Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,
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.
 

1:3 me also. Although he never mentions himself by name, the church fathers and uniform tradition agree that Luke, Paul’s “beloved physician,” was the author of both this gospel and the book of Acts (see Colossians 4:14; II Timothy 4:11; Philemon 24).

1:3 from the very first. Others had written about Christ and His teachings before Luke did (Luke 1:1), including Matthew and Mark, both of whom had known Christ personally, a privilege probably not shared by Luke. Nevertheless, Luke’s long association with the Apostle Paul and others who had known the Lord (Luke 1:2), together with his obvious ability in investigation and research, enabled him to write down an accurate account of his own. Many think that Luke may have drawn on Mark’s account, as well as Matthew’s or even some other hypothetical written source supposedly used by all of them (the so-called “Q-document,” or some such record). Even if such a document really existed (which is very doubtful), it was not divinely inspired like those of Matthew, Mark and Luke, but simply a human record of events, from which they could draw in their research, as led by the Holy Spirit. This latter presumption is supported by Luke’s claim that he had “perfect understanding of all things from above” (the latter being a legitimate alternative to “the very first”).

1:3 Theophilus. See Acts 1:1. It is possible that “Theophilus” was not an actual person, but any “lover of God,” which is the meaning of the name. It is also possible that he was a Roman official (implied by the term “most excellent”) whose actual name Luke discreetly chose not to use, lest he be removed or even executed by the emperor.


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