Thursday, September 02, 2004

I'm spiritual either way...

Well...I'm not sure why but I have decided, at least for today, to read through the book of Luke very slowly. I'm planning on sharing my thoughts with you, but please don't try to start a silly debate with me. If we disagree, fine. If I help you, great. This is mainly for me. Enjoy.

Luke 1

1Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.

What is different and obvious from the beginning is that Luke is approaching his telling of the story as a second generation researcher. Meaning, though he may have known Jesus, his focus is on the accounts of those who knew him best. “Many have undertaken to draw up” suggest that (written?) biographies of Jesus were becoming more commonplace by this time. We know that more existed aside from the four canonized books, many still in existence today. One has to think that Luke, whatever his true identity, is writing for a specific reason, even if the reason is to tell the story “accurately” as he seems to imply here.

“The word” is notable here simply because Luke isn’t John. It is worth pondering at this early stage (perhaps 30-50 years into the church age?) how much of John’s understanding of Jesus as logos existed. Was Jesus truly “the word made flesh” to Luke, or is he using logos here as something more concrete, as in the gospel story?

Regardless, we must at first reading put John and the other synoptics aside to find Luke’s story as he wishes us to see it. (I reject any notion of synchronizing the gospels until each gospel is fully understood on its own.)

3Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

The author is claiming full responsibility for the upcoming material as lead researcher. He’s probably the most “modern” thinking of all the biographers.

We don’t know if Theophilus is a person or a term for the church: “Loved by God”, but we do know that whoever he/they are, they are already living within the gospel before receiving the written record of it. We should not feel bad for them in this regard. It is possible today to live within the gospel before reading the gospels.

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