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Luke 1:3

    Luke 1:3 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you in order, most excellent Theophilus,

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    it seemed good to me also, having traced the course of all things accurately from the first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus;

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    It seemed good to me, having made observation, with great care, of the direction of events in their order, to put the facts in writing for you, most noble Theophilus;

    Webster's Revision

    it seemed good to me also, having traced the course of all things accurately from the first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus;

    World English Bible

    it seemed good to me also, having traced the course of all things accurately from the first, to write to you in order, most excellent Theophilus;

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    it seemed good to me also, having traced the course of all things accurately from the first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus;

    Clarke's Commentary on Luke 1:3

    Having had perfect understanding - Παρηκολουθηκοτι ανωθεν, Having accurately traced up - entered into the very spirit of the work, and examined every thing to the bottom; in consequence of which investigation, I am completely convinced of the truth of the whole. Though God gives his Holy Spirit to all them who ask him, yet this gift was never designed to set aside the use of those faculties with which he has already endued the soul, and which are as truly his gifts as the Holy Spirit itself is. The nature of inspiration, in the case of St. Luke, we at once discover: he set himself, by impartial inquiry and diligent investigation, to find the whole truth, and to relate nothing but the truth; and the Spirit of God presided over and directed his inquiries, so that he discovered the whole truth, and was preserved from every particle of error.

    From the very first - Ανωθεν, from their origin. Some think ανωθεν should, in this place, be translated from above; and that it refers to the inspiration by which St. Luke wrote. I prefer our translation, or, from the origin, which several good critics contend for, and which meaning it has in some of the best Greek writers. See Kypke.

    Theophilus - As the literal import of this word is friend of God, Θεου φιλος, some have supposed that under this name Luke comprised all the followers of Christ, to whom, as friends of God, he dedicated this faithful history of the life, doctrine, death, and resurrection of our Lord. But this interpretation appears to have little solidity in it; for, if all the followers of Christ are addressed, why is the singular number used? and what good end could there be accomplished by using a feigned name? Besides, κρατιϚε, most excellent, could never be applied in this way, for it evidently designates a particular person, and one probably distinguished by his situation in life; though this does not necessarily follow from the title, which was often given in the way of friendship. Theophilus appears to have been some very reputable Greek or Roman, who was one of St. Luke's disciples. The first four verses seem a private epistle, sent by the evangelist with this history, which, having been carefully preserved by Theophilus, was afterwards found and published with this Gospel.

    Barnes' Notes on Luke 1:3

    It seemed good - I thought it best; or, I have also determined. It seemed "to be called for" that there should be a full, authentic, and accurate account of these matters.

    Having had perfect understanding ... - The literal translation of the original here would be, "having exactly traced everything from the first;" or, "having, by diligent and careful investigation, "followed up" everything to the "source," to obtain an accurate account of the matter." This much better expresses the idea. Luke did not profess to have seen these things, and this expression is designed to show how he acquired his information. It was by "tracing up" every account until he became satisfied of its truth. Here observe,

    1. That in religion God does not set aside our natural faculties. He calls us to look at evidence; to examine accounts; to make up our own minds. Nor will any man be convinced of the truth of religion who does "not" make investigation and set himself seriously to the task.

    2. We see the nature of Luke's inspiration. It was consistent with his using his natural faculties or his own powers of mind in investigating the truth. God, by His Holy Spirit, presided over his faculties, directed them, and kept him from error.

    In order - This word does not indicate that the exact order of time would be observed, for that is not the way in which he writes; but it means distinctly, particularly, in opposition to the confused and broken accounts to which he had referred before.

    Most excellent Theophilus - The word Theophilus means "a friend of God," or a pious man; and it has been supposed by some that Luke did not refer to any particular "individual," but to any man that loved God; but there is no reason for this opinion. Significant names were very common, and there is no good reason to doubt that this was some individual known to Luke. The application of the title "most excellent "proves it further. It would not be given to an unknown man. The title "most excellent" has by some been supposed to be given to express his "character," but it is rather to be considered as denoting rank or office. It occurs only in three other places in the New Testament, and is there given to men "in office" - to Felix and Festus, Acts 23:26; Acts 24:3; Acts 26:25. These titles express no quality of the "men," but belong to the "office;" and we may hence learn that it is not improper for Christians, in giving honor to whom honor is due, to address men in office by their customary titles, even if their moral character be altogether unworthy of it. Who "Theophilus" was is unknown. It is probable that he was some distinguished Roman or Greek who had been converted, who was a friend of Luke, and who had requested an account of these things. It is possible that this preface might have been sent to him as a private letter with the gospel, and Theophilus chose to have them published together.

    Wesley's Notes on Luke 1:3

    1:3 To write in order - St. Luke describes in order of time; first, The Acts of Christ; his conception, birth, childhood, baptism, miracles, preaching, passion, resurrection, ascension: then, The Acts of the Apostles. But in many smaller circumstances he does not observe the order of time. Most excellent Theophilus - This was the appellation usually given to Roman governors. Theophilus (as the ancients inform us) was a person of eminent quality at Alexandria. In Acts 1:1, St. Luke does not give him that title. He was then probably a private man. After the preface St. Luke gives us the history of Christ, from his coming into the world to his ascension into heaven.
    Book: Luke