1Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
Commentary: Luke’s introduction is important, because he is so clear about the purpose for this gospel. He even admits that he is not the first to try to write it down, but credentials himself by saying that these are eyewitness accounts, or those from “servants of the word”, that is, leaders in the early Christian community. The author’s claim is important, because there wouldn’t have been many eyewitnesses left; this gospel might have been written as early as 60 CE, but might well not have been in final form until 110 CE, when surely all the eyewitnesses would have died. “Theophilus” to whom the book is dedicated, means “lover of God”, and might have referred to one person, or merely meant “any God-seeking person”. This gospel is part of a two-volume set, the other being the book of Acts.
To Ponder: In a wikipedia world, how do we evaluate the truth of what people say, either in the media or in person?
How important is it to have “an orderly account” of religious truth? Is such a thing possible? If you were to “carefully investigate” the Christmas story, what would you want to ask?