re: “… the things that have been fulfilled among us …” (TNIV)
“… the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear …” (2 Tim.4:17 NASB)
re: “… those whom from he first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word …” (TNIV)
“… it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us …” (Acts 1:21 NASB)
“… for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness …” (Acts 26:16 NASB)
“Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.” (1 Cor.4:1 NASB)
“… our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.” (1 Thes.1:5 NASB)
“… so great a salvation … was at the first spoken through the Lord … confirmed to us by those who heard …” (Heb.2:3 NASB)
“… we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” (2 Pet.1:16 NASB)
“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life – and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim …” (1 Jn.1:1-2 NASB)
re: “… carefully investigated everything from the beginning … ” (TNIV)
“… they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11 NASB)
re: “… I too decided to write … for you …” (TNIV)
“In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following.” (1 Tim.4:6 NASB)
re: “… an orderly account …” (TNIV)
“The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen.” (Acts 1:1-2 NASB)
“… proceeded to explain to them in orderly sequence …” (Acts 11:4 NASB)
re: “… most excellent Theophilus …”
“… most excellent Felix …” (Acts 23:26; 24:3; 26:25)
re: “… so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” (TNIV)
“This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus …” (Acts 18:25 NASB)
“… being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform …” (Rom.4:21 NASB)
“… attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself …” (Col.2:2 NASB)
“… always laboring earnestly for you … that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.” (Col.4:12 NASB)
“… so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end …” (Heb.6:11 NASB)
“… let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith …” (Heb.10:22a NASB)
1. That there were already many voices talking about Jesus didn’t keep Luke from investing a great deal of effort into adding his own informed voice to the conversation. Though Theophilus had been taught, Luke sets out to retrace some of the same information again. Fresh attempts and repetition can be good, especially when it comes to the task of growing true faith.
2. Luke speaks neither good or ill of any previous attempts to convey the story of Christian faith. He simply tells the story as he sees it from his own careful inquiry – a rather refreshing approach given that it isn’t the norm in human discussion of matters around which controversy swirls.
3. Luke did not just buy into whatever was commonly spoken of regarding Jesus and Christian faith. Nor did he just add to a pool of ignorance when he spoke. He deemed it important to “carefully investigate everything.”
4. Luke’s first description of the things that have transpired among Christians is that they were things that had been “fulfilled” (TNIV). Christian history is not just a sequence of accidents or simply the sum of human choices, but is something in which the divine is also involved. Luke believes human history is something in which God participates.
5. Two types of evidence are impressive to Luke – “eyewitnesses and servants of the word” – and they are found in one and the same people. Luke appears to ask two questions of Christian faith: (a) Is it based on solid testimony, not hearsay? and (b) Does it change people’s lives so that they conform their lives to its teachings? That is, “Was it done?” and “Is it doable?” Christian faith, if anything, must be historical and practical, or it is nothing at all.
6. There is a distinct emphasis on the mind and rational thinking here when it comes to thinking/talking/living out the Christian faith. There’s nothing mysterious or better-felt-than-told at all about Luke’s understanding of what makes up the gospel – or even how he composed his Gospel. Everything is out-in-the-open for Theophilus – someone who is anything but a seasoned Christian, whether he be someone yet-to-believe or a babe in Christ.
7. Luke obviously wouldn’t be satisfied with a “whatever” approach to Christian faith. He is on a personal quest – and wants Theophilus to be on one, too – for “truth” and “certainty.” Some things are right and some things are not about faith in Christ and it’s important to know the difference.
8. Whatever view you take of the inspiration of Scripture, your view must take into full account normal, human effort as Luke exemplifies here (i.e. – investigative research, interviews of witnesses, etc.). Inspiration was neither a mere mechanical or just magically mysterious thing.
9. Deep spirituality and grounding in the greatest matters of Christian faith does not give license for any disrespect or slight to those who are yet to arrive there. Luke speaks of Theophilus – someone less spiritually mature or “ripe” with great deference and honor (i.e. – “Most Excellent Theophilus”). Certainity and maturity express themselves in genuine humility and sincere deference or they express themselves not at all.
10. People need to be “taught” the things of God. Christian faith isn’t caught, but taught. How great then the responsibility of all would teach it and for all who would be taught it.