because that those of us who have actually read Luke or Acts for the an initial time, or maybe the fifth time, us may have actually noticed a certain person, Theophilus, gets pointed out at the beginning, yet never appears to show up in one of two people book. In fact, he no seem to materialize in any book the the Bible.

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So why does Luke mention the male Theophilus in Luke 1:3 and Acts 1:1? do we see similar books being addressed to people who never present up in the narrative, or walk Theophilus stay the one exception? and why don’t us know much more about him? for sure he had at the very least a minor prestige in Luke’s life if Luke made decision to encompass him in two publications of the Bible.

In this article, fine dive right into the personhood of Theophilus, whether he provides an figure in the Bible, why Luke addresses him, and also more.

Who to be Theophilus?

It’s an overwhelming to glean a lot about a male from 2 verses alone, no of which display much biographical information. As mentioned in this got Questions article, scholars have actually proposed number of theories as to the personhood the Theophilus.

We execute know, indigenous the title provided to Theophilus, the he had actually a details amount that power, such as those hosted bymagistrates or governors. If this is the case, climate we can assume the Gospel reached those in high positions throughout the persecution the the beforehand Church, although as pointed out in the commentary linked, not numerous higher-ups thought in the Gospel.

Don’t let the flattering language stupid you, Theophilus isn’t a patron the Luke, however rather a friend, or as Matthew Henry suggests, a pupil.


Theophilus’ surname means“friend that God” or “loved through God.” Overall, us cannot definitely declare the identification of Theophilus. We only clearly see the in two verses, and those passages perform not give numerous details about him, various other than the fact he had actually a high location or some sort of lofty position.

We can assume, from Luke addressing the Gospel and Book that Acts to him, the he believed the Gospel in part part, and that he and Luke to be close in part way. Lock may have actually been girlfriend or had actually a teacher-pupil relationship.


Does Theophilus appear in the scriptures Personally?

The answer to this concern depends completely to which theory you ascribe to. Yet if we’re talk explicitly, Theophilus does not appear personally in the Bible.

Does this typical that he no play a an important role in the early church? does this median he didn’t believe in the Gospel? not necessarily. Paul mentions many of world at the end of his Epistles that don’t make a physics appearance in narratives such together Acts. In fact, the entire publication of Philemon is handle to a guy who walk not show up in person in any type of narrative in the Bible.

The fact he reflects up in the Bible, by his yes, really name, conveys a an excellent meaning. After ~ all, the rich man who walked far sad indigenous Jesus’ teachings never obtained named (Matthew 19).

Any time someone in the new Testament listed names, they intended for the reader to go to that human being for proof, because they to be eyewitnesses to something. Luke, together a historian, walk so through meticulous detail, particularly in the book of Acts. We need to assume the didn’t litter in Theophilus’ name precariously.

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Why space Luke and also Acts handle to Theophilus?

We have the right to ask this question about many books of the brand-new Testament the seem to be committed or addressed to one human or another. After all, if the bible is god’s word, why do certain writers address particular books to particular people?

To prize this question, let’s look in ~ some examples from Paul, and also who that addresses at the end of the books he writes.

In Romans 16, that greets Phoebe, Priscilla, Aquila, Andronicus, Junia, and also various others. The verses do it clear the Paul worked firsthand through many, if not all, the these world during his ministry. He mentions just how some of them endured prison v him; rather risked their lives for Paul.

If we analysis the other publications of Paul, we notification how he issues comparable greetings come those who played a role in his ministry. Some of these room pupils to who he pass the mantle. Others worked side through side through him.


In the situation of Theophilus, we need to assume a comparable pattern. Theophilus play some vital role in Luke’s ministry.

Many like to say the he offered as a patron, offering the funds for Luke’s ministry. Others have claimed Theophilus learned under Luke together a pupil. No issue what the case, similar to those whom Paul mentions, Luke renders sure to resolve Theophilus – who contributed in some part to Luke’s ministry.

Why Is Theophilus" Life significant for the Gospel?

After all, if us only have actually two verses top top him, go this typical he walk nothing to more the Gospel? once again, we should look come those who Paul mentions. For instance, Junia does no get another mention in the Bible. This go not typical Junia’s ministry went in vain.

We recognize Theophilus played some function in Luke’s ministry. Whether he obtained teachings or he aided in Luke’s financial efforts while collecting eyewitness testimony, Luke believed he deserved a cite in the Bible.

We can likewise know, indigenous Theophilus’ title, that he hosted a place of power. This supposed the Gospel permeated all social strata. Plenty of have said Theophilus was a Roman. If a well-off Roman in a high position accepts the Gospel message, this proves the living and active nature of God.

This likely offered those in the early on church hope as well. If ahead Christ killers favor Paul and Roman higher-ups prefer Theophilus can loss in love with the Gospel message, climate God can move any mountain.

What can We learn from Theophilus because that Today?

Theophilus’ life serves as a testimony to united state in a variety of ways.

First, we discover that God have the right to transform the mind of any person, no matter what your life circumstance or social strata. Theophilus actually comes into the narrative at a disadvantage: a rich Roman. Romans were currently hostile come the Gospel, as it ran respond to to your religion. But as we discover in Matthew 19, those who have actually wealth or greater positions have actually a harder time agree the Gospel since it means giving increase earthly riches or power, in plenty of cases. Theophilus defies every odds.

Second, we recognize that even minor characters can pat a larger function in oh my gosh story. Us don’t know just how Theophilus influenced Luke’s ministry, however he did enough to knife a shout the end in two books.

This method that us shouldn’t execute what we carry out for spotlight or recognition. Instead, we must trust God’s setup for ours lives and whom he may ar on our course as us share the Gospel.


Finally, we deserve to learn native Theophilus’ surname – “loved through God.” each of united state is a Theophilus in a sense. God loves each of us and also has granted us the chance to become a friend of God.

Theophilus may only do an illustration for two verses, yet this no necessarily discount his role in the Gospel. The brand-new Testament has actually plenty that once-mentioned human being who play an instrumental duty in the early on church. We understand Theophilus had actually some wealth and power, and also that he had a close link with Luke.

No issue how huge or little a duty he played, he obtained two mentions in the biggest story of all time.

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Hope Bolinger is an editor at Salem, a multi-published novelist, and a graduate the Taylor University"s expert writing program. Much more than 1,100 of her works have been featured in assorted publications varying from Writer"s Digestto Keys because that Kids. She has worked for miscellaneous publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and also literary agencies and has edited the occupational of authors such together Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her modern-day Daniel trilogy is outwith IlluminateYA. She is also the co-author the the Dear Hero duology, i m sorry was published by extreme Publications. And also her inspirational adult romantic Picture Imperfect release in November of 2021. Uncover out an ext about she at her website.