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IV. The Purpose of The Gospel

IV. The Purpose of The Gospel

Luke's stated purpose has been discussed in the previous section. It was “to draw up an account” of “the things that have been fulfilled among us” and to enable Theophilus to “know the certainty” of what he had been taught (1:1-4).

Additional reasons have been suggested. Luke's emphasis on Pilate's recognition of Jesus' innocence may have been made to prove to the Romans the law-abiding nature of Christianity. The gospel also may have been intended to assert Jesus' superiority over John the Baptist at a time when the followers of the Baptist constituted a rival movement to the church. Again, it may have been directed against Gnostics, who belittled the humanity of Christ and discouraged martyrdom.

Moreover, Luke certainly would have been glad for his gospel to be instrumental in converting either Jews or Gentiles to faith in Christ. On the other hand, assuming that Theophilus, to whom the gospel was dedicated, was already a Christian, Luke's primary concern would have been to strengthen the faith and increase the knowledge of existing converts, not only Theophilus, but others as well.