… it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus …
I must investigate the things I believe for myself. This is not to say that I need to go and be a part of archaeological digs (unless I were an archaeologist) or that I should delve into whether or not the scientific statements made in scripture are true (unless I were a scientist). This is, however, to say that I need to be assured of the veracity of the claims made in scripture and certain that I can trust the book I study. If I cannot trust my Bible, then I am studying words to no avail.
Luke had done precisely this. He had investigated the story of Christ for himself. He had interviewed those who were there. He had compiled the data and checked it against itself to make sure that the story was consistent (v1-2). And, when he was assured that what he had was an accurate account, he committed it to writing so that Theophilus (the lover of God) could know the exact truth about the things he had been taught (v4).
An archaeologist — Sir William Ramsay — once decided to prove that Luke was a crap historian and set out to do so by looking for the things Luke described in the place that Luke said they should be. It turned out that this archaeologist found Luke to be a marvelously accurate historian. This same archaeologist went on to convert from his atheism to Christianity, due, in part, to Luke’s accuracy. If Luke got the places right — so right that they could be located hundreds of years later using only Luke’s writings — what else might he have gotten right?
Let me follow in the footsteps of Luke and Ramsay. Let me seek to know the things I know and to know them more fully. Let me compile my evidence for what I believe so that I might, as Luke, set it out in order so that other lovers of God may be assured of what they believe.