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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 1:4

so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Wherein thou hast been instructed - Κατηχηθης - In which thou hast been catechized. It appears that Theophilus had already received the first elements of the Christian doctrine, but had not as yet been completely grounded in them. That he might know the certainty of the things in which he had been thus catechized, by having all the facts and their proofs brought before him in order, the evangelist sent him this faithful and Divinely inspired narrative. Those who content themselves with that knowledge of the doctrines of Christ which they receive from catechisms and schoolmasters, however important these elementary instructions may be, are never likely to arrive at such a knowledge of the truth as will make them wise unto salvation, or fortify them against the attacks of infidelity and irreligion. Every man should labor to acquire the most correct knowledge, and indubitable certainty, of those doctrines on which he stakes his eternal salvation. Some suppose that St. Luke refers here to the imperfect instruction which Theophilus had received from the defective Gospels to which he refers in Luke 1:1.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 1:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The certainty - Have full evidence or proof of.

Been instructed - By the preachers of the gospel. The original word is the one from which is derived our word “catechism - been catechized;” but it does not denote here the “manner” in which the instruction was imparted, as it does with us, but simply the fact that he had been taught those things.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 1:4". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-1.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

That thou mightest know the certainty,.... The end the evangelist had in writing this Gospel, and sending it to Theophilus, was, that he might be more strongly assured of and more firmly established in the truths of the Gospel. The Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions render it, "that thou mightest know the truth"; that is, the certain truth of things: the truth he did in some measure know before, but Luke's view was, that he might have a more certain knowledge of it; both truth, and the certainty of it may be intended: so the Hebrew word, אמונה, signifies both truth and firmness; and the word here used signifies such a certain evidence of things, as may be safely depended on; even

of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed; or catechised, signifying, that he had been hitherto taught, as a catechumen, the rudiments, and first principles of the Christian religion, by word of mouth; and he had taken them in upon the evidence they came with, and the authority of those that instructed him in them; and now he sent him in writing this account, to increase his knowledge, strengthen his faith, and to give him such a sure proof of things, as might preserve him safe in the belief of them, from all doubting and defection. Having finished his preface, he proceeds to the narrative itself, which begins as follows.


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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.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

That thou mightest e know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.

(e) Have fuller knowledge of those things which you know only partially.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Luke 1:4". "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

that thou mightest know — “know thoroughly.”

hast been instructed — orally instructed - literally, “catechized” or “catechetically taught,” at first as a catechumen or candidate for Christian baptism.


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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 1:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/luke-1.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Mightest know (επιγνωιςepignōis). Second aorist active subjunctive of επιγινωσκωepiginōskō Full knowledge (επιepi -), in addition to what he already has.

The certainty (την ασπαλειανtēn asphaleian). Make no slip (σπαλλωsphallō to totter or fall, and αa privative). Luke promises a reliable narrative. “Theophilus shall know that the faith which he has embraced has an impregnable historical foundation” (Plummer).

The things (λογωνlogōn). Literally “words,” the details of the words in the instruction.

Wast instructed (κατηχητηςkatēchēthēs). First aorist passive indicative. Not in O.T. and rare in ancient Greek. Occurs in the papyri. The word ηχεωēcheō is our word echo (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:8 for εχηχηταιexēchētai has sounded forth). ΚατηχεωKatēcheō is to sound down, to din, to instruct, to give oral instruction. Cf. 1 Corinthians 14:9; Acts 21:21, Acts 21:24; Acts 18:25; Galatians 6:6. Those men doing the teaching were called catechists and those receiving it were called catechumens. Whether Theophilus was still a catechumen is not known. This Preface by Luke is in splendid literary Koiné and is not surpassed by those in any Greek writer (Herodotus, Thucydides, Polybius). It is entirely possible that Luke was familiar with this habit of Greek historians to write prefaces since he was a man of culture.


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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 1:4". "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

Mightest know ( ἐπιγνῷς )

See on Matthew 7:16. With the idea offull knowledge; or, as regards Theophilus, of more accurate knowledge than is possible from the many who have undertaken the narration.

Certainty ( ἀσφάλειαν )

From ἀ , not, and σφάλλομαι ,to fall. Hence steadfastness, stability, security against error.

Wast instructed ( κατήχηθης )

From κατηχέω ,to resound; to teach by word of mouth; and so, in Christian writers, to instruct orally in the elements of religion. It would imply that Theophilus had, thus far, been orally instructed. See on delivered, Luke 1:2. The word catechumen is derived from it.

Things ( λόγων )

Properly words (so Wyc.), which Rev. gives in margin. If the word can mean thing at all, it is only in the sense of the thing spoken of; the subject or matter of discourse, in which sense it occurs often in classical Greek. Some render it accounts, histories; others, doctrines of the faith. Godet translates instruction, and claims that not only the facts of the gospel, but the exposition of the facts with a view to show their evangelical meaning and to their appropriation by faith, are included in the word. There is force in this idea; and if we hold to the meaning histories, or even words, this sense will be implied in the context. Luke has drawn up his account in order that Theophilus may have fuller knowledge concerning the accounts which he has heard by word of mouth. That his knowledge may go on from the facts, to embrace their doctrinal and evangelical import; that he may see the facts of Jesus' life and ministry as the true basis of the Gospel of salvation.

sa40


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Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 1:4". "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

that thou mightest know the certainty1 concerning the things wherein thou wast instructed2.

  1. That thou mightest know the certainty. Might have a fixed written record, and not trust to a floating, variable tradition or a treacherous memory.

  2. Concerning the things wherein thou wast instructed. The gospel facts.


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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 1:4". "The Fourfold Gospel". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-1.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Ver. 4. And now, what is the aim of the work thus conceived? To strengthen the faith of Theophilus and his readers in the reality of this extraordinary history.

On Theophilus, see the Introduction, see sec. 3.

The epithet κράτιστος is applied several times, in the writings of Luke, to high Roman officials, such as Felix and Festus: Acts 23:26; Acts 24:3; Acts 26:25. It is frequently met with in medals of the time. Luke wishes to show his friend and patron, that he is not unmindful of the exalted rank he occupies. But in his opinion, one mention suffices. He does not deem it necessary to repeat this somewhat ceremonious form at the beginning of the book of the Acts.

The work executed on the plan indicated is to give Theophilus the means of ascertaining and verifying ( ἐπιγινώσκειν) the irrefragable certainty ( ἀσφάλειαν) of the instruction which he had already received. The construction of this last phrase has been understood in three ways. The most complicated is to understand a second περί· τὴν ἀσφάλειαν περὶ τῶν λόγων περὶ ὧν κατηχήθης; the second and more simple, adopted by Bleek, is to make περί depend not on ἀσφάλειαν, but on κατηχήθης: τὴν ἀσφάλειαν τῶν λόγων περὶ ὧν κατηχήθης. But the example κατηχήθησαν περί σου (Acts 21:21), which Bleek quotes, is not analogous; for there the object of περί is personal: "they are informed of thee." The simplest construction is this: τὴν ἀσφάλειαν περὶ τῶν λόγων οὓς κατηχήθης, certitude touching the instruction which...Comp. for this form κατηχεῖσθαί τι, Acts 18:25, Galatians 6:6.

The term κατηχεῖν, to cause a sound to penetrate into the ears, and thereby also a fact, an idea, into the mind, may simply mean that intelligence of the great events of which Luke speaks had reached Theophilus by public report (Acts 21:21; Acts 21:24); or it may denote instruction properly so called, as Romans 2:18, Acts 18:25, Galatians 6:6; neither the expressions nor the context appear to me to offer sufficient reasons to decide which. Perhaps the truth lies between these two extreme opinions. Theophilus might have talked with Christian evangelists without receiving such catechetical instruction, in the strict sense of the term, as was often given when a church was founded (Thiersch, Versuch, p. 122 et seq.); and then have applied to Luke with a view to obtain through his labours something more complete.

The word ἀσφάλειαν is relegated to the end, to express with greater force the idea of the irrefragable certainty of the facts of the Gospel.

It is a very nice question whether the term λόγοι, which we have translated instruction, here refers solely to the historical contents of the Gospel, or also to the religious meaning of the facts, as that comes out of the subsequent narrative. In the former case, Luke would simply mean that the certainty of each particular fact was established by its relation to the whole, which could not well be invented. An extraordinary fact, which, presented separately, appears impossible, becomes natural and rational when it takes its place in a well-certified sequence of facts to which it belongs. In strictness, this meaning might be sufficient. But when we try to identify ourselves completely with the author"s mind, do we not see, in this instruction of which he speaks, something more than a simple narrative of facts? Does not the passage in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 show that, in apostolic instruction, religious comment was inseparable from the historical text? Was it not with a view to faith that facts were related in the preaching of the gospel? and does not faith, in order to appropriate them, require an exposition of their meaning and importance? The instruction already received by Theophilus refers, then, without doubt to the Gospel history, but not as isolated from its religious interpretation; and since we have to do here with a reader belonging to a circle of Christians of heathen origin, the signification given to this history could be none other than that twofold principle of the universality and free grace of salvation which constituted the substance of what Paul calls his gospel. Luke"s object, then, was to relate the Christian fact in such a way as to show that, from its very starting-point, the work and preaching of Jesus Himself had had no other meaning. This was the only way of making evangelical instruction, as formulated by St. Paul, rest on an immoveable basis. As a consequence, this apostle ceased to appear an innovator, and became the faithful expositor of the teaching of Jesus. To write a Gospel with this view, was to introduce beneath the vast ecclesiastical edifice raised by Paul, the only foundation which could in the end prevent it from falling. For whatever there is in the church that does not emanate from Jesus, holds a usurped and consequently a transitory place. This would be true even of the spiritualism of St. Paul, if it did not proceed from Jesus Christ. Certainly it does not therefore follow, that the acts and words of Jesus which Luke relates, and in which the universalist tendency of the Gospel is manifested, were invented or modified by him in the interest of this tendency. Is it not important for him, on the contrary, to prove to his readers that this tendency was not infused into the Gospel by Paul, but is a legitimate deduction from the work and teaching of Jesus Christ? The essential truth of this claim will be placed beyond all suspicion when we come to prove, on the one hand, that the author has in no way tried to mutilate the narrative by suppressing those facts which might yield a different tendency from that which he desired to justify; on the other, that the tendency which he favours is inseparable from the course of the facts themselves.

If we have correctly apprehended the meaning of the last words of the prologue, we must expect to find in the third Gospel the counterpart of the first. As that is A Treatise on the right of Jesus to the Messianic sovereignty of Israel, this is A Treatise on the right of the heathen to share in the Messianic kingdom founded by Jesus. In regard to the earliest writings on the subject of the Gospel history, we may draw from this preface four important results: 1. The common source from which the earliest written narratives of the history of the ministry of Jesus proceeded was the oral testimony of the apostles,—the διδαχή τῶν ἀποστόλων, which is spoken of in Acts 2:42 as the daily food dispensed by them to the rising Church.—2. The work of committing this apostolic tradition to writing began early, not later than the period of transition from the first to the second Christian generation; and it was attempted by numerous authors at the same time. Nothing in the text of Luke authorizes us to think, with Gieseler, that this was done only amongst the Greeks. From the earliest times, the art of writing prevailed amongst the Jews; children even were not ignorant of it (Judges 8:14).—3. In composing his Gospel, Luke possessed the apostolic tradition, not merely in the oral form in which it circulated in the churches, but also reduced to writing in a considerable number of these early works; and these constituted two distinct sources.—4. But he did not content himself with these two means of information; he made use, in addition, of personal investigations designed to complete, correct, and arrange the materials which he derived from these two sources.

Having obtained these definite results, it only remains to see whether they contain the elements required for the solution of the problem of the origin of our synoptics, and of the composition of our Gospel in particular. We shall examine them for this purpose at the conclusion of the work.


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Bibliography
Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on Luke 1:4". "Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsc/luke-1.html.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

4 That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.

Ver. 4. Wherein thou hast been instructed] Which thou hast received by hearsay, or by word of mouth; and wherein thou hast been catechised, receiving the mysteries of the faith by the ministry of the voice, κατηχηθης. And surely when we see men caring and casting how to find out this certainty here spoken of, and not be led by conjectural, suppositions, but be fully persuaded as St Luke was, and would have his Theophilus to be, then there will be some hopes that the Lord’s party will increase.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-1.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Luke 1:4. Wherein thou hast been instructed. Κατηχηθης, the original word, expresses with great accuracy the instructions given to those whowere training up for admission into the Christian church, whose name ofcatechumens was derived hence, and applied without any particular regard to the age of the persons concerned. See Acts 18:25. Romans 2:18 and Doddridge.


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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Luke 1:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/luke-1.html. 1801-1803.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

4.] ἐπιγνῷς—here in its stricter sense, of acquiring additional, more accurate knowledge—see reff. κατηχ.] Theophilus had then been orally instructed in the narratives which form the subject of this Gospel: and Luke’s intention in writing it is, that he might have a more accurate knowledge of these histories.

κατηχήθης—literally, catechized,catechetically taught.’ Bleek, h. l., reminds us that this is not St. Luke’s own usage of the verb: cf. Acts 21:21; Acts 21:24, where it simply signifies hearing by report. But we may answer that in Acts 18:25, where the same construction occurs, this is the most likely sense.

λόγων is not to be rendered ‘things:’ neither it, nor ῥῆμα, nor דָּבָר, ever has this meaning, as is commonly but erroneously supposed. In all the commonly-cited examples of this, ‘things expressed in words’ are meant: here, the histories,accounts. (See Prolegg. to the Gospels, i. 3.)


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 1:4". 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 1:4. ἵνα ἐπιγνῷς] ut accurate cognosceres; see on Matthew 11:27; 1 Corinthians 13:12.

περὶ ὧν κατηχήθης λόγων] The attraction is not, with the Vulgate and the majority of commentators, to be resolved into: τῶν λόγων, περὶ ὧν κατηχήθης, as the contents of the instruction is put with κατηχεῖσθαι in the accusative (Acts 18:25; Galatians 6:6), and only the more remote object to which the instruction relates is expressed by περί (Acts 21:21; Acts 21:24), but into: περὶ τῶν λόγων, οὓς κατηχήθης: that thou mightest know in respect of the doctrines, in which thou wast instructed, the unshaken certainty. Comp. Köstlin, p. 132, and Ewald. The λόγοι are not the πράγματα, res (comp. Luke 1:2), as is usually supposed; but it is just the specifically Christian doctrines, the individual parts of the λόγος, Luke 1:2 ( τῶν λόγων τῆς πίστεως, Euthymius Zigabenus), that stand in the most essential connection with the history of Jesus and from it receive their ἀσφάλεια; in fact, they are in great part themselves essentially history.

κατηχήθης is to be understood of actual instruction (in Acts 21:21 also), not of hearsay, of which, moreover, the passages in Kypke are not to be explained. Who had instructed Theophilus—who, moreover, was assuredly already a Christian (not merely interested on behalf of Christianity, as Bleek supposes)—we know not, but certainly it was not Luke himself (in opposition to Theophylact).

τὴν ἀσφάλειαν] the unchangeable certainty, the character not to be shaken. Comp. τὴν ἀσφάλειαν εἶναι λόγου, Xen. Mem. iv. 6. 15. The position at the end is emphatic. According to Luke, therefore, by this historical work, which he purposes to write, the doctrines which Theophilus had received are to be set forth for him in their immoveable positive truth; according to Baur, on the other hand, the ἀσφάλεια which the writer had in view was to be this, that his entire representation of primitive Christianity sought to become conducive to the conciliatory interest (of the second century), and always kept this object in view. This is purely imported. Luke wrote from the dispassionate consciousness that Christianity, as it subsisted for him as the Pauline contents of faith, had its firm basis of truth in the evangelical history of salvation.


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Bibliography
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Luke 1:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/luke-1.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 1:4. ἵνα, that) Expressing the scope of the whole work, [which in John is stated at the close of his Gospel, ch. Luke 21:24.—Harm., p. 34.]— ἐπιγνῷς, thou mightest clearly perceive) The compound verb is emphatic.(2)κατηχήθης, thou hast been instructed) by the mouth of others. This κατήχησις(3) also comprises sacred history. Luke hereby claims to himself greater authority than that of those from whom Theophilus had previously received instruction.—[ τὴν ἀσφάλειαν, the certainty) This unerring certainty has place, where nothing of a spurious character is added, nothing that is necessary is omitted (left to be wished for, desideratur), and all the particulars are attested and proved by adequate documents and proofs.—V. g.]


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Bibliography
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 1:4". 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

See Poole on "Luke 1:1"


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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 1:4". 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

Those things; the things pertaining to Christ and the gospel.


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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Luke 1:4". "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

4. In the narrative itself we notice: α. A clearness of detail which marks veritable history (see the minute circumstances in Luke 1:5; Luke 1:39; Luke 1:63, Luke 2:36-37, &c.). β. A prevalence of numerical elements (sevens and threes), which shews that St Luke is here basing his record on an Aramaic document. Thus the whole Gospel of the Childhood falls into three large and seven smaller divisions. I. 1. The announcement of the birth of the Forerunner, Luke 1:5-25. 2. The announcement of the birth of Jesus, Luke 1:26-38. 3. The visit of Mary to Elizabeth, Luke 1:39-56. II. 1. The birth of John, Luke 1:57-80. 2. The birth of Jesus, Luke 2:1 to Luke 20:3. The Presentation in the Temple and Circumcision, Luke 2:21-40. III. The first visit of Jesus to the Temple—which completes the cycle by a seventh narrative, Luke 2:41-52. We shall see further that even the subordinate sections often fall into subsections of three. See Godet I. 84. Thus the first section is divided into α, the test of faith, Luke 1:5-7; β the promise, Luke 1:8-22; γ the fulfilment, Luke 1:23-25.

Ἡρώδου βασιλέως. Towards the close of the reign of Herod the Great. The true sceptre had departed from Judah. Herod was a mere Idumaean usurper imposed on the nation by the Romans. “Regnum ab Antonio Herodi datum, victor Augustus auxit.” Tac. Hist. Luke 1:9.

τῆς Ἰουδαίας. Besides Judaea, Samaria, and Galilee, his kingdom included the most important regions of Peraea (Jos. Antt. XV. 5, §§ 6, 7; B. J. I. 20, §§ 3, 4).

Ζαχαρίας. The common Jewish name Zachariah (2 Kings 14:29; Ezra 8:3; Ezra 8:11; Zechariah 1:1; 1 Maccabees 5:18, &c.) means ‘remembered by Jehovah.’ The Jews highly valued the distinction of priestly birth (Jos. Vit. I.). The notion that Zacharias was a High Priest and that his vision occurred on the great Day of Atonement is refuted by the single word ἔλαχε, “his lot was,” Luke 1:9.

ἐξ ἐφημερίας. The word ἐφημερία means first ‘a daily ministry’ (Heb. mishmereth) and then a class of the priesthood which exercised its functions for a week. It is used by the LXX[26] (as well as διαίρεσις) to render the Hebrew machaloketh. Josephus (Vit. I.) uses the less accurate term ἐφημερίς, and also πατρία (Antt. VII. 14. 7). Aaron had four sons, but the two elder, Nadab and Abihu, were struck dead for using strange fire in the sanctuary (Leviticus 10). From the two remaining sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, had sprung in the days of David twenty-four families, sixteen from the descendants of Eleazar, and eight from those of Ithamar. To these David distributes by lot the order of their service from week to week, each for eight days inclusively from Sabbath to Sabbath (1 Chronicles 24:1-19; 2 Chronicles 31:2). After the Babylonish exile only four of the twenty-four courses returned—a striking indication of the truth of the Jewish saying that those who returned from the exile were but like the chaff in comparison of the wheat. The four families of which the representatives returned were those of Jedaiah, Immer, Pashur, and Harim (Ezra 2:36-39). But the Jews concealed the heavy loss by subdividing these four families into twenty-four courses, to which they gave the original names, and this is alluded to in Nehemiah 13:30 (“I … appointed the wards of the priests and the Levites, every one in his business”). This arrangement continued till the fall of Jerusalem A.D. 70, at which time, on the ninth of the month Ab (Aug. 5), we are told that the course in waiting was that of Jehoiarib (Jos. Bell. Jud. VI. 5; Taanith, IV. 6; Derenbourg, Palest. p. 291). Reckoning back from this we find that the course of Abijah went out of office on Oct. 9, B.C. 6, A. U. C. 748 (but see Lewin, Fasti Sacri, p. 191). The reckoning of the date, either backwards from the Fall of Jerusalem, or forwards from the Reformation of Judas Maccabaeus (1 Maccabees 4:38), necessarily involves elements of uncertainty. See Wieseler, Synopsis, 141–145. The reader should bear in mind that our received era for the Birth of Christ (A. U. C. 753) was only fixed by the Abbot Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, and is probably four years wrong.

Ἀβιά. 1 Chronicles 24:10, “the eighth [lot came forth] to Abijah.” This was not one of the four families which had returned, but the name was soon revived (Nehemiah 12:4). Josephus tells us that he himself enjoyed the high distinction of belonging by birth to the first of the twenty-four courses (Vit. I.).

καὶ γυνὴ αὐτῷ. ‘His wife was.’ See the critical note. This phrase like ἐγένετο (ויהי ), and ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις is Hebraic. The construction throughout is rather paratactical (sentences joined by καὶ) than syntactical (subordinate clauses).

Ἐλισάβετ. The same name as Elisheba (‘one whose oath is by God,’ comp. Jehoshebah, 2 Kings 11:2), the wife of Aaron, Exodus 6:23; mentioned by name according to Ibn Ezra as ‘the mother of the priesthood.’ John’s descent was priestly on both sides, as that of Jesus was royal.


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Bibliography
"Commentary on Luke 1:4". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/luke-1.html. 1896.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

4. Mightest know the certainty—This was the great ultimate object; that the Christian laity, of whom Theophilus was a representative, might be fully assured of the perfect confirmation of the Christian history. This confirmation would arise from the profoundly reliable character of Luke, and from his perfect understanding of all things, even

from the very first. Hast been instructed—The Greek word here used, κατηχηθης, is that from which the words catechise and catechumen are derived. This probably refers not to the catechesis of Theophilus’s childhood; for Theophilus was probably an adult when the apostolic ministry commenced. It more probably refers to the private oral instruction preparatory to baptism which the minister of the word bestowed on the young convert, over and above the preaching of the word. This catechetical instruction would embrace such documentary or traditional history of Jesus as his particular Church possessed. Luke now proposes to give this catechetical matter a more authentic substance and form.

It is agreed among scholars that this brief preface of Luke’s is written in the purest Greek style of any passage in the New Testament.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 1:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-1.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Luke did not address Theophilus in a way that enables us to know if he was a believer in Jesus when Luke penned these words. He had received some information about Christianity, specifically reports of the words and works of Jesus Christ. We do not know either if Theophilus was in danger of abandoning the faith or if he just needed a strong foundation for immature faith. Luke"s introduction promised a factual foundation. [Note: See Earle E. Cairns, "Luke As a Historian," Bibliotheca Sacra122:487 (July-September1965):220-26; F. Duane Lindsey, "Lucan Theology in Contemporary Perspective," Bibliotheca Sacra125:500 (October-December1968):346-51; Merrill C. Tenney, "Historical Verities in the Gospel of Luke ," Bibliotheca Sacra135:538 (April-June1978):126-38; and Nicholas M. van Ommeren, "Was Luke an Accurate Historian?" Bibliotheca Sacra148:589 (January-March1991):57-71.]

The Christian faith does not require believing things that are contrary to the facts but believing things that are true. Luke wrote his introduction to assure his readers that there was a factual basis for their faith. The gospel tradition was and is reliable. Luke was the only Gospel writer who stated his purpose at the beginning of his book (cf. John 20:31).


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 1:4". "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 1:4. Know, as the result of acquaintance with the accurate account now sent him.

The certainty. The emphatic word; certainty as the result of positive, accurate statements of truth. From faith to knowledge, from knowledge to still firmer faith.

Concerning the things, Greek ‘words,’ i.e., the statements of living, divine-human facts of salvation which centre in the Person of Christ. Christianity is a religion that is everlasting, for facts cannot be altered; universal, for facts appeal to all; mighty, for facts are stronger than arguments.

Wherein thou wast instructed. Theophilus had been regularly instructed in regard to the main truths of Christianity. The history of our Lord formed the basis of this instruction, but the Epistles of Paul, some of which were written before this Gospel, show that the meaning of the facts was plainly taught Christian instruction is religious, not purely historical. Our word ‘catechise’ is derived from the term here used.


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Bibliography
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 1:4". "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 1:4. Indicates the practical aim: to give certainty in regard to matters of Christian belief.— περὶ ὧν κ. λόγων: an attraction, to be thus resolved: περὶ τῶν λόγων οὓς κατηχήθης. λόγων is best taken = matters ( πραγμάτων, Luke 1:1), histories (Weizsäcker), not doctrines. Doubtless this is a Hebraistic sense, but that is no objection, for after all Lk. is a Hellenist and no pure Greek, and even in this preface, whose pure Greek has been so often praised, he is a Hellenist to a large extent. (So Hahn, Einleitung, p. 6.) The subject of instruction for young Christians in those early years was the teaching, the acts, and the experience of Jesus: their “catechism” historic not doctrinal.— κατηχήθης: is this word used here in a technical sense = formally and systematically instructed, or in the general sense of “have been informed more or less correctly”? (So Kypke.) The former is more probable. The verb (from κατὰ, ἠχέω) is mainly Hellenistic in usage, rare in profane authors, not found in O. T. The N. T. usage, confined to Lk. and Paul, points to regular instruction (vide Romans 2:18).

This preface gives a lively picture of the intense, universal interest felt by the early Church in the story of the Lord Jesus: Apostles constantly telling what they had seen and heard; many of their hearers taking notes of what they said for the benefit of tnemselves and others: through these gospelets acquaintance with the evangelic history circulating among believers, creating a thirst for more and yet more; imposing on such a man as Luke the task of preparing a Gospel as full, correct, and well arranged as possible through the use of all available means—previous writings or oral testimony of surviving eye-witnesses.


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Bibliography
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 1:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-1.html. 1897-1910.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

That = in order that.

mightest know = get to have full knowledge. Greek. epiginosko.) App-132. Not the same word as in verses: Luke 1:18, Luke 1:34.

things = words.

wherein = concerning (Greek. peri. App-104.) which.

thou hast been instructed = thou wast [orally]

taught. Greek. katecheo. See Acts 18:25. 1 Corinthians 14:19. Galatians 1:6, Galatians 1:6.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 1:4". "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

That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.

That thou mightest know - [`know thoroughly' epignoos (Greek #1921)] - the certainty of those things wherein thou hast been instructed}, [ kateecheethees (Greek #2727)] - 'orally instructed;' i:e., as a catechumen, or candidate for Christian baptism.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 1:4". "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

(4) Wherein thou hast been instructed.—The verb used is that from which are formed the words “catechise,” “catechumen.” &c., and implies oral teaching—in its later sense, teaching preparatory to baptism. The passage is important as showing that such instruction mainly turned on the facts of our Lord’s life, death, and resurrection, and on the records of His teaching.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 1:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.
John 20:31; 2 Peter 1:15,16

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 1:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-1.html.

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