lover of God, a Christian, probably a Roman, to whom Luke dedicated both his Gospel ( Luke 1:3 ) and the Acts of the Apostles ( 1:1 ). Nothing beyond this is known of him. From the fact that Luke applies to him the title "most excellent", the same title Paul uses in addressing Felix ( Acts 23:26 ; 24:3 ) and Festus ( 26:25 ), it has been concluded that Theophilus was a person of rank, perhaps a Roman officer.
friend of God
(friend of God ) the person to whom St. Luke inscribes his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. ( Luke 1:3 ; Acts 1:1 ) From the honorable epithet applied to him in ( Luke 1:3 ) it has been argued with much probability that he was a person in high official position. All that can be conjectured with any degree of safety concerning him comes to this, that he was a Gentile of rank and consideration who came under the influence of St. Luke or under that of St. Paul at Rome, and was converted to the Christian faith.
the-of'-i-lus (Theophilos, "loved of God"):
The one to whom Luke addressed his Gospel and the Ac of the Apostles (compare Luke 1:3; Acts 1:1). It has been suggested that Theophilus is merely a generic term for all Christians, but the epithet "most excellent" implies it was applied by Luke to a definite person, probably a Roman official, whom he held in high respect. Theophilus may have been the presbyter who took part in sending the letter from the Corinthians to Paul, given in the "Acta Pauli" (compare Hennecke, Neutestamentliche Apokryphen, 378). There is also a magistrate Theophilus mentioned in the "Ac of James" as being converted by James on his way to India (compare Budge, The Contendings of the Apostles, II, 299), but these and other identifications, together with other attempts to trace out the further history of the original Theophilus, are without sufficient evidence for their establishment (compare also Knowling in The Expositor Greek Testament, II, 49-51).
C. M. Kerr
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