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Biblical People

Biblical People: Theophilus

As mentioned in the previous chapter on Luke, we know he writes twice to Theophilus and that these letters are part of the Bible in the books of Luke and Acts. 

Though the Bible tells us nothing about Theophilus, Luke addresses both his letters to this mysterious person. The reason is significant. Luke wants Theophilus to know for certain the things he had been taught about Jesus. 

Think about this.

Someone tells Theophilus about Jesus. Perhaps Theophilus believes, but maybe he isn’t fully convinced. He might carry a tinge of doubt about this Jesus, the man who changed religion into a relationship. It’s so countercultural that it’s revolutionary. Regardless, Luke feels it’s worth his time to help Theophilus know Jesus for sure.

This is a huge undertaking for Luke. He spends a great deal of time researching the subject and more time writing his findings—all for Theophilus. 

Luke’s biography of Jesus is the longest book in the New Testament, at just under 20,000 words. His sequel, the book of Acts, is the second longest. Together they’re almost the length of a short novel. That’s a lot of words, a lot of writing, and a lot of research.

Though Luke writes this book for one person, Theophilus, it’s available for us two thousand years later. Like Theophilus, we too can read Luke’s account of Jesus so that we can know for certain the things we’ve been taught.

How much effort will we make to help one person know Jesus for sure?

[Discover more about Theophilus in Luke 1:1–4 and Acts 1:1–2.]

Read more about other people in the New Testament in The Friends and Foes of Jesus, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.