“In the first book,
I wrote about
All that Jesus did
From the beginning.”
Τὸν μὲν πρῶτον λόγον ἐποιησάμην περὶ πάντων, ὦ Θεόφιλε, ὧν ἤρξατο ὁ Ἰησοῦς ποιεῖν τε καὶ διδάσκειν,
The author of this book referred to his first book or words (Τὸν μὲν πρῶτον λόγον). He also named the recipient of this work as Theophilus (ὦ Θεόφιλε). He said that he had written or composed (ἐποιησάμην) all about (περὶ πάντων) what Jesus (ὁ Ἰησοῦς) both did (ποιεῖν τε) and taught (καὶ διδάσκειν) from the beginning (ὧν ἤρξατο). This author was referring to the Gospel of Luke that was all about what Jesus did and taught. Luke, chapter 1:3, said that he had studied these issues. He wanted to write an orderly careful account (ἀκριβῶς καθεξῆς σοι γράψαι) to the most excellent Theophilus (κράτιστε Θεόφιλε). Who was this Theophilus? The name means literally, lover or friend of God. This may be a name to include all people who love or are friendly with God. He may have been Luke’s benefactor supporting him. However, it could also be a highly literate Christian Roman official, since he was called most excellent (κράτιστε) in Luke, which is a title of honor. In any case, the Acts of the Apostles, also was addressed to Theophilus. Most of the educated Romans were fluent in Greek. Thus, from the start there was a clear connection between Luke and the Acts. Quite often the two works are considered one as Luke-Acts. Are you a lover of God?
You may know
Concerning the things
You have been instructed.”
ἵνα ἐπιγνῷς περὶ ὧν κατηχήθης λόγων τὴν ἀσφάλειαν.
Luke continued with his address to Theophilus. He wanted him to know or recognize (ἵνα ἐπιγνῷς) the truth or certainty (τὴν ἀσφάλειαν) about what words or things he had been instructed about (περὶ ὧν κατηχήθης λόγων). This sounds like someone who had become a Christian and wanted to know more about Jesus. In fact, the Greek term (κατηχήθης) has become the basis of the word catechism or teaching. This clearly indicates that this was a new Christian wanting to know more. The literate Greek reader of this work would already have had a rudimentary knowledge of Jewish and early Christian activities, but wanted more.
From the very first,
An orderly account
Most excellent Theophilus!”
ἔδοξε κἀμοὶ παρηκολουθηκότι ἄνωθεν πᾶσιν ἀκριβῶς καθεξῆς σοι γράψαι, κράτιστε Θεόφιλε,
Luke got personal. He said that after he had investigated or became acquainted with everything from the very first (παρηκολουθηκότι ἄνωθεν πᾶσιν). In other words, Luke had studied these issues. He, or as he wrote, it seemed good to him (ἔδοξε κἀμοὶ), decided to write an orderly careful account (ἀκριβῶς καθεξῆς σοι γράψαι) to the most excellent Theophilus (κράτιστε Θεόφιλε). Luke used the second personal singular to address Theophilus as “you”. Who was this Theophilus? The name means literally, lover or friend of God. This may be a name to include all people who love or are friendly with God. However, it may also be a highly literate Christian Roman official, since he is called most excellent (κράτιστε), which is a title of honor. In any case, the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 1:1, was also addressed to him. Most of the educated Romans were fluent in Greek.
Of the gospel
Of Jesus Christ,
The Son of God.”
Ἀρχὴ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ Υἱοῦ Θεοῦ.
When you compare the beginnings of the other gospels to Mark, you can see the differences. Matthew, chapter 1:1, called his account a book or account (Βίβλος) that starts with a genealogy, while Luke, chapter 1-4, talked about an orderly account for his friend Theophilus. John, chapter l:18, had his long logos prologue. Mark was the only one to call his work a gospel (τοῦ εὐαγγελίου), or more precisely, the beginning of a gospel (Ἀρχὴ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου). Just like in Genesis, chapter 1:1, this is the beginning (Ἀρχὴ) of something important, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news about Jesus Christ (τοῦ εὐαγγελίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ). Like Matthew, Mark called Jesus the Christ (Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ) or the Messiah right from the beginning. Jesus was the anointed one, the “Christ (Χριστοῦ).” This author clearly stated at the beginning of this book that it would be about Jesus the expected anointed Messiah, Christ. However, there is nothing about the genealogy or the birth of Jesus as in Matthew and Luke. Instead, like John, the emphasis was on the divine Jesus, the Son of God (Υἱοῦ Θεοῦ). Right from the beginning, Jesus is and was the Son of God.