Most Excellent Theophilus
“Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. -Luke 1:1-4
Two very significant books of the New Testament are addressed to a man we know very little about, other than the fact that Luke directs his two inspired books to him. Theophilus is obviously a man of high stature and rank, or even possibly a High Priest; we do not know. He had become a follower of Jesus, had been taught in “The Way, and now Luke wrote to make the teaching he had received “more certain. Of all the biblical authors, only Luke addresses his two books, Luke and Acts, to a human man. He does so with the purpose that the teaching Theophilus had received in the faith would be rendered more fixed in his mind and heart.
This is the very purpose of God’s written Word for your own life; fix its truths within you! Keep establishing them in yourself daily until you are more conformed to the image of the living Word. What pattern of reading and meditating do you have planned for 2019? All else is superfluous in both your planning and your performance in the New Year if you do not plan for and do this.
Is this really so? What difference does the reading of God’s Word make in any individual’s life? Is it really so transformative? Can the initial transformation become more and more obvious? If you are reading the Bible habitually and thoroughly and believing what you read, the assurance of your faith grows in confidence and power. You rest more in the certainty that God’s promises in Christ are directed to you personally.
Considering what has been poured into you by the Holy Spirit, sheer gratitude initiates humility. In fact, personal humility authenticates the genuineness of your gratitude to God. In humility and awe, you inwardly ask yourself, “Heavenly Father, why me?
In both the Old and New Testaments, the Bible repeatedly expresses that you are not reading any ordinary book. In an unenlightened manner, it may appear to be just any other book with quite ordinary words. I do not doubt that some think it so and discard it or leave it on a shelf.
But the Bible is self-attesting; it claims to be supernatural. All of the Bible, all sixty-six books, as determined to be acceptable parts of the canon of Scripture by the church down through the ages, is as Paul declares in 1 Timothy, “God breathed and inspired. I do not know how God accomplished it all, but He did! Using men from every level of education, age, calling, and circumstance, over centuries, the Holy Spirit of God spoke through them and guided them to commit His Words to writing; He protected such from error so that even the painstaking copying of the original was guarded from inaccuracy, not going astray from the very Word the Holy Spirit desired to impart to faithful teachers and personal readers.
This Word of God variously and uniquely describes itself as real “bread to eat, as honey from the honey comb, as fire, as a hammer that can shatter rock. It is life-giving water. It molds, it divides, it puts together; it is a surgeon’s scalpel that can penetrate into the most intricate parts of the physical body integral with the spiritual. It can divide soul and body, spirit and flesh – something which modern technology and knowledge has been unable to truly discern. The Word of God stands all alone in the ranks of human literature. There is nothing which even comes close to comparing with it.
Only its believing reader knows it to be what it claims to be, though the Bible tells us demons read it and tremble. Just like First Century Theophilus, believers in every age know it will accomplish what it was sent to do: fix our eyes on the Savior and conform us to the image of God’s Son. The whole counsel of God by Jesus’ own testimony is spread over all sixty-six books. Do not read Revelation and forget Genesis. Do not memorize John 3:16 and not commit to memory Genesis 3:15. Meditate on the Psalms as much as you pray over the words of Philippians. Ensure Scripture interprets Scripture; the God of the Old Testament is the God of the New. “He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Be a Theophilus Christian! Let the Word saturate your heart and mind and fill you with good things so that your spiritual vigor is renewed like the eagle. May you wait on the Lord by reading His Word, for “they who wait for the Lord will renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. A seventy-three-year-old knows the meaning of these words better than an eighteen-year-old, but both will be profited by the words of this Book. They can live abundantly by following in the footsteps of Theophilus. Make 2019 a Theophilus year!
“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. More to be desired are they than gold, yea than much fine gold. Sweeter also than honey and the honey comb.
(Psalm 19:7-11, first verse, anonymous)
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