Luke 1:1-4 (ESV)
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.
Take a moment to let the enormity of this passage sink in. Luke is the foremost author in the New Testament. Luke and Acts together (formerly known as “The History of Christian Origins”) are longer than all of Paul’s writings. Here begins the greatest story ever told in its most complete version.
Luke is inspired, literally, to write an orderly account for you, that would add to the many other attempts to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us. As someone who has followed all things closely for some time past, Luke feels obligated to weigh in with his perspective.
He does this so that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. There’s a hint of concern here about those other narratives. Luke seems to be trying to fill in some gaps.
To put it bluntly, Luke knew that he knew some things that he hadn’t seen covered in the other accounts and he felt compelled to get that knowledge out there where it could do some good.
Thank God he did. Imagine the Bible without the book of Acts.
We don’t know who this book was written to. Theophilus is Greek for “lover of God.” There were real people with that name in the first century, so it may refer to one of them.
But it seems more likely that Theophilus just refers to anyone who loves God.
It’s addressed to you.
What a wonder it is that we have this book (and the rest of scripture) preserved for us by the labor of thousands of dedicated scribes. As great as Luke’s effort was to put this all down, those who copied it did even more.
Just as God called Luke to write this, He also called many people to be human copier machines. Imagine deciding to devote your life to copying the Bible. It’s totally lonely work. Your hand hurts all the time. No one thanks you for doing it. The copies you make may rot to dust in a century or two, or could be destroyed any number of ways.
But centuries later, your efforts will be celebrated as essential. Those incredible saints kept God’s word alive through the ages.
It really is a miracle.
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