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Reference: Theophilus


The person to whom St. Luke's two works are addressed (Lu 1:3; Ac 1:1). That Theophilus stands for a real person and is not a general name for the Christian reader is made probable by the title 'most excellent,' which, when strictly used, implies equestrian rank (Ramsay, St. Paul p. 388). It is used also of Felix (Ac 23:26; 24:3) and of Festus (Ac 26:25). But some take the title as a mere complimentary address, and therefore as telling us nothing of Theophilus himself. If it is used strictly, we may agree with Ramsay that Theophilus was a Roman official, and the favourable attitude of St. Luke to the institutions of the Empire is in keeping with this idea. If so, Theophilus would be the Christian, not the Roman, name of the person addressed.

A. J. Maclean.

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