Listen:  

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Two books of the Bible were addressed to Theophilus.  Let’s read Luke 1:1-4, “Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; 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, That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.”  Now let’s read Acts 1:1-2, “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen.”  Here the ‘former treatise’ or ‘writing’ would be in reference to the book of Luke, so we understand from this that Luke, the beloved physician, wrote both the book that bears his name, and the book of Acts.

So, who is this mysterious Theophilus?  We know almost nothing about this man.  The two references we just read are the only mentions of him in the Bible.  As we often find in the Bible, the meaning of a person’s name can give us much information about the person.  The name, Theophilus, is made of two Greek words: ‘Theo’, which means God, and ‘philus’, which is a derivative of the word, ‘phileo’, which is Greek for ‘love’.  So, the definition of the name Theophilus, is ‘friend of God’, or ‘lover of God.’  From this we can surmise that this man was a believer on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Why were the two books written by Luke addressed to Theophilus?  Let’s notice in Luke 1:3 that he is referred to as, “most excellent Theophilus.”  We find this term ‘most excellent’ used in reference to Felix, the governor of Judea in Acts 23:26 and in Acts 24:3.  We also find it used in reference to Festus, who followed Felix as governor in Acts 26:25.  So, this term may indicate that Theophilus was a man of great political importance in his day.

While historical accounts differ about whom this man may have been, we can simply accept that he was a believer on the Lord Jesus Christ who was of enough importance, and had a desire to know more about the Lord, that Luke addressed his books to him.  (116.6)