Friday, December 02, 2005

Inspiration & questions: Luke 1:1-4

Inspiration

Your Excellency Theophilus, since a number of others, following eyewitnesses who dedicated themselves to serving this word conveyed to us, have sketched narratives of what God has brought about among us, it seemed appropriate for me, too, using very careful, thorough research from the start, to lay out a methodical account for you so that you can be certain as to the truth of what has been passed on to you. (Luke 1:1-4 - Why I Write DSV*)

Questions

1. Who does Luke have in mind when he says many others have drawn up accounts of the events that have transpired? (1:1a)

2. What does Luke have to say here in his prologue (1:1-4) about these other accounts? Does he tell us how he would have viewed them in terms of their credibility, etc.?

3. What all is referenced by Luke's comment that what he wrote about concerned "the things that have been fulfilled among us?" (1:1b)

4. How exactly were these things "handed down to us?" (1:2)

5. What does the phrase "servants of the word" mean in this context? (1:2)

6. Luke says he used "research" (1:3 - "investigated," TNIV). How does investigation fit in with inspiration?

7. Luke says he was strove to pen "an orderly account." (1:3) What does "orderly" mean or imply in this context?

8. Who was Theophilus (1:3b)? Was he a Christian or someone yet to believe and how does this affect our understanding of Luke's purpose in writing?

9. Luke says he wrote so that Theophilus "may know the certainty of the things" he had "been taught." (1:4) What sort of teachings and events does Luke record in the rest of his work that explicitly underline this purpose of his to establish the trustworthiness and authenticity of Christian faith?

10. What specific concepts and words in this prologue to Luke's Gospel (1:1-4) obviously underscore Luke's overarching concern for "certainty" in regard to the Christian faith? Do we even need to be "certain" about matters of faith?

* DSV - My own paraphrase of the English text of Luke-Acts based on a comparison of various English translations and reference works. Italicized words are emphasized in the Greek text.