Luke 1:1-4 – A Factual and Logical Statement
LK1:1 Since many have taken their hand to compile a statement regarding those facts that are fully confirmed among us – LK1:2 just as they have been handed down to us from the original eyewitnesses and attendants of the message – LK1:3 it also seemed most fitting for me, having investigated everything right from the beginning, to write to you most excellent Theophilus a factual account. LK1:4 Thus you might become aware of the reliable information about those matters in which you have been orally instructed.
 Since many have taken their hand: Or, NEB: many writers have undertaken; BAS: as a number of attempts have been made. It is likely that by the time Luke began his research Matthew and Mark were already available. It appears that Luke is aware of “many” who have prepared records of Christ’s life and teachings.
 To compile a statement regarding those facts: Or, KJV: to set forth in order a declaration; ASV: to draw up a narrative; RSV: to compile; NEB: to draw up an account of the events. The Greek for “facts” here is PRAGMATON from which the English “pragmatism” comes. Luke is dealing in “facts” and not a fairy tale. As a doctor he is observant and knows how to listen to a person’s statement of events as an eyewitness. He is precise in his dating of matters, sympathetic to women, careful in his use of specific designations, and reliable as a historian.
 That are fully confirmed among us: Or, KJV: most surely believed; ASV: fulfilled among us; BER: that have certainly taken place among us; WEY: received with full assurance. [John 20:31] The period between 29 to 73 AD is called the “eye witness period” during which those who were present could testify what they heard, saw, and felt. [1 John 1:1-3]
 Just as they have been handed down to us: Or, KJV: even as they delivered them unto us; NEB: following the traditions; MOF: exactly; WEY: on the authority of those. When Luke was alive as a traveling companion of Paul’s in the 50s and 60s AD he had great opportunities to interview a wide range of witnesses as well as read other first hand reports and records of these events.
 From the original eyewitnesses: Or, WEY: who were from the beginning eyewitnesses. These amounted to at least 500 Christian believers as well as others who could confirm what Jesus said and did. [1 Corinthians 15:6] The integrity of these witnesses could also be observed and compared. [1 Peter 2:12; 5:1; 2 Peter 1:16] It is likely Luke interviewed at length the apostles, as well as the seventy disciples, and also those women who followed Jesus’ ministry closely. [Luke 8:3; Acts 2:32; 3:15; 5:32; 10:39, 41]
 Attendants of the message: Or, ministers, servants, subordinates.
 Having investigated everything: Or, KJV: perfect understand; ASV: traced the course of all things accurately; NEB: as one who has gone over the whole course of these events in detail; RIE: have kept in close touch with the whole course of these events. If we judge from Luke’s precision in Acts we can imagine that he was meticulous in his gathering of facts.
 Most excellent: Or, most mighty. Either an endearing designation or an indication of his position in life.
 Theophilus: Meaning “God’s Friend.” The Book of Acts is also written to him. [Acts 1:1] We may assume Luke and Theophilus having copies made of his Gospel.
 Factual account: Or, accurate, careful. The Greek is ACRIBOS from which comes “accurate.”
 Become aware of the reliable information: Or, KJV: know the certainty; NAS: exact truth; NEB: authentic knowledge; GDS: reliable information; MOF: solid truth; TCN: satisfy yourself of the accuracy of the story. Luke states the reason or his Gospel – logical and reliable facts regarding Jesus’ life and ministry.
 Orally instructed: Or, informed, taught by word of mouth. In the beginning, before there were written accurate records of the Gospel, everyone learned by word of mouth, orally taught, though the prophecies in the Hebrew Bible could be examined.
Preceding article: The Advent of the saviour to Roman oppression
Nazarene Commentary to Zechariah and Elizabeth
Nazarene Commentary to An Angel Appearing to a Priest
Nazarene Commentary to Struck Dumb For Disbelief
Nazarene Commentary to Elizabeth Pregnant
Nazarene Commentary to Gabriel’s Appearance to Mary
Nazarene Commentary to Mary Visits Elizabeth
Nazarene Commentary to Mary Magnifies God
- The Nazarene. (mjseymour1959.wordpress.com)
There is no prophet in the Old Testament who states the Messiah will be called a Nazarene! Matthew also says that the birth at Bethlehem fulfilled “that which was spoken by the prophet.” A verse can be found where this is recorded in Micah 5:2. He also said that the flight into Egypt fulfilled “that which was spoken by the prophet.” That verse also can be found, it is in Hosea 11:1. But no verse in the Old Testament says “He shall be called a Nazarene.” Since Matthew knew that, then his words “which was spoken by the prophets,” indicate that there is no one prophet that makes the statement but when you put together the bits and pieces of the verses in the Old Testament about Nazareth and Nazarenes then the combination of those pieces make it plain that Jesus was to be called a “Nazarene.” Predicted, not by a prophet but by a compilation of “the prophets.”
Of particular interest is Isaiah’s use of the Hebrew word “nazer” or “branch” and of “nazeroth” which is obviously identical with “Nazareth” in form. Isaiah uses other related forms of the same word which have meaning when seeing them in their connection to Nazarene fulfillment of “that which was spoken by the prophets.” The same passages when translated in different ways are mediocre in meaning but come alive when seen as mystical conveyances of eternal truth. We will notice them more fully later but first let us see how the passage in Matthew 2:23 fulfills “that which was spoken by the prophets.”
- P1 The reliability of Luke’s Gospel and early church history testify about the Four Gospels (biblicalexegete.wordpress.com)
Luke opens his gospel by noting the types of sources that he used and the one Divine Source that led him to write what he wrote.a. Luke writes as a historian with a great concern for accuracy. The Greek words used to describe this first group of sources (πολλοὶ ἐπεχείρησαν ἀνατάξασθαι διήγησιν) would had been known to Luke’s reader Theophilus, who was Greek, being that the well known Greek historians of his day (like Thucycides) used such words to preface their historical records.
- Luke 1.1-4 (apologistmike.wordpress.com)
Whereas Matthew is a gospel written primarily to a Jewish audience, the gospel of Luke is not. It is addressed to Theophilus, which means “friend of God.” He was evidently a Greek-speaking Gentile of some political power. You’ll note also that the inherent theme in Matthew is that the King has come and His Jewish family has rejected Him—this justifies the giving of the gospel to the Gentiles. The theme in Luke is directly flipped: the entire gospel is written to a Gentile audience and there is a special emphasis on those who were considered social outcasts in 1st century Jewish culture—the women, the poor, the Gentiles. Whereas Matthew presented Jesus as the King, Mark presented Him as the powerful but suffering servant Who acts for God. Luke’s chief presentation of Jesus is as the perfection of the Son of Man—the perfect man came to seek and save the lost and outcast.
According to Mark Bailey, in Luke’s gospel there are 5 poems (hymns), 20 miracle accounts, 35 parables, and 586 out of the 1150 verses are quotations of Jesus. There are 250 words in Luke that are unique to Luke. He was a writer, and showed it.
- P2 The reliability of Luke’s Gospel and early church history testify about the Four Gospels: Why it matters (biblicalexegete.wordpress.com)
Irenaeus of Lyons (180 ): “Matthew published his gospel among the Hebrews in their tongue, when Peter and Paul were preaching the Gospel in Rome and founding the church there. After their departure Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, himself handed down to us in writing the substance of Peter’s preaching. Luke, the follower of Paul, set down in a book the gospel preached by his teacher. Then John, the disciple of the Lord, who also leaned on his breast, himself produced his gospel, while he was living at Ephesus in Asia.”
- RJ# 7: Luke 1: 1-4 “Theophilus” (buckrob15.wordpress.com)
Luke is telling the reader that he is one of many attempting to tell the story of Jesus. Luke is a credible source, though, because he has many eyewitness accounts and secondary reporters helping along the way.
- God’s Private Investigators – Luke 1:1-4 (stevesbiblemeditations.com)
Like a private invesigator, Dr. Luke carefully examined everything about Jesus from the beginning in order to present a reliable case to his patron, Theophilus.
Examine and scrutinize God’s Word using Bible study aids as needed, and then like Dr. Luke you can be certain of everything you have been taught and can accurately report your findings to others!
“Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15, NLT)
- Luke 1:1-4 (oh-mag.com)
It is clear from verse 4 that Theophilus was already aware of who Jesus was, and what all had transpired years earlier, but Luke makes is a point to give him this ‘orderly’ account for his certainty on the matter. Theophilus was most likely a Roman official of high rank, as indicated by the title ‘most excellent’. His name means ‘lover of God’. While no one knows exactly who he was, it is thought that this person was a convert to Christianity and in charge of distribution or publication of Luke’s writings. Luke was a doctor (Colossians 4:14), a fellow worker in advancing the Gospel (Philemon 24), and Paul’s companion before his martyrdom (2 Timothy 4:11). Luke was also somewhat of a historian, writing not only the book that carries his name, but also the book of Acts which details the beginnings of the church.
- Jesus in the Gospel of Luke (insightscoop.typepad.com)
It is only in the four canonical Gospels that the Church has recognized the canonical picture of Christ, the true and original picture. It is certainly not by chance that these are also the four oldest accounts of Jesus that we have. The many other gospels, which without exception are clearly later, were not recognized by the Church as being genuine, even if there may be one or another original saying of Jesus in them. Almost every year, one of these numerous so-called apocryphal gospels is brought forward as a new sensation, as happened just recently with the gospel of Judas. Usually it is not mentioned that people have known about them for a long time and that the works have been studied by specialists. Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, for instance, talks about the gospel of Judas at the end of the second century and demonstrates that it is a late forgery.
But what argues far more strongly in favor of the genuineness of the four oldest Gospels is their incomparable spiritual power. Jesus himself is speaking in them. His spirit, his heart, and his transforming power can be felt at work in them. They are not just human discourse and human wisdom. They are also that; but, shot through with the fire of the Holy Spirit, they are truly God’s word.
- 12 Days of Christmas Devotional Day 2: Christmas His-Story (gloriousfilms.com)
We often overlook the four verses that kick off Luke’s Gospel and precede the Christmas story. But they’re important. Like the beginning of any good book, movie or speech, the introduction sets the stage for what the writer is trying to accomplish.
One is left to decide if it is, in fact, historical, but what one cannot do is say that Lukes’s Gospel is not written as if it IS history. It has marked differences between other ancient myth stories and religious texts of its time. The historical accuracy of Luke’s detailed account of Jewish and Roman practices, places, politics and other details is impeccable. His faithful reporting of events that sometimes sheds an embarrassing or negative light on the apostles and early Christians also speaks to the integrity of his account.
- “Eyewitnesses” in Luke-Acts: Not What We Think (vridar.org)
There is a very good argument that the word for “eyewitnesses” in the preface to the Gospel of Luke (and by extension to Acts) does not refer to persons who literally saw the people and events that are found in the narratives.
The argument by John N. Collins has been published in The Expository Times (June, 2010) and deserves far more attention than it appears to have received. Its implications are far-reaching and highly significant for any thesis that rests upon the view that Luke drew upon oral traditions or accounts of individuals who were known for having personally witnessed Jesus or other events found in the Gospel and Acts.
The grammatical construction in verse 2 combines the “eyewitnesses” and “ministers/servants” as one and the same from the outset. That is, they eyewitnesses did not eventually go on to become servants of the word; whoever is spoken of here were both eyewitnesses and servants of the word” from the outset.
“Eyewitnesses and servants of the writings” were those through whom the tradition was taught and passed on. They were the officials held responsible for guarding the “books” and ensuring the correct writings were being collected and passed on through reading and teaching.