In February, on the blog and on Facebook, we have been talking about Study Bibles. In addition to indexes and other types of literary guides, most Study Bibles contain biblical commentary and doctrinal essays. Below is an essay on written communication from the gospel of Luke in the Life Essentials Study Bible. With over 250 hours of teaching by editor Gene Getz, this HCSB Study Bible offers readers a window into in-depth Bible study via QR codes (see the bar code at the bottom of the post, scannable with your smart phone). We hope you'll enjoy the essay, and take a moment to consider, "What are the most important features in a Study Bible?"
#1 We should look for opportunities to use personal letters to help fellow believers develop a more intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
In many respects, this Gospel represents a personal letter to a man whom Luke addressed as the “most honorable Theophilus.” Though we know very little about this individual, he was probably a Gentile, perhaps a high-ranking official in the Roman government. Evidently, he was a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ—not just a seeker—but a man who needed a lot of encouragement in terms of spiritual growth. It appears he may have still had some theological questions about Jesus. Luke wanted Theophilus to “know the certainty of the things” he had been taught about Christianity. The term know indicates more than just intellectual assent; it is a deep, abiding assurance of the heart (v. 4). Luke wanted his knowledge of Christ to be experiential.
Nevertheless, like all of the letters in the New Testament, Luke’s Gospel demonstrates the impact and importance of written correspondence to help Christians mature in their faith. For example, when Paul received a report from Timothy that the believers in Thessalonica were confused about what happens to Christians before Christ comes again, he wrote a le␣er to clarify the issue—along with other teachings to help them continue to more and more reflect faith, hope, and love in their relationships with one another and their unsaved neighbors and friends.
Reflection and Response
How have personal letters encouraged you in your walk with Christ and how can you do the same for others?
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