Allow me to express my appreciation to every reader out there whether you comment or not. You drive me to continue to study and post my findings in an orderly and coherent manner. Along the same lines, to those who did comment we had some very good additional information and also some very good questions which I will now address.
How “many” do you think attempted to compile a record of Jesus’ life? Inasmuch as the language of Luke is very general with regards to how many, I think we can conclude that we can never know. Luke says many…so there were many.
Do you think Luke was inspired? Let’s address what inspiration is. Easton’s Bible Dictionary says it is “that extraordinary or supernatural influence vouchsafed to those who wrote the Holy Scriptures, rendering their writings infallible.” Was there a divine influence in the writing of Luke? Absolutely and I believe Paul affirms this with his statement in 2 Tim 3.16. How much of an influence did the Spirit have on Luke? That is the question. I believe it was enough to ensure Luke wrote what he was supposed to write (i.e. nothing false or erroneous) but it was not the inspiration the Apostles were promised that would guide them into all truth and teach them all things (John 14.26; 16.13). Hence, Luke went to the eye and earwitnesses which leads to the next question…
Who were the possible eyewitnesses in your opinion? I believe that Luke went to the apostles, as many as were alive and that he could interview. Probably his largest source of information was the apostle Paul. After all Paul was inspired as the other Twelve were inspired. Paul was guided into all truth by the Holy Spirit and was himself an eyewitness of the resurrected Christ (1 Cor 15.8). What I found interesting was that one commentator said that Luke may have interviewed Mary, hence the references to Mary treasuring in her heart the things she had seen at the birth of Jesus and pondering them in her heart (Luke 2.19). Also, Luke may have used Joanna (8.3) and Cleopas (24.18) as references as well.
When did Luke become a disciple? From what I have read, tradition holds that Luke was from the Antioch of Syria church. I don’t know about that. Others have said, and I agree, that Luke was a convert of Paul’s in Troas (Acts 16.8-10) and he latched onto Paul as a companion. Of course I would not disagree with someone who said Luke was already a disciple when Paul hit Troas and the two became fellow-travelers. That is also possible.
Little is known about this person. Some have suggested that since his name is “friend of God” that it is merely a symbolic name for all believers. However, Theophilus was a proper name and the title “most excellent” would point to a real historical figure with the name Theophilus or at least a person whose identity is kept private by Luke with a pseudonym. Whatever the case, we do not know what, if any, position Theophilus could have held or even if he were a Jew or Gentile. It is not even certain if he was a believer (he has received instruction, but whether he believes is another story). Luke may be trying to persuade a skeptic concerning the truth of the resurrected Savior (hence the eyewitness testimony of Cleopas and others). Even if he were not a dignitary of some type, he could still research the facts Luke is presenting to see if these things are true or a mere fabrication. After all, Theophilus did live in the first century and could easily go to the eyewitnesses himself to interview them as well.