This is the sixth and final post in a series offering a number of imaginary letters from the ancient world, only recently “discovered”. The letters, we might imagine, reflect what the recipient of the “orderly account of the things that have come to fulfilment” (what we know as the Gospel of Luke), the man named Theophilus, might have written to the author of that work, as he received sections of the “orderly account” in sequence.
For earlier letters, see https://johntsquires.com/2022/02/17/i-make-prayers-on-your-behalf-letters-to-luke-1-year-c/ and https://johntsquires.com/2022/02/19/i-rejoice-in-the-gift-of-writing-letters-to-luke-2-year-c/ and https://johntsquires.com/2022/02/21/how-exciting-it-was-letters-to-luke-3-year-c/
Theophilus to Luke, greetings. I am returning soon.
I was astonished to receive your brief note to the effect that you had in fact been raised a Jew. I had no idea! This explains your own depth of understanding of things Jewish. And to think that you have laboured so hard and long to acquire a knowledge of the great writers and thinkers of our Greek civilisation—I am filled with awe.
I must now think harder about the various people who come to the regular gatherings of our group, where we hear the good news of Jesus proclaimed. I wonder just how diverse a group we actually are? The fact that I have come only of late to this gathering has meant that there is much that I do not know.
I look forward to being able to talk with you face to face about the things that we have touched on in our letters to one another.
I am happy to hear that you have continued writing so productively, and I will of course be keen to read your second volume once I have returned.
Greetings to all.
Questions for discussion: The use which Theophilus makes of Luke’s Gospel changes in the course of these six letters. What different stages can you identify in the way that he uses the Gospel?
These letters suggest one way that the story of Jesus became known to those outside of the Jewish culture and religion. Can you think of other ways that this may have happened?
Do you think that Luke was a Jew? What would support this idea? What might count against it?
These six “letters” formed one session of my presentations at a conference held at St Hilda’s College, University of Melbourne, in November 2000. The conference was entitled “Preaching and Teaching in the Year of Luke: a national conference on preaching, teaching and learning”. It was sponsored by the national Uniting Church agency, Uniting Education, in association with Otira, the Continuing Education agency of the Synod of Victoria. The keynote addresses were subsequently published as AT TABLE WITH LUKE (UTC Publications; UTC Bible Studies 2, 2000) ©John T. Squires 2000