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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 1:1

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us,

Adam Clarke Commentary

Many have taken in hand - Great and remarkable characters have always many biographers. So it appears it was with our Lord: but as most of these accounts were inaccurate, recording as facts things which had not happened; and through ignorance or design mistaking others, especially in the place where St. Luke wrote; it seemed good to the Holy Spirit to inspire this holy man with the most correct knowledge of the whole history of our Lord's birth, preaching, miracles, sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension, that the sincere, upright followers of God might have a sure foundation, on which they might safely build their faith. See the note on Luke 9:10.

Most surely believed among us - Facts confirmed by the fullest evidence - των πεπληροφορημενων πραγματων . Every thing that had been done or said by Jesus Christ was so public, so plain, and so accredited by thousands of witnesses, who could have had no interest in supporting an imposture, as to carry the fullest conviction, to the hearts of those who heard and saw him, of the divinity of his doctrine, and the truth of his miracles.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Forasmuch as many - It has been doubted who are referred to here by the word “many.” It seems clear that it could not be the other evangelists, for the gospel by “John” was not yet written, and the word “many” denotes clearly more than “two.” Besides, it is said that they undertook to record what the “eye-witnesses” had delivered to them, so that the writers did not pretend to be eye-witnesses themselves. It is clear, therefore, that other writings are meant than the gospels which we now have, but what they were is a matter of conjecture. What are now known as spurious gospels were written long after Luke wrote his. It is probable that Luke refers to “fragments” of history, or to narratives of “detached” sayings, acts, or parables of our Lord, which had been made and circulated among the disciples and others. His doctrines were original, bold, pure, and authoritative. His miracles had been extraordinary, clear, and awful. His life and death had been peculiar; and it is not improbable - indeed it is highly probable that such broken accounts and narratives of detached facts would be preserved. That this is what Luke means appears farther from Luke 1:3, where “he” professes to give a regular, full, and systematic account from the very beginning - “having had perfect understanding of “all things from the very first.” The records of the others - the “many” - were broken and incomplete. His were to be regular and full.

Taken in hand - Undertaken, attempted.

To set forth in order - To compose a narrative. It does not refer to the “order” or “arrangement,” but means simply to give a narrative. The word rendered here “in order” is different from that in the third verse, which “has” reference “to order,” or to a full and fair “arrangement” of the principal facts, etc., in the history of our Lord.

A declaration - A narrative - an account of.

Which are most surely believed among us - Among Christians - among all the Christians then living. Here we may remark:

1.That Christians of that day had the best of all opportunities for knowing whether those things were true. Many had seen them, and all others had had the account from those who had witnessed them.

2.That infidels now cannot “possibly” be as good judges in the matter as those who lived at the time, and who were thus competent to determine whether these things were true or false.

3.That all Christians do “most surely believe” the truth of the gospel. It is their life, their hope, their all. Nor can they doubt that their Saviour lived, bled, died, rose, and still lives; that he was their atoning sacrifice, and that he is God over all, blessed forever.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-1.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

Nineteen hundred years have not dimmed the luster of this glorious chapter nor cast any shadow over the hard historical facts related therein, facts which have been etched into the conscience of all mankind and which are indelibly written into the pages of the world's authentic records. The account here was written by a brilliant physician, scientist and literary genius, following years of patient and thorough research, and who had the incomparable opportunity of examining all of the sources, written and oral, that had any bearing on the events narrated. Luke's vivid, scientific account is as far above the subjective guesses of modern scholars as the sun in heaven is above the mud-flats of earth. If men would know what really happened at that pivotal point in history which would split all time into the two segments called B.C. and A.D., then let them read it here. This is what happened!

This chapter contains the author's preface (Luke 1:1-4), the record of the annunciation to Zacharias (Luke 1:5-23), the conception of Elizabeth (Luke 1:24-25), the annunciation to Mary (Luke 1:26-38), and Mary's visit to Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-56), the birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:57-66), the prophecy of Zacharias (Luke 1:67-79), and a one-sentence summary of John the Baptist's early life (Luke 1:80).

THE PREFACE

Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to draw up a narrative concerning those matters which have been fulfilled among us, even as they delivered them unto us, who from the beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, having traced the course of all things accurately from the first to write thee in order, most excellent Theophilus; that thou mightest know the certainty concerning the things wherein thou wast instructed. (Luke 1:1-4)

This preface is not a statement of what Luke proposed to do, but a record of what he had already done. "The tense of the verbs shows that he wrote these verses after he had completed the body of the Gospel."[1]

Here also is a glimpse of the true meaning of the doctrine of the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. "All scripture is inspired by God" (2 Timothy 3:16 RSV), and "Men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21); but this does not mean that God's inspiration comes to the lazy and inactive mind, but rather to the diligent seeker of truth, as beautifully exemplified by the research of Luke. As Barclay expressed it, "The word of God is given, but it is given to the man who is seeking for it."[2] God guided his inspired authors by guiding their purpose, their research, and by protecting them from error, yet leaving the writer free to express the truth discovered in the terms and vocabulary that he already knew.

Many have taken in hand to draw up a narrative ... This indicates that Luke's written sources were numerous. "Many" is incapable of meaning only five or six. Even as many as eight are called "few" in Scripture (1 Peter 3:20); and we are therefore presented with the declaration which reveals a much larger number, perhaps as many as a score, or even more. Thus, the very first line of this Gospel disproves the notion that Luke got most of his Gospel from Mark. As a matter of fact, the solid evidence is all against the assumption that Luke ever saw either Matthew's or Mark's Gospels. As the scholarly Macknight stated, "Without all doubt, had he been speaking of them, he would not have passed them over in such a slight and casual manner."[3]

Matters which have been fulfilled among us ... By these words, Luke affirmed that his record dealt with nothing that was new or novel in the faith of the very extensive Christian community already established throughout the Mediterranean world. The word for "fulfilled" in this clause means "fully established" (English Revised Version (1885) margin); and this means that the total content of Luke's Gospel was already the faith of the whole church at the time he wrote in 60 A.D.

Who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word ... Luke's mention of eye-witnesses of the things he recorded "from the beginning" and "from the first" (Luke 1:3), along with the conspicuous birth narrative in the first two chapters is very nearly the equivalent of saying that he had interviewed the Virgin Mary herself, a conclusion that will appear mandatory in the narrative itself. This is devastating to the wild, subjective theories with regard to Luke's source for the first two chapters. This is also the end of all attempts to late-date the Gospel; for, even at the time Luke wrote, the Virgin Mother was not less than eighty years of age, even allowing for the annunciation to have occurred when she was fifteen years old.

Ministers of the word ... The Greek word Luke used here for "ministers" is [@huperetai], a word used in medical terminology "to refer to doctors who served under a principal physician."[4] Thus, Doctor Luke referred to a group, including the apostles themselves, who served as lesser DOCTORS under the Great Physician. There are numerous uses of such a medical vocabulary throughout Luke.

It seemed good to me also ... This removes any doubt that Luke disapproved of previous writings on the Christian faith, for he here plainly placed himself on the same platform with previous authors.

Having traced the source of all things accurately from the first ... The words "from the first" are a translation of the Greek term [@anothen], the same word which is rendered "from above" in John 3:3. G. Campbell Morgan insisted on the latter meaning here, which would make this an affirmation by Luke of the fact of his inspiration. Hobbs said that there is no reason why both meanings should not apply here.[5]

To write unto thee in order ... There is no way to know exactly what Luke intended by this, other than the inherent truth that his record is systematic. It does not seem to be strictly chronological in every instance; but it is not affirmed here that it is.

Most excellent Theophilus ... The use of "excellent" denominates Theophilus as a man of equestrian rank, that is a knight, the term being used of such officials as the governor of the province (Acts 23:26). The name Theophilus means "one who loves God," but there is no reason to suppose that Luke used this name otherwise than as the personal cognomen of his friend, who might also have been his patron. The omission of the title "excellent" in Acts 1:1 supports the speculation that Theophilus was governor of an unnamed province when Luke was written, but that he was no longer governor when Acts was penned.

That thou mightest know the certainty concerning the things wherein thou wast instructed ... The Greek word here rendered "things" is actually "words" (English Revised Version (1885) margin); and the last clause means "which thou wast taught by word of mouth," unmistakable references to the oral instruction received by Christians in those times, prior to and after their acceptance of the faith. This makes the implications of this passage to be of epic proportions. Despite the fact of there having been "many" written portions of the gospel message, even so important a person as Theophilus had received only word-of-mouth teaching, indicating the universality of the word-of-mouth method of instruction. This fully accounts for the word-by-word correspondence to be found in certain episodes recorded in the synoptic Gospels, all of them written independently. Luke's Gospel was written for the precise purpose of confirming the accuracy of the oral instruction Theophilus had already received. The glimpse afforded here, as Dummelow said, "is all that is really known, as distinguished from what is guessed about the sources of the synoptic Gospels."[6]

One other implication of vast significance appears in this preface. Whereas the oral instruction received by Theophilus was admitted by Luke to have been absolutely correct, and whereas the "many" writers had written of the things Luke recorded, this Gospel was composed for the purpose of greater "certainty" (Luke 1:4) than could have been held in respect of oral teachings, and with a design of giving an account of "all things" (Luke 1:3) that were pertinent to the holy faith, as contrasted with implied inadequacy of the "many" written accounts, this latter implication of inadequacy, or incompleteness, being the sole fault of the "many" writers before him. There is not the slightest hint that Luke was writing to correct false teachings of the writers cited.

[1] Herschel H. Hobbs, An Exposition of the Gospel of Luke (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1966), p. 17.

[2] William Barclay, The Gospel of Luke (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1956), p. 2.

[3] James MacKnight, Harmony of the Gospels in Two Volumes (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1950), Vol. I, p. 34.

[4] Herschel H. Hobbs, op. cit., p. 19.

[5] Ibid., p. 21.

[6] J. R. Dummelow, Commentary on the Holy Bible (New York: Macmillan Company, 1937), p. 736.


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/luke-1.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Forasmuch as many have taken in hand,.... From hence, to the end of Luke 1:4 is a preface of the evangelist to his Gospel, setting forth the reasons of his writing it; and which he wrote and sent to the excellent Theophilus, for the further confirmation of him in the faith of Christ. It seems that many had took in hand, or attempteo set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us; that is, they undertook to write and publish a very particular and exact narrative of the birth, life, actions, doctrines, miracles, sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ; things which Luke, and other Christians, had the fullest and strongest evidence, and were confidently assured of, and most firmly believed, even with a full assurance of faith. By these many, he cannot mean the authentic historians of evangelical facts, as Matthew and Mark; for they two cannot, with any propriety, be called many; and besides, it is not so very clear and certain a point, that they had, as yet, wrote their Gospels; nor would this evangelist suggest any deficiency, weakness, and inaccuracy in them, as he seems to do: nor does he intend such spurious writers as the authors of the Gospels according to the Nazarenes, Hebrews, and Egyptians; of Nicodemus, Thomas, Matthias, and of the twelve apostles; and still less, the Gospels of Cerinthus, Basilides, and other heretics; since these would not have passed without a censure from him, for the falsehood, fabulous, and trifling stuff in them, as well as for the wicked and heretical opinions propagated by them; and besides, these pieces were not extant when this Gospel was written: but he seems to design some honest and well meaning Christians, who undertook to write, and did write an account of the above things, which were firmly believed by all; and which they took from the apostles, and first ministers of the Gospel, from their sermons and discourses, and from conversation with them; and which they committed to writing, partly to help their own memories, and partly for the benefit of others; in which, no doubt, they acted an upright part, though attended with weakness: wherefore, the evangelist does not censure them as false, wicked, and heretical, nor approve of them as divine and perfect for though they honestly meant, and designed well, yet there might be many things collected by them, which were impertinent, and not proper to be transmitted to posterity; and what might be wrote with great inaccuracy and deficiency, and in a style the Holy Ghost thought improper things of this kind should be delivered in: and therefore the evangelist, moved and inspired by the Spirit of God, set about the following work, and under the same influence completed it. The phrase, αναταξασθαι διηγησιν, "to set forth in order a declaration", is as Dr. Lightfoot observes, out of the TalmudF8T. Bab. Succa, fol. 53. 1. , agreeably to the Jewish way of speaking,

"R. Chasdai said to one of the Rabbins, who was מסדר אגדתא, "setting in order a declaration" before him. &c. or relating in order a story before him.


Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Forasmuch as 1 many have a taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,

(1) Luke commends the witnesses that saw this present account.

(a) Many took it in hand, but did not perform: Luke wrote his gospel before Matthew and Mark.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/luke-1.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Luke 1:1-4.

It appears from the Acts of the Apostles, and the Apostolic Epistles, that the earliest preaching of the Gospel consisted of a brief summary of the facts of our Lord‘s earthly history, with a few words of pointed application to the parties addressed. Of these astonishing facts, notes would naturally be taken and digests put into circulation. It is to such that Luke here refers; and in terms of studied respect, as narratives of what was “believed surely,” or “on sure grounds” among Christians, and drawn up from the testimony of “eye-witnesses and ministering servants of the word.” But when he adds that “it seemed good to him also to write in order, having traced down all things with exactness from their first rise,” it is a virtual claim for his own Gospel to supersede these “many” narratives. Accordingly, while not one of them has survived the wreck of time, this and the other canonical Gospels live, and shall live, the only fitting vehicles of those life-bringing facts which have made all things new. Apocryphal or spurious gospels, upheld by parties unfriendly to the truths exhibited in the canonical Gospels, have not perished; but those well-meant and substantially correct narratives here referred to, used only while better were not to be had, were by tacit consent allowed to merge in the four peerless documents which from age to age, and with astonishing unanimity, have been accepted as the written charter of all Christianity.

set forth in order — more simply, to draw up a narrative.


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/luke-1.html. 1871-8.

John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

1. Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,

[Forasmuch as many have taken in hand, &c.] Whereas it was several years after the ascension of our Lord before the four books of the holy gospel were committed to writing; the apostles, the seventy disciples, and other ministers of the word, in the mean time everywhere dispersing the glad tidings: no wonder if any pious and greedy auditors had, for their own memory's sake and the good of others, noted in their own private table-books as much as they were capable of carrying from the sermons and discourses which they so frequently heard. Nor is it more strange if some of these should from their own collections compile and publish now and then some commentaries or short histories of the passages they had met with. Which, however they might perform out of very good intentions, and a faithful impartial pen, yet were these writings far from commencing an infallible canon, or eternal unalterable rule of the Christian faith.

It was not in the power of this kind of writers either to select what the Divine Wisdom would have selected for the holy canon, or to declare those things in that style wherein the Holy Spirit would have them declared, to whom he was neither the guide in the action nor the director of their pen.

Our evangelist, therefore, takes care to weigh such kind of writings in such a balance as that it may appear they are neither rejected by him as false or heretical, nor yet received as divine and canonical: not the first, because he tells us they had written even those very things which the heavenly preachers had delivered to them; not the latter, for to those writings he opposeth, that he himself was one that had perfect understanding of things from above. Of which we shall consider in its proper place.

[To set forth in order a declaration.] A kind of phrase not much unlike what was so familiar amongst the Jews, an orderly narration: saving, that that was more peculiarly applied by them to the commemoration of the Passover. And yet it is used in a larger sense too, who was he who set forth in order a declaration.

[Of those things which are most surely believed among us, &c.] Let us recollect what the unbelieving Jews think and say of the actions, miracles, and doctrine of Christ; and then we shall find it more agreeable to render this clause, of those things which are most surely believed among us, according to what Erasmus, Beza, our own English translators, and others, have rendered it, than with the vulgar, of the things which are fulfilled amongst us. They had said, "This deceiver seduceth the people, those wonders he did were by the power of magic; 'but we do most surely believe those things which he did and taught.'"


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/luke-1.html. 1675.

People's New Testament

Forasmuch as many. Luke 1:1-4 are an introduction. They explain that already many narratives of Christ had been written, that these were by eye witnesses and ministers of the word, that Luke had made a careful examination of all these sources of information, and thought it good, "having traced all things accurately from the first, to write them out in order." We thus learn that at least as early as twenty-seven years after the death of Christ (see Introduction to Luke) many histories of eye witnesses and ministers had already written, of which only two, Matthew and Mark, have come down to us.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". "People's New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/luke-1.html. 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Forasmuch as (επειδηπερepeidēper). Here alone in the N.T., though common in literary Attic. Appears in the papyri. A triple compound (επειepei = since, δηdē = admittedly true, περper = intensive particle to emphasize importance).

Many (πολλοιpolloi). How many no one knows, but certainly more than two or three. We know that Luke used the Logia of Jesus written by Matthew in Aramaic (Papias) and Mark‘s Gospel. Undoubtedly he had other written sources. Have taken in hand (επεχειρησανepecheirēsan). A literal translation of επιχειρεωepicheireō (from χειρcheir hand and επιepi upon). Both Hippocrates and Galen use this word in their introduction to their medical works. Here only in the N.T., though a common literary word. Common in the papyri for undertaking with no idea of failure or blame. Luke does not mean to cast reflection on those who preceded him. The apocryphal gospels were all much later and are not in his mind. Luke had secured fuller information and planned a book on a larger scale and did surpass them with the result that they all perished save Mark‘s Gospel and what Matthew and Luke possess of the Logia of Jesus. There was still room for Luke‘s book. That motive influences every author and thus progress is made.

To draw up, a narrative (αναταχασται διηγησινanataxasthai diēgēsin). Ingressive aorist middle infinitive. This verb αναταχασταιanataxasthai has been found only in Plutarch‘s Moral. 968 CD about an elephant “rehearsing” by moonlight certain tricks it had been taught (Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary). That was from memory going regularly through the thing again. But the idea in the word is plain enough. The word is composed of τασσωtassō a common verb for arranging things in proper order and αναana again. Luke means to say that those before him had made attempts to rehearse in orderly fashion various matters about Christ. “The expression points to a connected series of narratives in some order (ταχιςtaxis), topical or chronological rather than to isolated narratives” (Bruce). “They had produced something more than mere notes or anecdotes” (Plummer). ΔιηγησιςDiēgēsis means leading or carrying a thing through, not a mere incident. Galen applies this word some seventy-five times to the writing of Hippocrates.

Which have been fulfilled (των πεπληρωπορημενωνtōn peplērōphorēmenōn). Perfect passive participle from πληροπορεωplērophoreō and that from πληρηςplērēs (full) and περωpherō (to bring). Hence to bring or make full. The verb is rare outside of the lxx and the N.T. Papyri examples occur for finishing off a legal matter or a financial matter in full. Deissmann (Light from the Ancient East, pp. 86f.) gives examples from the papyri and inscriptions for completing a task or being convinced or satisfied in mind. The same ambiguity occurs here. When used of persons in the N.T. the meaning is to be convinced, or fully persuaded (Romans 4:21; Romans 14:5; Hebrews 6:11; Hebrews 10:22). When used of things it has the notion of completing or finishing (2 Timothy 4:5, 2 Timothy 4:17). Luke is here speaking of “matters” (πραγματωνpragmatōn). Luke may refer to the matters connected with Christ‘s life which have been brought to a close among us or accomplished. Bruce argues plausibly that he means fulness of knowledge “concerning the things which have become widely known among us Christians.” In Colossians 2:2 we have “fulness of understanding” (της πληροποριας της συνεσεωςtēs plērophorias tēs suneseōs). In modern Greek the verb means to inform. The careful language of Luke here really pays a tribute to those who had preceded him in their narratives concerning Christ.


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-1.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Forasmuch as ( ἐπειδὴπερ )

Only here in New Testament. A compound conjunction: ἐπεί , since, δή ,as is well known, and περ , giving the sense of certainty.

Have taken in hand ( ἐπεχείρησαν )

Used by Luke only. A literal translation. The word carries the sense of a difficult undertaking (see Acts 19:13), and implies that previous attempts have not been successful. It occurs frequently in medical language. Hippocrates begins one of his medical treatises very much as Luke begins his gospel. “As many as have taken in hand ( ἐπεχείρησαν ) to speak or to write concerning the healing art.”

To set forth in order ( ἀνατάξασθαι )

Only here in New Testament. The A. V. is true to the core of the word, which is τάσσω , to put in order, or arrange. Rev. happily gives the force of the preposition ἀνὰ , up, by the rendering draw up.

A declaration ( διήγησιν )

Only here in New Testament. From διά , through, and ἡγέομαι , to lead the way. Hence something which leads the reader through the mass of facts: a narrative, as A. V., with the accompanying idea of thoroughness. Note the singular number. Many took in hand to draw up, not narratives, but a narrative, embracing the whole of the evangelic matter. The word was particularly applied to a medical treatise. Galen applies it at least seventy-three times to the writings of Hippocrates.

Which are most surely believed ( τῶν πεπληροφορημένων )

From πλήρης ,full, and φορέω , the frequentative form of φέρω ,to bring, meaning to bring frequently or habitually. Hence, to bring full measure; tofulfil. Compare 2 Timothy 4:5, 2 Timothy 4:17. Also of full assurance. Applied to persons. Romans 4:21; Hebrews 10:22. As applied to things, therefore, the sense of the A. V. is inadmissible. Render as Rev., have been fulfilled. The word is chosen to indicate that these events happened in accordance with a preconceived design. Wyc., been filled in us.

Among us

Explained by the words in the next sentence, who were eye-witnesses and ministers.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/luke-1.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

The Fourfold Gospel

Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to draw up a narrative concerning those matters1 which have been fulfilled among us2,
    LUKE'S PREFACE AND DEDICATION. Luke 1:1-4

  1. Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to draw up a narrative concerning those matters. Of whom we know nothing and have no tradition.

  2. Which have been fulfilled among us. Completed, or accomplished according to the divine will.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". "The Fourfold Gospel". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-1.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Many. It is uncertain what writers are here referred to.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/luke-1.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Luke is the only Evangelist who makes a preface to his Gospel, for the purpose of explaining briefly the motive which induced him to write. By addressing a single individual he may appear to have acted foolishly, instead of sounding the trumpet aloud, as was his duty, and inviting all men to believe. It appears, therefore, to be unsuitable that the doctrine which does not peculiarly belong to one person or to another, but is common to all, should be privately sent to his friend Theophilus. Hence some have been led to think that Theophilus is an appellative noun, and is applied to all godly persons on account of their love of God; but the epithet which is joined to it is inconsistent with that opinion. Nor is there any reason for dreading the absurdity which drove them to adopt such an expedient. For it is not less true that Paul’s doctrine belongs to all, though some of his Epistles were addressed to certain cities, and others to certain men. Nay, we must acknowledge, if we take into account the state of those times, that Luke adopted a conscientious and prudent course. There were tyrants on every hand who, by terror and alarm, were prepared to obstruct the progress of sound doctrine. This gave occasion to Satan and his ministers for spreading abroad the clouds of error, by which the pure light would be obscured. Now, as the great body of men cared little about maintaining the purity of the Gospel, and few considered attentively the inventions of Satan or the amount of danger that lurked under such disguises, every one who excelled others by uncommon faith, or by extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, was the more strongly bound to do his utmost, by care and industry, for preserving the doctrine of godliness pure and uncontaminated from every corruption. Such persons were chosen by God to be the sacred keepers of the law, by whom the heavenly doctrine committed to them should be honestly handed down to posterity. With this view therefore, Luke dedicates his Gospel to Theophilus, that he might undertake the faithful preservation of it; and the same duty Paul enjoins and recommends to Timothy, (2 Timothy 1:14.)

1.Forasmuch as many. He assigns a reason for writing which, one would think, ought rather to have dissuaded him from writing. To compose a history, which had already employed many authors, was unnecessary labor, at least if they had faithfully discharged their duty. But no accusation of imposture, or carelessness, or any other fault, is in the slightest degree insinuated. It looks, therefore, as if he were expressing a resolution to do what had been already done. I reply, though he deals gently with those who had written before him, he does not altogether approve of their labors. He does not expressly say that they had written on matters with which they were imperfectly acquainted, but by laying claim to certainty as to the facts, he modestly denies their title to full and unshaken confidence. It may be objected that, if they made false statements, they ought rather to have been severely censured. I reply again, they may not have been deeply in fault; they may have erred more from want of consideration than from malice; and, consequently, there would be no necessity for greater fierceness of attack. And certainly there is reason to believe that these were little more than historical sketches which, though comparatively harmless at the time, would afterwards, if they had not been promptly counteracted, have done serious injury to the faith. But it is worthy of remark that, in applying this remedy through Luke to unnecessary writings, God had a wonderful design in view of obtaining, by universal consent, the rejection of others, and thus securing undivided credit to those which reflect brightly his adorable majesty. There is the less excuse for those silly people, by whom disgusting stories, under the name of Nicodemus, or some other person, are, at the present day, palmed upon the world.

Are most surely believed among us The participle πεπληροφορημένα, which Luke employs, denotes things fully ascertained, and which do not admit of doubt. The old translator has repeatedly fallen into mistakes about this word, and through that ignorance has given us a corrupted sense of some very beautiful passages. One of these occurs in the writings of Paul, where he enjoins every man to be fully persuaded in his own mind, (Romans 14:5,) that conscience may not hesitate and waver, tossed to and fro (Ephesians 4:14) by doubtful opinions. Hence, too, is derived the word πληροφορία , which he erroneously renders fullness, while it denotes that strong conviction springing from faith, in which godly minds safely rest. There is still, as I have said, an implied contrast; for, by claiming for himself the authority of a faithful witness, he destroys the credit of others who give contrary statements.

Among us (17) has the same meaning as with us. (18) He appears to make faith rest on a weak foundation, its relation to men, while it ought to rest on the Word of God only; and certainly the full assurance (πληροφορία) of faith is ascribed to the sealing of the Spirit, (1 Thessalonians 1:5; Hebrews 10:22.) I reply, if the Word of God does not hold the first rank, faith will not be satisfied with any human testimonies, but, where the inward confirmation of the Spirit has already taken place, it allows them some weight in the historical knowledge of facts. By historical knowledge I mean that knowledge which we obtain respecting events, either by our own observation or by the statement of others. For, with respect to the visible works of God, it is equally proper to listen to eye-witnesses as to rely on experience. Besides, those whom Luke follows were not private authors, but were also ministers of the Word By this commendation he exalts them above the rank of human authority; for he intimates that the persons from whom he received his information had been divinely authorized to preach the Gospel. Hence, too, that security which he shortly afterwards mentions, and which, if it does not rest upon God, may soon be disturbed. There is great weight in his denominating those from whom he received his Gospel ministers of the Word; for on that ground believers conclude that the witnesses are beyond all exception, as the Lawyers express it, and cannot lawfully be set aside.

Erasmus, who has borrowed from Virgil (19) a phrase used in his version, did not sufficiently consider the estimation and weight due to a Divine calling. Luke does not talk in a profane style, but enjoins us in the person of his friend Theophilus to keep in view the command of Christ, and to hear with reverence the Son of God speaking through his Apostles. It is a great matter that he affirms them to have been eye-witneses, but, by calling them ministers, he takes them out of the common order of men, that our faith may have its support in heaven and not in earth. In short, Luke’s meaning is this: “that, since thou now hast those things committed faithfully to writing which thou hadst formerly learned by oral statements, thou mayest place a stronger reliance on the received doctrine.” It is thus evident that God has employed every method to prevent our faith from being suspended on the doubtful and shifting opinions of men. There is the less room for excusing the ingratitude of the world, which, as if it openly preferred the uncertainty arising out of vague and unfounded reports, turns from so great a Divine favor with loathing. But let us attend to the remarkable distinction which our Lord has laid down, that foolish credulity may not insinuate itself under the name of faith. Meanwhile, let us allow the world to be allured, as it deserves, by the deceitful baits of foolish curiosity, and even to surrender itself willingly to the delusions of Satan.


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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/luke-1.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,

Ver. 1. Many have taken in hand] Or, have attempted, επεχειρησαν, but not effected. Hence some have concluded, that Luke wrote first of the four evangelists. Howbeit the common opinion is (and the most ancient copies say as much) that Matthew wrote his Gospel eight years after Christ, Mark ten, Luke fifteen, and John forty-two.


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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-1.html. 1865-1868.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

This gospel, together with the Acts of the Apostles, were written by St. Luke, the beloved physician and companion of St. Paul, who wrote, as did the rest of the evangelists, by the special direction and inspiration of the Holy Ghost; where we may profitable remark the wonderful wisdom of God, who, in order to the confirming of our faith in the truth of the gospel, raised up a sufficient number of witnesses to testify the verify and infallible certainty of all that the gospel delivers unto us. Now this evangelist, St. Luke, dedicates this gospel, together with the Acts of the Apostles, to Theophilus, who was, as some think, an honourable senator; or a renowned and eminent person in the church, as others suppose: but many take the word Theophilus, not for a proper name, but common name, signifying every one that loveth God; to whom St. Luke addresses his discourse.

The first four verses of this chapter are a preface to the following history, and acquaint us with the reasons which induced St. Luke to write, namely, because divers persons in that age had imprudently and inconsiderately set upon writing gospels, without direction from the spirit of God, whose errors and mistakes were to be corrected by a true narrative. This St. Luke declares he was able to make, having had perfect understanding and knowledge of the truth of those things he was about to relate; partly by his familiarity with St. Paul, and partly by his conversation with the other apostles, who, constantly attending our Saviour, were eye and ear witnesses of those things that are the subject matter of the ensuing history.

Hence learn, 1. That there were some apocryphal writings (or writings which were not of divine authority) relating to the New Testament, as well as to the Old; as the books of Asher, Gad, and Iddo, are recited in the Old Testament, but were never received into the canon of the scripture: so were there some gospels, or historical relations of our Saviour's life and actions, wrote by persons which the church never received, as not having the impress of God's ordination.

Note, 2. That the gospels which St. Luke and the other evangelists wrote, have nothing of fallibility or uncertainty in them; they wrote nothing but what they either heard, or saw themselves, or else received from those that were eye and ear witnesses of matter of fact. It seemed good to me to write, having had perfect knowledge of all things from the very first.


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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/luke-1.html. 1700-1703.

Golden Chain Commentary on the Gospels

Ver 1a. In the beginning was the Word,


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Aquinas, Thomas. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". "Golden Chain Commentary on the Gospel". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gcc/luke-1.html.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

1. ἐπειδήπερ] This compound, of rare occurrence, is in keeping with the rhetorical style of the preface. See Hartung, Partikellehre, i. p. 342. Valcknaer quotes from Ulpian a similar exordium: ἐπειδήπερ περὶ τούτου πολλοὶ ἐπεχείρησαν ἀπολογήσασθαι.

πολλοί] Much depends on the meaning of this word, as guiding, or modifying, our opinion on the relation and sources of our Gospel histories. (1) That the writers of our present Gospels exclusively cannot be meant, is evident; since, even supposing Luke to have seen all three Gospels, one (that of John) was wholly, and another (that of Matthew) was in greater part, the production of an eye-witness and minister of the word,—which would leave only one for the πολλοί. (2) Apocryphal Gospels exclusively cannot be meant: for they would not be ‘narrations concerning matters fully believed among us,’ nor ‘delivered by eye-witnesses and ministers of the word,’ a great part of their contents being excluded by this very author from his own διήγησις. (3) A combination of these two may be intended—e.g. of the latter sort, the Gospel according to the Hebrews,—of the former, that according to Mark, but then also how shall we make out the πολλοί? Our present apocryphal Gospels arose far later than any likely date which can be assigned to Luke’s Gospel: see Prolegomena to Luke, § iv. (4) I believe the only probable interpretation of the words to be, that many persons, in charge of Churches, or otherwise induced, drew up, here and there, statements (narratives, διηγ.) of the testimony of eye-witnesses and ὑπηρ. τ. λ. (see below), so far as they themselves had been able to collect them. (I do not believe that either the Gospel of Matt. or that of Mark are to be reckoned among these; or if they are, that Luke had seen or used them.) That such narratives should not have come down to us, is no matter of surprise: for (1) they would be absorbed by the more complete and sanctioned accounts of our present Evangelists; and (2) Church tradition has preserved very few fragments of authentic information of the apostolic age. It is probable that in almost every Church where an eye-witness preached, his testimony would be taken down, and framed into some διήγησις, more or less complete, of the life and sayings of the Lord.

ἐπεχείρησαν] have undertaken; or, as E. V., taken in hand. This does not necessarily imply the insufficiency of such διηγήσεις, as Orig(1), Ambr(2), Theophyl., &c. have imagined. Nor is any such failure implied (as Bp. Wordsw.) in Acts 19:13, where the aorist also is used. The failure then was not in the ὀνομάζειν, but in the issue. In Acts 9:29, the failure is conveyed by the imperfect tense, not necessarily by the verb itself. The fact of that failure is indeed implied in Luke’s description of his own work—but that, more because it possessed completeness (whereas they were fragmentary) than from any difference in kind.

ἀνατάξασθαι] to draw upto arrange.

διήγ.] a setting forth: and so if in relation to things past, a narration—history. The word is clearly explained in Plato, Rep. iii. p. 392: ἆρʼ οὐ πάντα ὅσα ὑπὸ μυθολόγων ἢ ποιητῶν λέγεται, διήγησις οὖσα τυγχάνει ἢ γεγονότων ἢ ὄντων ἢ μελλόντων; τί γάρ, ἔφη, ἄλλο; ἆρα οὖν οὐχὶ ἤτοι ἁπλῇ διηγήσει ἢ διὰ μιμήσεως γιγνομένῃ ἢ διʼ ἀμφοτέρων περαίνουσιν:

πεπληρ., according to some, ‘fulfilled.’ De Wette supports this by the meaning of πληρόω, Acts 19:21; Acts 12:25, which is beside the purpose. The more likely rendering is that of E. V., certainly believed. (Meyer would render it, ‘which have found their completion among us,’ i.e. ‘us of the apostolic times;’ meaning ‘Theophilus and himself,’ &c. This, I think, gives too emphatic a sense to ἐν ἡμῖν, which can only mean as ordinarily, ‘among us,’ unless accompanied with some qualifying expression. His objection to the ordinary explanation,—that the participle ought, according to it, to be subjective to the πράγματα, surely is of no force.) See reff. and note on 2 Timothy 4:5; 2 Timothy 4:17.

The use of the cognate noun πληροφορία supports this view: see 1 Thessalonians 1:5; Hebrews 6:11. There does not appear to be any reference to the filling of the sails of a ship, as Bp. Wordsw. The word with its cognates occurs only in a figurative sense, derived from “filling full” without any special reference.

ἡμῖν] among us Christians, i.e. you and me, and all members of the Church of Christ—so also the ἡμῖν in Luke 1:2.


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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/luke-1.html. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 1:1.(13) ἐπειδήπερ] Quoniam quidem, since indeed, not found elsewhere in the N. T., nor in the LXX., or the Apocrypha; frequent in classical writers, see Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 342 f. Observe that ἐπειδή denotes the fact, assumed as known, in such a way “ut quae inde evenerint et secuta sint, nunc adhuc durent,” Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 640.

πολλοί] Christian writers, whose works for the most part are not preserved.(14) The apocryphal Gospels still extant are of a later date; Mark, however, is in any case meant to be included. The Gospel of Matthew too, in its present form which was then already in existence, cannot have remained unknown to Luke; and in using the word πολλοί he must have thought of it with others (see Introd. § 2), although not as an apostolic writing, because the πολλοί are distinct from the eye-witnesses, Luke 1:2. The apostolic collection of Logia was no διήγησις περὶ τῶν κ. τ. λ., and its author, as an apostle, belonged not to the πολλοί, but to the ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς αὐτόπται. But the Gospel to the Hebrews, if and so far as it had then already assumed shape, belonged to the attempts of the πολλοί.

ἐπεχείρησαν] have undertaken, said under a sense of the loftiness and difficulty of the task, Acts 19:13. In the N. T. only used in Luke; frequently in the classical writers. Comp. also Ulpian, p. 159 (in Valckenaer): ἐπειδήπερ περὶ τούτου πολλοὶ ἐπεχείρησαν ἀπολογήσασθαι. Neither in the word in itself, nor by comparing it with what Luke, Luke 1:3, says of his own work, is there to be found, with Köstlin, Ebrard, Lekebusch, and older writers, any indication of insufficiency in those endeavours in general, which Origen,(15) Ambrosius, Theophylact, Calovius, and various others even referred to their contrast with the inspired Gospels. But for his special purpose he judged none of those preliminary works as sufficient.

διήγησιν] a narrative; see especially, Plato, Rep. iii. p. 392 D Arist. Rhet. iii. 16; 2 Maccabees 2:32. Observe the singular. Of the πολλοί each one attempted a narrative περὶ τῶν κ. τ. λ., thus comprising the evangelic whole. Loose leaves or detached essays (Ebrard) Luke does not mention.

ἀνατάξασθαι] to set up according to order, Plut. Moral. p. 968 C, εὐτρεπίσασθαι, Hesychius. Neither διήγησ. nor ἀνατάσσ. occurs elsewhere in the N. T.

περὶ τῶν πεπληροφορ. ἐν ἡμῖν πραγμ.] of the facts that have attained to full conviction among us (Christians). πληροφορεῖν, to bring to full conviction, may be associated also with an accusative of the thing, which is brought to full acknowledgment (2 Timothy 4:5); hence in a passive sense: πληροφορεῖταί τι, something attains to full belief (2 Timothy 4:17), it is brought to full conviction ( πληροφορία πίστεως, Hebrews 10:22) among others. So here (it is otherwise where πληροφορεῖσθαι is said of a person, as Romans 4:21; Romans 14:5; Colossians 4:12; Ignat. ad Magnes. viii. 10; Ecclesiastes 8:11; Phot. Bibl. p. 41, 29). Rightly so taken by the Fathers (Theophylact: οὐ γὰρ ἁπλῶς κατὰ ψιλὴν παράδοσιν εἰσὶ τὰ τοῦ χριστοῦ, ἀλλʼ ἐν ἀληθείᾳ καὶ πίστει βεβαίᾳ καὶ μετὰ πάσης πληροφορίας), Erasmus, Beza, Calvin, Grotius, Valckenaer, and many others, including Olshausen and Ewald. The explanation: “quae in nobis completae sunt” (Vulgate), which have fully happened, run their course among us (Luther, Hammond, Paulus, de Wette, Ebrard, Köstlin, Bleek, and others), is opposed to usage, as πληροφορεῖν is never, even in 2 Timothy 4:5, equivalent to πληροῦν, and therefore it cannot be conceived as applying, either, with Schneckenburger (comp. Lekebusch, p. 30), to the fulfilment of God’s counsel and promise through the life of the Messiah, which besides would be entirely imported; or, with Baur, to the idea of Christianity realized as regards its full contents, under which the Pauline Christianity was essentially included.


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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/luke-1.html. 1832.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

We have an Introduction by the Evangelist, in the opening of this Gospel. To which follows the Account of John the Baptist, as the Harbinger of Christ. An Angel appears to Zacharias, and to the Virgin Mary: the Hymn of Mary on the Occasion: the Birth of John the Baptist, and the Prophecy thereon of Zacharias.


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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/luke-1.html. 1828.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 1:1. ἐπειδήπερ, Forasmuch as) A brief dedication applying to both the works of Luke:(1) it may be also termed the Preface or Introduction, and from it there shine forth pre-eminently gravity, simplicity, and candour.— πολλοὶ ἐπεχείρησαν many have taken in hand) Luke does not hereby denote Matthew and John, who had been among the very eye-witnesses of the facts and ministers of the word; not to say that Luke both wrote before John, and does not seem to have seen the Gospel of Matthew. There remains the one evangelist Mark alone; but Luke speaks of many, and employs the word ἐπεχείρησαν, have taken in hand, in a middle sense [i.e. neither expressing disparagement nor praise]; and consonant with this is the particle καθὼς, even as, which implies a consonance with the relation [report] of the eye-witnesses and ministers either sought after or attained by the writers alluded to: also the expression κἀμοὶ, to me also, agrees with the same view; for by it Luke does not so much oppose himself to those many writers, but rather adds himself to their number, as one of the same class, in such a manner, however, as that he may contribute somewhat even still to the ἀσφάλεια and firm assurance of Theophilus. He therefore intimates, if only he has had reference [not merely to others, but] also to Mark [which indeed, if you compare together the forms of expression and the order of narratives in each, is not very unlikely.—Harm., p. 36], that several particulars, not mentioned in Mark, are read to his hand for recording; but that the other writers, as, for instance, he who wrote the Gospel according to the Egyptians, are less calculated to serve towards producing ἀσφάλεια and firm assurance.— ἀνατάξασθαι, to set forth in order) in writing or instructive [catechetico, referring to κατηχήθης, Luke 1:4] words. Hesychius says, ἀνατάξασθαι, εὐτρεπίσασθαι.— τῶν πεπληροφορημένων) πληροφορία, when it is attributed to a man, denotes the fulness of knowledge in the understanding, or of eager desire in the will: 2 Timothy 4:17; Hebrews 6:11, note. Such vigour characterized τὰ πράγματα, the Christian facts, which Luke describes in both his works, whilst they were occurring [were being accomplished]: and these alone had this characteristic; for which reason this periphrasis whereby he designates the same facts is quite sufficient. It was in the sight of the world that the Gospel facts occurred: Acts 26:26.— ἐν ἡμῖν, among us) in the Church, but especially among the teachers, and these veterans.


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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-1.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

LUKE CHAPTER 1

Luke 1:1-4 Luke's preface.

Luke 1:5-17 An angel appeareth to Zacharias, and promises him a

son in his old age.

Luke 1:18-23 Zacharias doubting is struck dumb for a sign.

Luke 1:24-25 His wife Elisabeth conceives.

Luke 1:26-38 The angel's visit to Mary.

Luke 1:39-45 Elisabeth, saluted by Mary, prophesieth.

Luke 1:46-56 Mary's song of thanksgiving.

Luke 1:57-63 The birth and circumcision of John the Baptist.

Luke 1:64-66 Zacharias's mouth is opened.

Luke 1:67-80 His prophecy.

Ver. 1-4. Luke's evangelical history hath this peculiar to itself, that whereas the histories of the other evangelists are written to the whole world, having no particular inscription, or dedication, Luke dedicates his to a particular person, named Theophilus; for though that name signifieth one that loveth God, yet I cannot think it is to be taken here appellatively, it being commonly used as a proper name; parents in former ages giving children names generally either expressive of their children's duty to God, (that by their names they might be put in mind of it), or expressive of God's mercy to themselves in giving them such children. The evangelist here suggests, that many had taken in hand orderly to write an account of the things which were certainly believed amongst the Jews. Some think that Luke here reflects upon some that, even so early, had given false accounts of our Saviour's history; for there were several pretended Gospels wrote, called, The Gospel of the Nazarenes, of Thomas, Matthias, Nicodemus, and many others, which the church soon saw cause to reject. But others think that Luke doth not at all reflect, and possibly those figments were not so early; but Luke, observing that many did write this famous history, and some, possibly, for want of due information, not so exactly as they might, yet as they were delivered to them from such as from the beginning were eye witnesses, and ministers of the word, but possibly might not be able so exactly to inform them, or the writers not so able duly to digest them (for most think Matthew, Mark, and John wrote after); or possibly because, there being then no printing, but all in manuscripts, because he thought his friend Theophilus (to whom he knew such a history would be grateful) might not have come to the sight of those manuscripts, he undertakes (not without the direction of the Holy Spirit, as appeared afterward) to compile a history of these things, to which he was either encouraged by the example of others, or incited by the mistakes of those who had done it ill, having the advantage perfectly to understand all things from the first. Most think that this advantage arose not from his personal knowledge, but his converse with the apostles and other ministers of Christ; for he saith no more, Luke 1:2, than,

even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eye witnesses, and ministers of the word; by which it seemeth to be hinted to us, that he was no eyewitness, nor minister of the word. To understand by the word in that verse Christ (whom John indeed so calleth, John 1:1) seemeth to me too hard, considering the word, in the evangelists, doth ordinarily signify the gospel, and no where Christ but in John 1:1,2, &c.

That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed; hat is, by the relation of others. Before I pass this preface, I shall make some observations upon it.

1. That even from the beginning there were some cheats, in reporting matters of fact concerning the church. Whether Luke intended to reflect on them, or not, if we may believe any thing of ecclesiastical history, there were some false Gospels; and before the time of the Gospel there were apocryphal writings relating to the history of the Old Testament. No writings but the Scriptures deserve our faith (otherwise than they agree with them) in things of which they give us an account.

2. In Luke's time the history of the Gospel was most surely believed, as being delivered from eyewitnesses.

3. Men ought to have perfect understanding of matters of fact before they write them. Whoso writes a history upon uncertainty, imposes upon all future ages.

4. A knowledge of certainties is what all good men ought to aim at in writing and reading. It is a mean soul that can feed upon an uncertainty, and they are as mean that spend their time in catering such food for reasonable souls. Men's understandings are given them for nobler uses than to gain the notion of a falsehood, and they are low born souls that can spend their precious hours in such cookery let the sauce with which they serve it up be never so artificial.


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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 1:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-1.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Many have taken in hand to set forth; others wrote accounts of the times besides the four evangelists whose histories have come down to us, but these were the only men designated by God for the instruction of the world in all ages in respect to our Lord’s life and teachings, and inspired by the Holy Ghost for the right accomplishment of this work.

Among us; among the Christians then living. There are certain truths taught in the holy Scriptures which are most surely believed by all true Christians, and which are made the means of sanctifying their souls.


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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". "Family Bible New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/luke-1.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

1. That it narrates as it were a new departure in God’s Revelation of Himself to man, after a cessation of miracle, prophecy and inspiration for 400 years.


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"Commentary on Luke 1:1". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/luke-1.html. 1896.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

§ 1.LUKE’S PREFACE, Luke 1:1-4.

1. Forasmuch—Luke here informs us that the many attempts made to reduce the oral and documentary gospel matter to form had induced him to furnish a complete, orderly, and reliable Gospel.

Many—The history of the doings and sayings of Jesus would necessarily constitute a main amount of the preaching of the apostles. Of this history so preached every Church, at any rate, if not many private Christians, would desire to possess some sketch or summary. These would be raw material for history, but not of sufficient authority to become a standard gospel for the Christian Church at large. Among these defective particulars of the many, the gospels of Matthew and Mark, even if written previous to the publication of Luke’s, are not to be included. Matthew’s gospel as yet was in the Hebrew language, and Mark’s was published in distant Italy, so that neither probably was yet in circulation in the locality where Luke was conversant.

Have taken in hand—Have undertaken. The phrase in itself expresses neither success nor failure; and so implies neither praise nor censure. The only terms, indeed, in which Luke implies censure are those in which he expresses the excellences he expected his own gospel to exhibit. These excellences will be found to consist in the earliness of the point at which his history begins the care with which he had investigated everything to the bottom, and the certainty of his confirmation.

To set forth in order—To arrange. It does not, therefore, seem that Luke reprehends any very great want of orderly arrangement in the documents of these

many. A declaration—A narrative or relation. Something less than a history, yet constituting a summary of the matter, however long or short.

Things… most surely believed among usThings held as absolute facts, on the surest evidence, by the full faith of the Church.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-1.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The first Greek word, epeideper (lit. because), occurs only here in the New Testament, though other major Greek writers such as Thucydides, Philo, and Josephus used it. [Note: Henry J. Cadbury, "Commentary on the Preface of Luke ," in The Beginnings of Christianity, ed. F. J. Foakes-Jackson and Kirsopp Lake (London: Macmillan and Co, 1920-33), 2:489-510.] Luke tells us that when he wrote his Gospel there were already several written accounts of Jesus" ministry, perhaps including the Gospels of Matthew (A.D40-70) and Mark (A.D63-70). I think it is most probable that Matthew wrote in the late40s, Mark in the late60s, and Luke in the late50s. There were probably other uninspired accounts of Jesus" life and ministry circulating when Luke wrote his Gospel. Luke"s statement here does not imply that the existing accounts were necessarily deficient. He simply wanted to write one that was orderly and based on reliable research ( Luke 1:3). The things accomplished or fulfilled refer to God"s purposes for Jesus" life and ministry.


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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/luke-1.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 1:1. Forasmuch as, a good translation of the full sounding Greek word (found only here in the N. T.).

Many. This cannot refer to the Apocryphal Gospels which were written later; nor to hostile or incorrect accounts, but, as the next verse shows, to such sketches of the great facts of salvation as had already been drawn up by Christians, in various places, from the testimony of eye-witnesses. Many such were doubtless in existence then, but being more or less fragmentary would not be preserved. Luke may have used some of these in compiling his narrative, but to what extent it is useless to inquire. Even in the first two chapters, where the influence of Hebrew documents is most probable, the peculiarities of Luke’s own style may be noticed. It is barely possible, but not at all probable, that the Gospels of Matthew and Mark are included here. See the “Introduction to the Gospels”, § 9 The Synoptic Gospels, in the Matthew Book Comments.

Have taken in hand. This indicates the difficulty and importance of the task, not necessarily the failure of these persons to fulfil it. Luke felt their labors to be insufficient not from incorrectness, but from the fragmentary character of their narratives.

To draw up a narrative, etc. Not mere sayings, but sketches which aimed at completeness and order.

Those matters. The great facts of the life of Christ formed the substance of preaching in the Apostolic times.

Are fully established. The word has reference to the entire acceptance of the facts as fully established, hence ‘surely believed’ is partially correct. Some prefer the meaning: ‘have Seen fulfilled among us.’ This would point to the facts of the Gospel history either as completed in the Apostolic age, or as fulfilling the purpose and promise of God. In any case the facts were both established and accepted, since in an age when writing was not so common as now, many undertook to arrange these facts in a written narrative.


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Bibliography
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/luke-1.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Luke 1:1. ἐπειδήπερ: three particles, ἐπεί, δή, περ, blended into one word, implying that the fact to be stated is well known ( δή), important ( περ), and important as a reason for the undertaking on hand ( ἐπεί) = seeing, as is well known. Hahn thinks the word before us is merely a temporal not a causal particle, and that Luke means only to say that he is not the first to take such a task on hand. But why mention this unless because it entered somehow into his motives for writing? It might do so in various ways: as revealing a widespread impulse to preserve in writing the evangelic memorabilia, stimulating him to do the same; as meeting an extensive demand for such writings on the part of Christians, which appealed to him also; as showing by the number of such writings that no one of them adequately met the demand, or performed the task in a final manner, and that therefore one more attempt was not superfluous. ἐπειδήπερ, a good Greek word, occurs here only in N. T.— πολλοὶ: not an exaggeration, but to be taken strictly as implying extensive activity in the production of rudimentary “Gospels”. The older exegetes understood the word as referring to heretical or apocryphal gospels, of course by way of censure. This view is abandoned by recent commentators, for whom the question of interest rather is: were Mt.’s Logia and Mk.’s Gospel among the earlier contributions which Lk. had in his eye? This question cannot be decided by exegesis, and answers vary according to the critical theories of those who discuss the topic. All that need be said here is that there is no apparent urgent reason for excluding Mt. and Mk. from the crowd of early essayists.— ἐπεχείρησαν, took in hand; here and in Acts 9:29; Acts 19:13. It is a vox ambigua, and might or might not imply blame = attempted and did not succeed, or attempted and accomplished their task. It is not probable that emphatic blame is intended. On the other hand, it is not likely that ἐπεχ. is a mere expletive, and that ἐπεχ. ἀνατάξασθαι is simply = ἀνετάξαντο, as, after Casaubon, Palairet, Raphel, etc., maintained. The verb contains a gentle hint that in some respects finality had not yet been reached, which might be said with all due respect even of Mt.’s Logia and Mk.’s Gospel.— ἀνατάξασθαι διήγησιν, to set forth in order a narrative; the expression points to a connected series of narratives arranged in some order ( τάξις), topical or chronological, rather than to isolated narratives, the meaning put on διήγησις by Schleiermacher. Both verb and noun occur here only in N. T.— περὶπραγμάτων indicates the subject of these narratives. The leading term in this phrase is πεπληροφορημένων, about the meaning of which interpreters are much divided. The radical idea of πληροφορέω ( πλήρης, φέρω) is to bring or make full. The special sense will depend on the matter in reference to which the fulness takes place. It might be in the region of fact, in which case the word under consideration would mean “become a completed series,” and the whole phrase “concerning events which now lie before us as a complete whole”. This view is adopted by an increasing number of modern commentators (vide R. V.(1)). Or the fulness may be in conviction, in which case the word would mean “most surely believed” (A. V(2)). This sense of complete conviction occurs several times in N. T. (Romans 4:21, Hebrews 6:11; Hebrews 10:22), but with reference to persons not to things. A very large number of interpreters, ancient and modern, take the word here in this sense (“bei uns beglaubigten,” Weizsäcker). Holtz., H. C., gives both without deciding between them (“vollgeglaubten oder vollbrachten”). Neither meaning seems quite what is wanted. The first is too vague, and does not indicate what the subject-matter is. The second is explicit enough as to that = the matters which form the subject of Christian belief; but one hardly expects these matters to be represented as the subject of sure belief by one whose very aim in writing is to give further certainty concerning them ( ἀσφάλειαν, Luke 1:4). What if the sphere of the fulness be knowledge, and the meaning of the clause: “concerning the things which have become widely known among us Christians”? Then it would be plain enough what was referred to. Then also the phrase would point out the natural effect of the many evangelic narratives—the universal diffusion of a fair acquaintance with the leading facts of Christ’s life. But have we any instance of such use of the word?— πληροφορία is used in reference to understanding and knowledge in Colossians 2:2. Then in modern Greek πληροφορῶ means to inform, and as the word is mainly Hellenistic in usage, and may belong to the popular speech preserved throughout the centuries, τῶν πεπλ. may mean, “those things of which information has been given” (Geldart, The Modern Greek Language, p. 186), or those things generally known among Christians as such.


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Bibliography
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-1.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

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[BIBLIOGRAPHY]

Completæ sunt. Greek: peplerophoremenon. I know the pretended differences betwixt Greek: plerophoreisthai, and plerousthai. But divers learned critics, after St. John Chrysostom take notice, that they are many times taken for the same. So 2 Timothy iv. 5. Ministerium tuum imple. Greek: plerophoreson, toutesti, says St. John Chrysostom, Greek: plerosou. log. th. p. 371. Ed. Savil. and on the 17th ver. of the same chapter, ut per me impleretur, Greek: plerophorethe, toutesti, plerothe. (Ibid. p. 376.)


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/luke-1.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Forasmuch as = Since, as is well known indeed. Greek. epeideper. Occurs only here in N.T.

have in hand. Implying previous non = success (Acts 19:13). Elsewhere only in Acts 9:29. A medical word. Compare Colossians 4:14.

to set forth in order = to draw up.

a declaration = a narrative. Greek. diegesis. Occurs only here in N.T., used by Galen of a medical treatise.

of = concerning. Greek. peri. App-104. Not the same word as in verses: Luke 1:5, Luke 1:27, Luke 1:35, Luke 5:61.

things = matters, or facts.

which are most surely believed = which have been fully accomplished; i.e. in fulfilment of prophetic announcement. among. Greek. en. App-104. As in verses: Luke 1:25, Luke 1:28, Luke 1:42


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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/luke-1.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,

Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration , [ epecheireesan (Greek #2021) anataxasthai (Greek #392) dieegeesin (Greek #1335)] - 'have undertaken to draw up a narrative,'

Of those things which are most surely believed, [ toon (G3588) pepleeroforeemenoon (G4135)] among us - not 'believed confidently,' but 'believed on sure grounds.' So the word "surely" is used by our translators in Proverbs 10:9, "He that walketh uprightly walketh surely."


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-1.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(1) Forasmuch as many have taken in hand.—On the general bearing of this passage on the questions connected with the authorship and plan of the Gospel, see the Introduction. Here we note (1), what is visible in the English, but is yet more conspicuous in the Greek, the finished structure of the sentences as compared with the simpler openings of the other Gospels; (2) the evidence which the verse supplies of the existence of many written documents professing to give an account of the Gospel history at the time when St. Luke wrote—i.e., probably before St. Paul’s death in A.D. 65. The “many” may have included St. Matthew and St. Mark, but we cannot say. There is no tone of disparagement in the way in which the writer speaks of his predecessors. He simply feels that they have not exhausted the subject, and that his inquiries have enabled him to add something.

Of those things which are most surely believed among us.—Better, of the things that have been accomplished among us.


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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,
those
John 20:31; Acts 1:1-3; 1 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:16-19
most surely
[Peplerophoremenon] the passive participle of [plerophoreo (plhroforeÑw)] from [ ()] full measure; and is applied to a ship fully laden, to a tree in full bearing, etc. Hence it implies that fulness of evidence by which any fact is supported, and also that confidence, or feeling of assent, by which facts so supported are believed.

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 1:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-1.html.

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