In our most recent afternoon sermon, we took up the opening four verses of Luke's gospel and the unique way that Luke introduces the writing he had laboured over as a means of producing 'certainty' in the hearts of his readers.
Darrell Bock, a NT professor, offers a helpful explanation of the purpose of this introduction:
“The background of Theophilus illumines our Gospel. Many people entering the church walk into a new world. The “church” society often has its own theological language, its initially strange customs, and its traditions of worship and interaction. At the start, the fit may seem awkward. To become a Christian in Bible times required a cultural shift, just as it does now. People today need to be reassured that the change in their life is for the best. They live in a world that often regards Christianity as a man-made religion, as a perversion of Judaism, as one of many ways to God, or as one cultural expression of religion. Luke argues that Christianity is unique, in that God worked in Christ for those who trust him. Luke reassures his Christian readers that they belong in relationship with God in this new community, the church. What God did in Jesus, he did for those who have come into this community, as well as for others like them who recognize they must come to God on his terms, not their own.” (Darrell Bock, NIV Commentary, 45)