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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 1 - Verse 3

Verse 3. It seemed good. I thought it best; or, I have also determined. It seemed to be called for that there should be a full, authentic, and accurate account of these matters.

Having had perfect understanding, &c. The literal translation of the original here would be,

 

"having exactly traced everything from the first;"

or,

 

"having, by diligent and careful investigation, followed

up everything to the source, to obtain an accurate

account of the matter."

This much better expresses the idea. Luke did not profess to have seen these things, and this expression is designed to show how he acquired his information. It was by tracing up every account till he became satisfied of its truth. Here observe, 1st. That in religion God does not set aside our natural faculties. He calls us to look at evidence; to examine accounts; to make up our own minds. Nor will any man be convinced of the truth of religion who does not make investigation and set himself seriously to the task.

2nd. We see the nature of Luke's inspiration. It was consistent with his using his natural faculties or his own powers of mind in investigating the truth. God, by his Holy Spirit, presided over his faculties, directed them, and kept him from error.

In order. {c} This word does not indicate that the exact order of time would be observed, for that is not the way in which he writes; but it means distinctly, particularly, in opposition to the confused and broken accounts to which he had referred before.

Most excellent Theophilus. {d} The word Theophilus means a friend of God, or a pious man; and it has been supposed by some that Luke did not refer to any particular individual, but to any man that loved God; but there is no reason for this opinion. Significant names were very common, and there is no good reason to doubt that this was some individual known to Luke. The application of the title "most excellent" farther proves it. It would not be given to an unknown man. The title most excellent has by some been supposed to be given to express his character, but it is rather to be considered as denoting rank or office. It occurs only in three other places in the New Testament, and is there given to men in office — to Felix and Festus, Ac 23:26; Ac 24:3; 26:25.

These titles express no quality of the men, but belong to the office; and we may hence learn that it is not improper for Christians, in giving honour to whom honour is due, to address men in office by their customary titles, even if their moral character be altogether unworthy of it. Who Theophilus was is unknown. It is probable that he was some distinguished Roman or Greek who had been converted, who was a friend of Luke, and who had requested an account of these things. It is possible that this preface might have been sent to him as a private letter with the gospel, and Theophilus chose to have them published together.

{c} Ac 11:4 {d} Ac 1:1

 

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