The Biblical Accounts Of Theophilus
There are just two verses that specifically mention the individual identified as Theophilus by Luke. These verses are Luke 1:3 and Acts 1:1.
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,
The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
Luke literally dedicated his two books to this individual.
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 Intended To Demonstrate That The Christian Account Was The True One He Was Aware That Autolycus Had Read The Histories And Genealogies Of The So
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- Beyond this, little is known about Theophilus. He may have been a wealthy patron who supported Lukes work, or he may have been a high-ranking official such as a governor or emperor. Some commentators have suggested that Theophilus was a symbol for all Christians since his name means lover of God.
- May 21, 2010 · 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.
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King James Bible Dictionary
Lover of God, a Christian, probably a Roman, to whom Luke dedicated both his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles . Nothing beyond this is known of him. From the fact that Luke applies to him the title “most excellent”, the same title Paul uses in addressing Felix and Festus , it has been concluded that Theophilus was a person of rank, perhaps a Roman officer.
the person to whom St. Luke inscribes his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. From the honorable epithet applied to him in it has been argued with much probability that he was a person in high official position. All that can be conjectured with any degree of safety concerning him comes to this, that he was a Gentile of rank and consideration who came under the influence of St. Luke or under that of St. Paul at Rome, and was converted to the Christian faith.
Did Theophilus Help Publish Lukes Books
An interesting consideration is whether Theophilus helped Luke in any way in the Publishing of his two books, especially given that he dedicated his two books to this individual. He might have facilitated the distribution of Lukes books, contributed financially to the publishing costs but we have no evidence to think that He was a Publisher or a Literary agent for Luke!
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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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.
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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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What Do We Know About Him
If we attempt to put the pieces together, these are the following things we know about Theophilus
- He was a real Person
- He was a believer in Jesus Christ
- He was hungry to learn about Jesus. Though He had been instructed already, he was eager to learn more.
- He was likely an official or one of high social status
He did not say a single word in all the narratives that included him!
Bovon, F., & Koester, H. . Luke 1: a commentary on the Gospel of Luke 1:19:50 . Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.
Miller, J. E. . Theophilus. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, W. Widder , The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Morris, L. . Luke: an introduction and commentary . Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
OToole, R. F. . Theophilus . In D. N. Freedman , The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary . New York: Doubleday.
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What Can We Learn From Theophilus For Today
Theophilus life serves as a testimony to us in a number of ways.
First, we learn that God can transform the hearts of any person, no matter what their life circumstance or social strata. Theophilus actually comes into the narrative at a disadvantage: a rich Roman. Romans were already hostile to the Gospel, as it ran counter to their religion. But as we learn in Matthew 19, those who have wealth or higher positions have a harder time accepting the Gospel because it means giving up earthly wealth or power, in many cases. Theophilus defies all odds.
Second, we know that even minor characters can play a larger role in Gods story. We dont know how Theophilus affected Lukes ministry, but he did enough to earn a shout out in two books.
This means that we shouldnt do what we do for spotlight or recognition. Instead, we should trust Gods plan for our lives and whom he may place on our path as we share the Gospel.
Finally, we can learn from Theophilus name loved by God. Each of us is a Theophilus in a sense. God loves each of us and has granted us the opportunity to become a friend of God.
Theophilus may only make an appearance for two verses, but this doesnt necessarily discount his role in the Gospel. The New Testament has plenty of once-mentioned people who played an instrumental role in the early church. We know Theophilus had some wealth and power, and that he had a close connection with Luke.
Who Is Theophilus In The Bible
Theophilus is a figure in the New Testament who is addressed in the second and third books of Luke. In each case, Theophilus is introduced as most excellent or some similar title indicating great respect . Beyond this, little is known about Theophilus.
He may have been a wealthy patron who supported Lukes work, or he may have been a high-ranking official such as a governor or emperor.
Some commentators have suggested that Theophilus was a symbol for all Christians since his name means lover of God.
It is also possible that Theophilus was a real person to whom Luke dedicated his books.
In any case, Theophilus serves as an example of someone who desires to know more about Jesus and the Christian faith.
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Why Are Luke And Acts Addressed To Theophilus
We can ask this question about many books of the New Testament that seem to be dedicated or addressed to one person or another. After all, if the Bible is Gods word, why do certain writers address certain books to particular people?
To answer this question, lets look at some examples from Paul, and who he addresses at the end of the books he writes.
In Romans 16, he greets Phoebe, Priscilla, Aquila, Andronicus, Junia, and various others. The verses make it clear that Paul worked firsthand with many, if not all, of these people during his ministry. He mentions how some of them endured prison with him others risked their lives for Paul.
If we analyze the other books of Paul, we notice how he issues similar greetings to those who played a role in his ministry. Some of these are pupils to whom he passed the mantle. Others worked side by side with him.
In the case of Theophilus, we have to assume a similar pattern. Theophilus played some vital role in Lukes ministry.
Many like to say that he served as a patron, supplying the funds for Lukes ministry. Others have claimed Theophilus learned under Luke as a pupil. No matter what the case, similar to those whom Paul mentions, Luke makes sure to address Theophilus who contributed in some part to Lukes ministry.
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.
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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 .
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Why Did Luke Write Theophilus
As we noted in the introduction, Luke was writing Theophilus in order to provide an account of the events that had transpired during Jesus life and ministry. By doing so, Luke hoped to provide Theophilus with a more certain understanding of the things that he had been taught about Jesus .
There are a couple of possible reasons why Luke may have wanted to provide Theophilus with this account.
First, it is possible that Theophilus was a new believer who needed clarification on the events surrounding Jesus life. Alternately, it is also possible that Theophilus was a non-believer who needed to be given a more complete picture of who Jesus was and what He had accomplished.
In either case, Lukes goal was to provide a reliable, historical account of the events surrounding Jesus life in order to help Theophilus gain a greater understanding of who Jesus is and what He has done.
In doing so, Luke not only helped Theophilus to understand the Christian faith more fully but also provided all readers with a reliable account of the early days of Christianity.
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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Luke Writes To Theophilus
Lukes introduction to Theophilus, in the book of Luke, begins like this: Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.
With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught .
Lukes phrase so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught gives the impression that Theophilus is probably a Gentile with whom Luke has studied about Christianity. Luke wants to prove to Theophilus that what he has learned about Jesus is in fact true.
In this vein, Luke even includes the account of Jesus explaining the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah to two people as they traveled to Emmaus. And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself .