I love studying the Bible. Commentaries have a way of bringing new thoughts and ideas to the surface. They help my imagination better engage scripture in meditation because they tell me more about the culture and the various connotation of the words contained in the Bible.
I have recently begun my journey into Luke’s Gospel. This Gospel was written to a man named Theophilus as a way of assuring him in what he had been taught. There are those who believe that Luke wrote his Gospel so as to assure the Gentiles about the faithfulness of God. This theory is based on the fact that Gentiles were converting to a religion that was the fulfillment of Jewish prophecy; however, many Jews were rejecting Jesus as the Messiah. If the Gospel was true, and salvation comes through Jesus, this meant that many Jews were not receiving that which was promised. Could one trust in God like this? Based on this theory, Luke undertakes this project to prove to the Gentiles that God is faithful.
Another intriguing theory about the prologue is that Theophilus is a metaphor because the name means “lover of God.” Therefore, anyone who loves God is Theophilus. We read this gospel as a way of allowing ourselves to know God. In knowing God, we come to love him more. The more we know him, the more we believe in him, the more faith that we have.
The thing is, the more that I study, the more I realize that there are many reasons I call myself Christian, and while love should be the first and foremost reason, it is buried somewhere in the middle. For example, I am a Christian because I want to go to heaven, not hell. I love the idea of a God who cares for me, and delivers me from evil. While these are good drivers, they are also tainted in selfishness.
Despite the fact that my love for God is not currently the primary reason why I call myself Christian, I know that the spiritual life is a journey. I understand that every time I encounter God, who is love, I learn to love him more. Therefore, I say, “call me Theophilus!” I do love God, and as I continue on the journey, I shall learn to love him more.
Spend some time with the Holy Spirit asking him to shine the light of truth on your own reasons for being Christian. Where does love fall on the list for you? Can you call yourself Theophilus? Regardless of your answers, spend some time thanking him and praising him for his love of you, and ask him to show you how to love him more.