Luke 1:4
That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.
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(4) Wherein thou hast been instructed.—The verb used is that from which are formed the words “catechise,” “catechumen.” &c., and implies oral teaching—in its later sense, teaching preparatory to baptism. The passage is important as showing that such instruction mainly turned on the facts of our Lord’s life, death, and resurrection, and on the records of His teaching.

1:1-4. Luke will not write of things about which Christians may safely differ from one another, and hesitate within themselves; but the things which are, and ought to be surely believed. The doctrine of Christ is what the wisest and best of men have ventured their souls upon with confidence and satisfaction. And the great events whereon our hopes depend, have been recorded by those who were from the beginning eye-witnesses and ministers of the word, and who were perfected in their understanding of them through Divine inspiration.The certainty - Have full evidence or proof of.

Been instructed - By the preachers of the gospel. The original word is the one from which is derived our word "catechism - been catechized;" but it does not denote here the "manner" in which the instruction was imparted, as it does with us, but simply the fact that he had been taught those things.

4. that thou mightest know—"know thoroughly."

hast been instructed—orally instructed—literally, "catechized" or "catechetically taught," at first as a catechumen or candidate for Christian baptism.

See Poole on "Luke 1:1"

That thou mightest know the certainty,.... The end the evangelist had in writing this Gospel, and sending it to Theophilus, was, that he might be more strongly assured of and more firmly established in the truths of the Gospel. The Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions render it, "that thou mightest know the truth"; that is, the certain truth of things: the truth he did in some measure know before, but Luke's view was, that he might have a more certain knowledge of it; both truth, and the certainty of it may be intended: so the Hebrew word, signifies both truth and firmness; and the word here used signifies such a certain evidence of things, as may be safely depended on; even

of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed; or catechised, signifying, that he had been hitherto taught, as a catechumen, the rudiments, and first principles of the Christian religion, by word of mouth; and he had taken them in upon the evidence they came with, and the authority of those that instructed him in them; and now he sent him in writing this account, to increase his knowledge, strengthen his faith, and to give him such a sure proof of things, as might preserve him safe in the belief of them, from all doubting and defection. Having finished his preface, he proceeds to the narrative itself, which begins as follows.

That thou mightest {e} know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.

(e) Have fuller knowledge of those things which you know only partially.

Luke 1:4. Ἵνα ἐπιγνῷς] ut accurate cognosceres; see on Matthew 11:27; 1 Corinthians 13:12.

περὶ ὧν κατηχήθης λόγων] The attraction is not, with the Vulgate and the majority of commentators, to be resolved into: τῶν λόγων, περὶ ὧν κατηχήθης, as the contents of the instruction is put with κατηχεῖσθαι in the accusative (Acts 18:25; Galatians 6:6), and only the more remote object to which the instruction relates is expressed by περί (Acts 21:21; Acts 21:24), but into: περὶ τῶν λόγων, οὓς κατηχήθης: that thou mightest know in respect of the doctrines, in which thou wast instructed, the unshaken certainty. Comp. Köstlin, p. 132, and Ewald. The λόγοι are not the πράγματα, res (comp. Luke 1:2), as is usually supposed; but it is just the specifically Christian doctrines, the individual parts of the λόγος, Luke 1:2 (τῶν λόγων τῆς πίστεως, Euthymius Zigabenus), that stand in the most essential connection with the history of Jesus and from it receive their ἀσφάλεια; in fact, they are in great part themselves essentially history.

κατηχήθης is to be understood of actual instruction (in Acts 21:21 also), not of hearsay, of which, moreover, the passages in Kypke are not to be explained. Who had instructed Theophilus—who, moreover, was assuredly already a Christian (not merely interested on behalf of Christianity, as Bleek supposes)—we know not, but certainly it was not Luke himself (in opposition to Theophylact).

τὴν ἀσφάλειαν] the unchangeable certainty, the character not to be shaken. Comp. τὴν ἀσφάλειαν εἶναι λόγου, Xen. Mem. iv. 6. 15. The position at the end is emphatic. According to Luke, therefore, by this historical work, which he purposes to write, the doctrines which Theophilus had received are to be set forth for him in their immoveable positive truth; according to Baur, on the other hand, the ἀσφάλεια which the writer had in view was to be this, that his entire representation of primitive Christianity sought to become conducive to the conciliatory interest (of the second century), and always kept this object in view. This is purely imported. Luke wrote from the dispassionate consciousness that Christianity, as it subsisted for him as the Pauline contents of faith, had its firm basis of truth in the evangelical history of salvation.

Luke 1:4. Indicates the practical aim: to give certainty in regard to matters of Christian belief.—περὶ ὧν κ. λόγων: an attraction, to be thus resolved: περὶ τῶν λόγων οὓς κατηχήθης. λόγων is best taken = matters (πραγμάτων, Luke 1:1), histories (Weizsäcker), not doctrines. Doubtless this is a Hebraistic sense, but that is no objection, for after all Lk. is a Hellenist and no pure Greek, and even in this preface, whose pure Greek has been so often praised, he is a Hellenist to a large extent. (So Hahn, Einleitung, p. 6.) The subject of instruction for young Christians in those early years was the teaching, the acts, and the experience of Jesus: their “catechism” historic not doctrinal.—κατηχήθης: is this word used here in a technical sense = formally and systematically instructed, or in the general sense of “have been informed more or less correctly”? (So Kypke.) The former is more probable. The verb (from κατὰ, ἠχέω) is mainly Hellenistic in usage, rare in profane authors, not found in O. T. The N. T. usage, confined to Lk. and Paul, points to regular instruction (vide Romans 2:18).

This preface gives a lively picture of the intense, universal interest felt by the early Church in the story of the Lord Jesus: Apostles constantly telling what they had seen and heard; many of their hearers taking notes of what they said for the benefit of tnemselves and others: through these gospelets acquaintance with the evangelic history circulating among believers, creating a thirst for more and yet more; imposing on such a man as Luke the task of preparing a Gospel as full, correct, and well arranged as possible through the use of all available means—previous writings or oral testimony of surviving eye-witnesses.

4. mightest know] Rather, mayest fully know.

of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed] Rather, of those accounts in which thou wast orally instructed. Galatians 6:6. From the word κατηχεῖν ‘to teach orally’ comes our ‘catechise,’ &c. Oral instruction (katechesis) flourished especially at Alexandria, which was famous for its catechetical school. This may possibly have favoured the notion that Theophilus was an Alexandrian.

Luke 1:4. Ἵνα, that) Expressing the scope of the whole work, [which in John is stated at the close of his Gospel, ch. Luke 21:24.—Harm., p. 34.]—ἐπιγνῷς, thou mightest clearly perceive) The compound verb is emphatic.[2]—κατηχήθης, thou hast been instructed) by the mouth of others. This κατήχησις[3] also comprises sacred history. Luke hereby claims to himself greater authority than that of those from whom Theophilus had previously received instruction.—[τὴν ἀσφάλειαν, the certainty) This unerring certainty has place, where nothing of a spurious character is added, nothing that is necessary is omitted (left to be wished for, desideratur), and all the particulars are attested and proved by adequate documents and proofs.—V. g.]

[2] The ἐπὶ augments the force of the simple verb. Wahl explains it, plane et accuratè cognoscere.—ED. and TRANSL.

[3] Whence Engl. word, catechism, catechetical.—ED. and TRANSL.

Luke 1:4Mightest know (ἐπιγνῷς)

See on Matthew 7:16. With the idea of full knowledge; or, as regards Theophilus, of more accurate knowledge than is possible from the many who have undertaken the narration.

Certainty (ἀσφάλειαν)

From ἀ, not, and σφάλλομαι, to fall. Hence steadfastness, stability, security against error.

Wast instructed (κατήχηθης)

From κατηχέω, to resound; to teach by word of mouth; and so, in Christian writers, to instruct orally in the elements of religion. It would imply that Theophilus had, thus far, been orally instructed. See on delivered, Luke 1:2. The word catechumen is derived from it.

Things (λόγων)

Properly words (so Wyc.), which Rev. gives in margin. If the word can mean thing at all, it is only in the sense of the thing spoken of; the subject or matter of discourse, in which sense it occurs often in classical Greek. Some render it accounts, histories; others, doctrines of the faith. Godet translates instruction, and claims that not only the facts of the gospel, but the exposition of the facts with a view to show their evangelical meaning and to their appropriation by faith, are included in the word. There is force in this idea; and if we hold to the meaning histories, or even words, this sense will be implied in the context. Luke has drawn up his account in order that Theophilus may have fuller knowledge concerning the accounts which he has heard by word of mouth. That his knowledge may go on from the facts, to embrace their doctrinal and evangelical import; that he may see the facts of Jesus' life and ministry as the true basis of the Gospel of salvation.

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