Too often, we rush and we fail to slow down and consider the common sense of a Bible passage -
Like a learner in a reading class, let's break down
a passage to see if we can comprehend it better.
Luke 1 (NASB):
1 Since many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us,
- According to the first verse, what have "many" attempted to do?'
- In verse 2, who are "those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word"?
- What did "those" hand down to "us"? Who are "us"?
- What might "handed down" mean?
- In the third verse, who does the writing?
- What qualifies the author as an authority on his subject?
- To whom is the writer writing?
- How does writing "in an orderly sequence" differ from some of the other writings on the topic?
- What is the stated purpose of writing (verse 4)?
Understandably, there are other writings about the life and times of Jesus - even some outside of the accepted canon of the New Testament. The writers of the Gospel have different styles and emphasize different aspects of the Savior. Undoubtedly, there was much written before the Gospel writers were inspired to record their words. Many of the things they witnessed would have been understood better through the lens of prophecy - those inspired predictions we still read in the Old Testament.
Now, a physician with the name of Luke dips pen into ink to give an organized view into the life of the Messiah, Jesus. He claims that the account he is about to give has been "handed down", which implies that his written words are inspired by a heavenly source - different from extrabiblical writings and commentaries. This sets Luke's writing apart.
As stated, he records his words specifically for someone named Theophilus and generally for the rest of the world throughout present and future times. Interestingly, Theophilus has been taught from Scripture, but like many others, he does not acutely understand. Luke's intention is to shed light on some details that will confirm prophetic connections and strengthen his friend's faith in Jesus as the Christ. I do well to learn more about those details and connections, as well.