What does Luke 1:1 mean?
ESV: Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us,
NIV: Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us,
NASB: Since many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us,
CSB: Many have undertaken to compile a narrative about the events that have been fulfilled among us,
NLT: Many people have set out to write accounts about the events that have been fulfilled among us.
KJV: Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,
NKJV: Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us,
Verse Commentary:
Contrary to criticism and myth, Christianity has never been a matter of "blind faith." Even in the early days after Jesus' resurrection, facts and information were key in leading others to accept the gospel. Luke, for his part, recognizes those other efforts and feels that his perspective is valuable. Luke traveled with Paul (Acts 16:10), possibly serving as his doctor (Colossians 4:14). This account is Luke's personally-researched, carefully organized account of the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ (Luke 1:2–3).

Luke's motive for writing this historical research is to inspire confidence (Luke 1:4). That which Christians believe about Jesus is true: eyewitness accounts and facts confirm it. This is the perspective Luke wants to impress on those who read his work. They should see these records and be reassured that what they've been told about Jesus' life is true. While the book is directed to a specific person, Theophilus (Luke 1:3), a reasonable trust in truth is a universal need for all believers.
Verse Context:
Luke 1:1–4 introduces the purpose of this gospel. Luke intends to compile an "orderly account" of the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. His content is based on personal experience, eyewitness testimony, and other firsthand sources. These beliefs predate the writing of the New Testament, and Luke's goal is to inspire confidence in those truths. The book of Acts is a direct continuation of this process (Acts 1:1–3).
Chapter Summary:
The angel Gabriel predicts two miraculous births. The first is a son born to Zechariah and Elizabeth: an older, childless priest and his wife. Because Zechariah initially doubts this message, he is temporarily made unable to speak. Their child will be known as John the Baptist, a powerful herald of the Messiah. The Promised One whom John will proclaim is the second birth predicted by Gabriel. He tells an engaged virgin, Mary, that God will miraculously conceive His Son in her. The two women meet and rejoice over their blessings. John's arrival sets the stage for Luke's familiar account of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Chapter Context:
Luke was a travelling companion of the apostle Paul (Acts 16:10); his book of Acts is a direct "sequel" to the gospel of Luke (Acts 1:1–3). Those two books make up more than a quarter of the New Testament. Luke begins by explaining how his orderly approach is meant to inspire confidence in Christian faith. His work is based on eyewitness interviews and other evidence. The first chapter details the miraculous conceptions of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. Chapter 2 continues with Jesus' birth.
Book Summary:
Luke was a traveling companion of Paul (Acts 16:10) and a physician (Colossians 4:14). Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke writes his gospel as an historian, rather than as a first-hand eyewitness. His extensive writings also include the book of Acts (Acts 1:1–3). These are deliberately organized, carefully researched accounts of those events. The gospel of Luke focuses on the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Luke's Gentile perspective presents Christ as a Savior for all people, offering both forgiveness and direction to those who follow Him.
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