|Question & Answer
Can you explain
Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most
surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were
eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of
all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, That thou mightest
know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed. (Luke 1:1-4) KJV
Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished
among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have
delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to
write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the
things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1-4) ESV
Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to draw up a narrative concerning those matters which have
been fulfilled among us, even as they delivered them unto us, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses
and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, having traced the course of all things accurately
from the first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus; that thou mightest know the
certainty concerning the things wherein thou wast instructed. (Luke 1:1-4) ASV
Seeing that many did take in hand to set in order a narration of the matters that have been fully assured
among us, as they did deliver to us, who from the beginning became eye-witnesses, and officers of the
Word, -- it seemed good also to me, having followed from the first after all things exactly, to write to thee
in order, most noble Theophilus, that thou mayest know the certainty of the things wherein thou wast
instructed. (Luke 1:1-4) YLT
The Gospel of Luke, the first volume of two written by the physician (Acts of the Apostles being the second), is
the only Gospel with an introduction. The first four verses form the introduction which is somewhat similar to
classical works like Thucydides, Herodotus, and Livy. Luke’s style is more classical Greek than the other
Gospels. He thus presents a summary of what and why he writes his story of the Christ.
(1) Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished
There were compilations of the actions and teachings of Jesus which circulated. These may have been a
combination of both written and oral sources. However, these stories were either incomplete or faulty.
Luke seeks to record the things which have been done. No conjecture, no imagination. Only those things which
are true are to be recorded. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth will be recorded.
(2) just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered
them to us,
Those who had been with Jesus from the beginning of His ministry were eyewitnesses to everything which He did
and said. They were the primary source for the life of Jesus. From the time Jesus called them until He ascended
into the heavens, the apostles were with Jesus day in and day out. They would know the truth of what Jesus did.
They would know the truth of Jesus said. This is what they have taught and preached concerning the Christ.
Early commentary on the Gospel of Luke linked it especially to the teaching and preaching of the apostle Paul
since Luke was associated with the apostle to the Gentiles.
(3) it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly
account for you, most excellent Theophilus,
Luke had taken it upon himself, as had others, to write about the life of Christ. Unlike the others, however, this
compulsion was not only internally originated, but directed by the Holy Spirit and the inspiration of God. He has
not come to the study of the life of Christ lately, but for some time he has been carefully studying. He is making
his case so that Theophilus, to whom he addresses the Gospel (as he also does the Acts of the Apostles), would
have confidence in the accuracy of what he is presenting him.
Whether Theophilus is a person, or a representation of those who would read his Gospel we do not know.
Theophilus means “lover of God.” So whether it is addressing those “lovers of God” who would read his
narrative, or if it is a real individual named Theophilus, it does affect the appeal that Luke makes.
(4) that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.
The accuracy and veracity of the Gospel were of upmost importance to Luke, and it was important to him that
Theophilus have confidence in what he reads and is taught.
Every person, especially every “lover of God” can take heart in the truthfulness of Luke’s words. They can have
complete confidence because these are not only the words of Luke – they are the words of God.