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Luke's Treatise To A Convert

"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." (Luke 1:3-4 KJV)

"The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:1-3 KJV)

"The treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach"

A stated in the quotes above, Theophilus, in Greek meaning lover of God, was the man to whom Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. Amazingly, both Luke and Acts were originally a "Bible study" to one convert, a "treatise" meaning a formal explanation (treaty is related to the same root word as treatise) of something.

A Scroll Nothing else is recorded about Theophilus, however from the formal manner that Luke addressed him in Luke, he was likely a Roman official of some sort, since Luke's referring to him as "most excellent" was an apparent Roman title (Christians did not use pompous titles for their teachers or leaders, such as the utterly blasphemous modern-day use of "The Holy Father" for a mere human) that was recorded by Luke for only two others in the Scriptures, both non-Christian Roman Procurators (governors) of Judea - "most excellent" Festus (Acts 26:25) and "most excellent" Felix (Acts 24:2).

It is interesting however that in the later-written Acts, Luke refers to him simply and less formally as "O Theophilus," which, although could be the result of a number of things, or nothing at all, may also have been an indication that Theophilus gave up, or was removed from, his Roman position in favor of his obviously-strong interest in Christianity. To the Romans, their Emperor was idolized as a god (just as some modern-day political leaders are revered as divine), something that no Christian could ever accept (a great many Christians, and Jews, were martyred by the Romans for that very reason, and will be again - see Revelation 13).

In the later Book of Acts, Luke continues his account of Bible History to Theophilus, which, as with the Gospel of Luke, includes much Prophecy:

"The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which He was taken up, after that He through The Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom He had chosen: To whom also He showed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith He, ye have heard of Me. For John truly baptized with water [see The Origin of Baptism]; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence."

"When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?"

"And He said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses [to understand the origin of "martyr," see Martyrs] unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."

"And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud [see The Clouds of Heaven] received Him out of their sight."

"And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as He went up [see The Mount Of Olives], behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come [see The Prince of Peace] in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven." (Acts 1:1-11 RSV)

Fact Finder: Much of the book of Acts was written by Luke about Paul's Ministry. Was Luke the only one to remain with Paul right to the time that he was martyred?
2 Timothy 4:1-11; see also Demas


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