One day, as we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave-girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling. 17 While she followed Paul and us, she would cry out, “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you[d] a way of salvation.” 18 She kept doing this for many days. But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.19 But when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities. 20 When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, “These men are disturbing our city; they are Jews 21 and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe.” 22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods. 23 After they had given them a severe flogging, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Following these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
Excerpts from Bart Ehrman, on his blog:
In this thread I have been discussing whether Luke, the gentile physician, the traveling companion of Paul, wrote the Third Gospel and the book of Acts. The first point I’ve made, over a couple of posts, is that the idea that Paul *had* a gentile physician as a traveling companion is dubious. That notion is derived from the mention of Luke in the book of Colossians, but Paul almost certainly did not *write* Colossians. Paul does mention a companion named Luke in the book of Philemon, but he does not say anything at all about him (not, for example, that he was a gentile or that he was a physician).
Still, one could argue – and many have! – that whatever his name, it was a companion of Paul who wrote the books of Luke and Acts. The main argument in favor of that thesis – with which I heartily disagree – is the presence of the “we-passages” in Acts, that I mentioned previously. My view is that these passages do NOT demonstrate that the author was Paul’s traveling companion. But it’s a complex issue, and to get to the bottom of it takes a lot of demonstration.
…By far the most surprising aspect of the we-passages, however, apart from their existence at all, is their frequently noted abrupt beginnings and endings. It is their sudden and unexplained disappearance that is most unsettling. When did the author leave the company and for what reason? These and other related problems can be seen in the first of the passages, 16:10-17. How is it that “we” included Paul in 16:10 and 11, but then are differentiated from Paul in 16:17? That may make sense if an author had wanted to start easing out of the use of the first person plural as a narrative ploy, but it is hard to understand if the narrative is a historically accurate description of a real life situation by an author who was there. Moreover, if “we” were with Paul when he rebuked the spirit of the possessed girl, how is it that only Paul and Silas were seized, not “we”? Did the eyewitness leave the company in 16:18 suddenly and for no expressed reason? If so, why is he still in Philippi much later in 20:6?
So too in the next passages in question, in chapters 20 and 21. Why is the narrative provided in the first person when traveling to Miletus (20:15) but then shifts to the third person once there? Was the author not present for the prayer in v. 36? Why did they not bring “us” to the ship in 20:38 if he sailed with Paul in the next verse? And in the next chapter, why does the author accompany Paul to Jerusalem in 21:18 and then disappear without an explanation or a trace in 21:19?
I will be arguing in what follows that the best explanation for these abrupt beginnings and endings is that the first-person pronoun was used selectively to place the author in the company of Paul, thereby authenticating his account.
End of post.