain agreement with the parallel passages in Matt. 19:24 and Mark 10:25, in both of which raphis, an ordinary needle, is employed. The fact that Luke was a physician (Col. 4:14), who often used medical terms, doubtl...

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