Luke is quite the historian. He searched things out by interviewing the primary sources rather than relying on the research or records of others. He collected them and put them together in an orderly fashion like he says in the first four verses of his book. He writes, “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.”

He is writing to Theophilus. Many think that it is a particular man with that name. Other commentators suggest that since “Theophilus” is a Greek term that means “Lover of God” he was addressing all the believers. Martin thinks it must be an individual with that name. He says, “Though it has been suggested that Luke used the name for all who are ‘lovers of God’ (i.e., the readers of his Gospel narrative), it is better to suppose that this was a real individual who was the first recipient of Luke’s Gospel and who then gave it wide circulation in the early church. Apparently, he was an official of some kind, for he was called most excellent.”[1] However, Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan, said, “If you love God, it is written to you.”

“Luke’s elegant prologue is dedicated to historical investigation that can be corroborated by human testimony apart from appeals to divine inspiration, Christian terminology, or religious claims. In the sequel to his Gospel, (Acts) Luke speaks of the resurrected Jesus presenting himself to the disciples in ‘many convincing proofs.’ Without using the same word in the prologue, Luke imputes equal veracity to the eyewitness sources of his Gospel. The essential underpinning of Christian mission and proclamation is not a myth, philosophy, or religious or moral system, but human witness to the saving significance of Jesus Christ. Loveday Alexander argues that Luke has consciously rooted his prologue in the language of academic discourse typical of scientific treatises. In the prologue, Luke testifies that his role as an Evangelist is to bear responsible testimony to what God has done in human history in the life of Jesus of Nazareth.”[2] It has often been said that history itself is “His Story.” The entire Bible is about Jesus. Jesus was and is the subject of all human history. Matthew presented a genealogy of Jesus back to Abraham, through David, and up to Christ’s birth. Luke goes back to Adam to show the focus of all history is Jesus. It really is “His Story.” At Christmas time we are not celebrating a well-collaborated myth, but the dependable and accurate historical account of the incarnation. God sent his Son, “born of a woman” in a manger in Bethlehem to save mankind from their sin. Those who believe and celebrate this truth become “lovers of God.”

[1] Martin, John A. 1985. “Luke.” In The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, edited by J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, 2:202. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[2] Edwards, James R. 2015. The Gospel according to Luke. Edited by D. A. Carson. The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.; Nottingham, England: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Apollos.