Theophilus: Christian Or Not
This is also another point of disagreement among Christian scholars. Was he merely curious to know about Jesus or was he an actual believer? Luke mentions that in Luke 1:4 that Theophilus had already been taught or instructed in the Gospel story.
That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.
When one considers, his apparent close relationship with Luke, eagerness to know more about Jesus and the fact that He has already been taught the things of the Gospel, the likelihood of Theophilius already being a follower of Jesus far supersedes the contrary view. I think Theophilus was already a Christian at the time of Lukes writing to him.
What Position Did He Occupy
The address that Luke utilizes most excellent in Luke 1 suggest that this individual occupied some high-ranking status in society . He was either a prominent Roman official or a rich social figure. He might have been a Roman magistrate, governor or a procurator. Again, all these are mere speculations based on how the words used to describe him were used in his days. In this regard, the Hermeneia commentators state that the term often appears in the dedications of literary works, the dedicatees of which did not necessarily occupy an official position
Theophilus To Autolycus Book I
CHAP. I.AUTOLYCUS AN IDOLATER AND SCORNER OF CHRISTIANS.
A FLUENT tongue and an elegant style afford pleasure and such praise as vainglory delights in, to wretched men who have been corrupted in mind the lover of truth does not give heed to ornamented speeches, but examines the real matter of the speech, what it is, and what kind it is. Since, then, my friend, you have assailed me with empty words, boasting of your gods of wood and stone, hammered and cast, carved and graven, which neither see nor hear, for they are idols, and the works of mens hands and since, besides, you call me a Christian, as if this were a damning name to bear, I, for my part, avow that I am a Christian, and bear this name beloved of God, hoping to be serviceable to God. For it is not the case, as you suppose, that the name of God is hard to bear but possibly you entertain this opinion of God, because you are yourself yet unserviceable to Him.
CHAP. II.THAT THE EYES OF THE SOUL MUST BE PURGED ERE GOD CAN BE SEEN.
CHAP. III.NATURE OF GOD.
CHAP. IV.ATTRIBUTES OF GOD.
CHAP. V.THE INVISIBLE GOD PERCEIVED THROUGH HIS WORKS.
CHAP. VI.GOD IS KNOWN BY HIS WORKS.
CHAP. VII.WE SHALL, SEE GOD WHEN WE PUT ON IMMORTALITY.
CHAP. VIII.FAITH REQUIRED IN ALL MATTERS.
CHAP. IX.IMMORALITIES OF THE GODS.
CHAP. X.ABSURDITIES OF IDOLATRY.
CHAP. XI.THE KING TO BE HONOURED, GOD TO BE WORSHIPPED.
CHAP. XII.MEANING OF THE NAME CHRISTIAN.
CHAP. XIII.THE RESURRECTION PROVED BY EXAMPLES.
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Why The Book Of Acts Is Important
The book of Acts is an important book for understanding the actions of the apostles, mostly Paul and Peter, after Jesuss ascension into Heaven. It is an important book in understanding how we can be directed by the Holy Spirit and the role of Jesus lessons in our lives.
Was Lukes Writing Addressed To A Roman Official Or To A More General Friend
Who is Theophilus?
This Sunday, May 16, we celebrate the Ascension. The first reading is from the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles and starts, In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught until the day he was taken up .
This is not the first time Theophilus appears in Scripture. The Gospel according to Luke begins in much the same way: I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus. .
It is generally accepted that the author of this Gospel and of Acts is the same person. Also, the author of this third Gospel was generally believed to be writing to a non-Jewish audience, probably Greeks. So for him to use the Greek name Theophilus is not surprising.
Theophilus can be translated to mean friend of God, but it can also mean loved by God or loving God. Some scholars, though not most today, have speculated that Luke addressed both his works to a generic Theophilus or any friend of God. This was thought to be so because Lukes Gospel and Acts both speak to a wide audience and tell of the spread of the faith among early believers around the Mediterranean who came to know and love God through the Good News. Like them, we today are all called to be friends of God.
America Magazine The Catholic Encyclopedia Smith Bible Dictionary the Holman Bible Dictionary Eastons Bible Dictionary Jerome Biblical Commentary.
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Who Was Theophilus Was He A Jew Or Gentile
Firstly, the name Theophilus is Greek it means friend/lover of God. Only appearing twice in the Bible text , Theophilus was the recipient of these two Bible Books. The Gospel Record of Luke and the Book of Acts have been called Volume 1 and Volume 2, respectively. Just a cursory examination of their introductions demonstrates Acts to be the sequel to Luke. Theophilus name binds them.
Luke 1:1-4: 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.
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE WRITER OF THE BOOK OF ACTS
The language of Acts is that its writer was a close companion of the Apostle Paul during his second, third, and final apostolic journeys. Notice the first-person pronouns we,us, and our:
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THEOPHILUS
We know very little about Theophilus because he is only mentioned in two verses in the whole Bible. But, using the Scriptures associated with him, we can make some observations:
A Tale Of Two Leaders: Luke And Theophilus
The gospel of Luke starts with the following words of dedication explaining that it is a carefully prepared account for Theophilus:
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. .
In his second contribution to the Bible, Acts of the Apostles, Luke once again addresses Theophilus at the very outset . Taken together, in the two books by Luke, the author comes through as a missionary and a skilled historian, who is indebted to Theophilus.
Lukes gospel included in the Bible has succeeded in bringing millions to a saving faith in Jesus Christ and his book, Acts of the Apostles, has helped shape and teach Church congregations over 2000+ years. Clearly, through his writing, he has been a very effective and successful missionary over two millennia.
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Who Was Titus In The Bible
Titus was one of at least two younger men that Paul discipled and described as his son in the faith that we share . The other man is Timothy, and the second letter to the Corinthians is addressed as from Paul and Timothy to the church in Corinth . Both Timothy and Titus served as Pauls messengers and traveling companions, and they both went on to lead churches. Paul not only mentored them, but he also advised them in individual letters about their next steps.
Titus background is not explained, other than the fact he was Gentile and apparently never circumcised . This is an interesting point, since Timothy was half-Greek, and not circumcised either. Still, Paul chose to circumcise Timothy to honor the Jews in an area that the two of them were ministering in . Paul repeatedly mentions in his letters that circumcision is not necessary under the new covenant, and even tells Titus to silence Christians who try to promote it . So, Pauls choice to circumcise Timothy would suggest that he had a pragmatic side. He did not require his disciples to be circumcised, but if the situation called for working among Jews and it made things easier, he would concede to it. Whether Titus ever ministered to Jewish believers is not stated, and both he and Titus worked at churches in Gentile areas .
That Luke Wrote His Gospel To This Theophilus The High Priest Makes Sense In Time And Place
There was a strong effort on the part of the Romans to wipe out the royal line of Davids descendants, as they were seen as potential threats to Caesar, and might rise up and rally the Jewish people against Rome. The Temple authorities kept careful records of all living members of the House of David, and Joseph and his brother Cleopas were listed for extinction.
The leader of the Jerusalem Church after the murder of James the Less, was Simon the son of Cleopas. Both Cleopas and Simon were known to Theophilus, because there were family connections between the House of Ananus and the House of David.
Luke ends his Gospel with the account of the resurrection of Jesus, then suddenly moves to the account of the two disciples walking to Emmaus.
Luke pointedly names one of them as Cleopas. He points out that both Cleopas and Mary, his wife, recognized Jesus, and returned in the twilight to Jerusalem to inform the eleven of having seen Jesus alive. Very significantly the last verses of Luke tell of the disciples seeing Jesus ascend, within eyesight of the Temple, and ends with the Followers of Jesus returning to the Temple to continually worship there!
It is believed by several of the early Church Fathers that Theophilus became a follower of Jesus.
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Have You Ever Stopped To Ask Who Theophilus Was
Lets have a look and see what the Bible can tell us about this man.
When Dr. Luke wrote his Gospel he began by preparing his reader to understand that the information he is sharing is from original sources people whose stories have been verified. Luke next says the purpose of this treatise is to help Theophilus understand that the things he already knew about Jesus, were now being written to amplify the knowledge he already possessed.
The name Theophilus means a friend of God and is a distinctively Hebraic name. In calling him Most Excellent Luke is addressing a man of prominence.
This form of address is applied to only two other people in the New Testament they were the Governors Felix and Festus. It is not a greeting in the normal sense but is used as a title when addressing a person in high office. So we are looking at a man who is prominent in a high office.
Albert Barnes notes that these titles express no quality of the men, but belong to the office . . . even if their moral character be altogether unworthy of it.
We therefore need to look around and see who this person might be and what his position may have been, that required his friend Dr. Luke to give him a verified account of the beliefs of the Christians.
Luke completed his greeting, and moves immediately to a discussion of things that pertain to events that occurred in the Temple at Jerusalem.
Theophilus In The Bible: Who Was He What Did He Do
Theophilus is the Person to whom Luke addresses the book of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. In fact, he is the only person mentioned in the scriptures to whom writings were specifically dedicated to. However, there are many questions regarding the identity of this individual. Was he a real person or the name was just a title or an epithet? Was he a Christian in the first place? We will briefly review the answers to some of these questions.
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What Is The Main Point Of Lukes Gospel
Lukes Gospel is clearly written for Gentile converts: it traces Christs genealogy, for example, back to Adam, the father of the human race rather than to Abraham, the father of the Jewish people. The date and place of composition are uncertain, but many date the Gospel to 6370 ce, others somewhat later.
Who Was Luke Writing To In His Gospel
In contrast to either Mark or Matthew, Lukes gospel is clearly written more for a gentile audience. Luke is traditionally thought of as one of Pauls traveling companions and its certainly the case that the author of Luke was from those Greek cities in which Paul had worked.
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This Might Be A Good Time To Ask Ourselves Just When Did Luke Write His Gospel
There appears to be much uncertainty concerning the original writing of Luke. Obviously, from the context, it was written after the ascension of the Lord Jesus. We know Luke was present in Jerusalem at the time of the murder of James the Brother of John the son of Zebedee, and again at the time of the arrest of Peter, who was miraculously delivered from prison by an Angel. This occurred in A.D. 41 at the instigation of Herod Agrippa I, who had just been given the territories formerly ruled by his grandfather, Herod the Great.
Now Luke and Barnabas were there at that time in Jerusalem, with Paul, formerly known as Rabbi Saul of Tarsus.
Those first years of the decade after the Crucifixion were years of rapid growth of the Christian Church in Jerusalem. There is ample evidence that they met in theTemple for most of their worship, and in A.D. 41 the Priests and the Sanhedrin were beginning to fear the power of the Jesus movement.
The succession of High Priests is found in a listing by Josephus, the Jewish historian.
Caiaphas had been High Priest from A.D. 18-36. He was followed by Jonathan the son of Ananias, but only for about a year. He was removed from office because of the atrocities he committed, and his brother was given the position of High Priest and ruled from A.D. 37-41 This new High Priest was Theophilus, another son of Ananias.
There is only one other Theophilus on record as a prominent High Priest, but he predated the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.
Does Theophilus Appear In The Bible Personally
The answer to this question depends entirely to which theory you ascribe to. But if were talking explicitly, Theophilus does not appear personally in the Bible.
Does this mean that he didnt play a vital role in the early church? Does this mean he didnt believe in the Gospel? Not necessarily. Paul mentions plenty of people at the end of his Epistles who dont make a physical appearance in narratives such as Acts. In fact, the entire book of Philemon is addressed to a man who does not show up in person in any narrative in the Bible.
The fact he shows up in the Bible, by his actual name, conveys a great meaning. After all, the rich man who walked away sad from Jesus teachings never got named .
Any time someone in the New Testament provided names, they meant for the reader to go to that person for proof, because they were eyewitnesses to something. Luke, as a historian, did so with meticulous detail, especially in the Book of Acts. We have to assume he didnt throw in Theophilus name precariously.
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Who Is Lukes Theophilus
The identity of Lukes Theophilus could be a very important matter. For example, if I were to address a letter to Mr. President, the weight of its content and some of its meaning would be determined by who my addressee happens to be. If I were to write: Mr. President, pertaining to the affairs of which you have been informed, I have decided that it would be in your interest to know how these things developed from the beginning Wouldnt the contents of my narrative be weighted by the identity of the person to whom I am writing? Wouldnt analogies or indistinct parallels therein also take on a meaning according to the identity of my addressee? If my addressee were the president of the Elks Club or the CEO of a large business or the President of the United States, knowing his identity would determine how the letter should be read. Isnt this so?
Awhile back I became acquainted with the blogs of Lee T. Dahn and Richard Anderson . Although they do address other subjects, their blogs seem to be dedicated to the works of Luke with the identification of Theophilus, Lukes addressee, as a key concern. It was through their blogs that I began to consider the idea presented in this blog, and I am now convinced that Theophilus is the Jewish high priest whose was the governor of the Jews from 36 CE to 41 CE.
Who Is Theophilus In The Bible Books Of Luke And Acts
Theophilus was the person for whom Luke originally wrote his two books: the Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles. It is interesting to note that around 26% of the New Testament was written to Theophilus in Lukes writings. Lukes desire was to prove to Theophilus the truth of Jesus the Messiahs life, death and resurrection.
The name Theophilus appears in only two places in the Bible, Luke 1:1-4 and Acts 1:1-3. Luke wrote these two books around 61-63 AD which is during the time that the Apostle Paul was a prisoner in Rome and Luke was with him. .> > Get your free Bible Study Guide: The prophecies of the Messiah
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