CHAPTER 0 – PROLOGUE
Act 1 – Foreword
Scene 1 – Prologue
- Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word,
- it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.
This very first Scene of The Synoptic Gospel is the Prologue, which is taken from the first four verses of the Gospel of Luke. Traditionally, this is the usual opening of any attempt to parallel and merge the texts of the four Gospels, because it is introductory, and also because, unlike the other three Gospels, Luke’s prologue is addressed to an individual, someone named Theophilus (Luke 1:3).
It is noted that the Gospel of Luke and also The Book of the Acts of the Apostles were composed by this same Luke, called the physician (a doctor) (Colossians 4:14), and that the two books of Luke / Acts were originally bound together as one volume. A proof of this is that both books are addressed to the same Theophilus (Acts 1:1).
While Theophilus could be the name of an individual, such as an important political supporter of early Christianity, or a wealthy patron of Paul or Peter, the Greek word means, “friend of God”, or “loved (or beloved) of God”, or even “lover of God”, or “one who loves God”. Out of a desire for mystery, or the need for secrecy, theophilus could also be a code to address everyone who loves and seek after God. Are you a Theophilus?
Although humanity was created by God from love, and to reflect that love, it seems that many people are not really concerned with loving God, which begins with learning about Him, and ends with being obedient to His Commandments. These Commandments form part of a Covenant between humanity and God. A covenant is a legal agreement between two parties, and the Gospel stories are the main place where the Commandments of the new Covenant, as brought by Jesus Christ, who is the Mediator of the new Covenant between humanity and God (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 8:6, 9:15, 12:24), can be found; the “old” Covenant is Judaism.
In his opening, Luke states that, “many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word…” This means that at the time that Luke decided to compile his account of the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ, there were already many other such “Gospel” accounts in existence, and yet Luke felt compelled to add his version of the events, which he compiled from many different sources. The reason Luke that did this may have been to correct something in the teachings that Theophilus had received, as he puts it, “so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.” (emphasis added)
From this introduction, Luke also makes it clear that he himself was not a personal witness to the events of the life of Jesus, but that he heard the things that he records from those who had been with Jesus, namely the Apostle Peter, and also Paul, and the other apostles, along with many others. Luke was likely an early convert to Christianity, and he had never personally met or seen Jesus.
The name Luke (from the Latin: Lucas, meaning “light”) and he accompanied the Apostle Peter and also Paul on several of their missionary journeys (Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:11), and from these men, and the other Apostles, and early Christians, he heard many stories of Jesus, and His sayings. Some see that Luke’s Gospel may reflect viewpoint and the teachings of Paul.
As a physician, Luke was educated and methodical, and his Gospel is the longest of the four Gospels of the New Testament. It uniquely includes stories surrounding the conception and births of both John (the Baptist), son of the Priest Zacharias; and also of Jesus (the Christ), the son Mary, who was the wife of Joseph.
While the words of this prologue are taken from the Gospel of Luke, they serve as a fitting introduction to the entire Gospel story, which is dedicated to all those who love, and are beloved by, God.
Next Commentary: Scene 012 – The Word of God