Now many have undertaken to compile an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, like the accounts passed on to us by those who were eyewitnesses and servants of the word from the beginning. So it seemed good to me as well, because I have followed all things carefully from the beginning, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know for certain the things you were taught.
Do you have a story that a friend tells that you love to hear over and over again? When you are around people (or on a video call…ahem) and somebody starts to tell a story you’ve heard, do you perk up because you love to hear it told over and over again?
When Luke put together his account of Jesus’ life, there were other gospels already written. More and more people had already heard about Jesus and had been following Jesus for years. In fact, many scholars believe that Luke was compiling material for his gospel the whole time he was living out the book of Acts!
Just as the Gospel of Mark is a shorter, action-filled gospel, Luke is a detailed, orderly book that is much longer. It’s the longest book in the New Testament, actually. Mark was like the breaking news reporter on the scene getting the initial details out as fast as he could. Luke was like Time Magazine writing the long form special edition years later and covering every detail and aspect of Christ’s life after a lot of research.
The other great thing you are going to see in the Gospel of Luke is how much it stands on it’s own. You can get a great study Bible from your local Christian bookstore and follow all of the cross references to the Old Testament, but you don’t have to. Luke was a doctor from Antioch. He grew up in the Jewish/Roman world, but he didn’t write for it. He wrote more for the “ends of the earth” where he had already been traveling with Paul and the others.
The last thing that stands out in this introduction is Luke’s manner. He doesn’t come across as “a bunch of people got it all wrong and now I’m going set the record straight!” although he could have. Truth doesn’t have to attack. It’s the truth.
Luke’s goal for writing was out of service to others. “to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know for certain the things you were taught.” Theophilus was either a person with a really cool name, or a representative, since that name means “lover of God.” Either way, if you fit that description, know that the Gospel of Luke was written for you, so that you could know for certain the things you were taught.
Extra Credit: Now that you know why the Gospel of Luke was written, you can also re-read why the Gospel of John was written.