Luke 1:2
Even as they delivered them to us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;
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(2) Even as they delivered them unto us.—There is something noticeable in the candour with which the writer disclaims the character of an eyewitness. The word “delivered” is the same as that used by St. Paul when he speaks of the history of the Lord’s Supper (1Corinthians 11:23-25) and of the Resurrection (1Corinthians 15:3-7), and, with its cognate noun “tradition” (2Thessalonians 2:15), would seem to have been almost a technical term for the oral teaching which at least included an outline of our Lord’s life and teaching.

Ministers of the word.—The word used is that which describes the work of an attendant, something between a “slave” and a “minister,” in the later ecclesiastical use of the term as equivalent to “deacon” or “preacher.” It is used of St. Mark in Acts 13:5. On the opportunities St. Luke enjoyed for converse with such as these, see Introduction. The “word” is used in its more general Pauline sense (as e.g., 1Corinthians 1:18; 1Corinthians 2:4), as equivalent to the “gospel,” not in the higher personal meaning which it acquired afterwards in St. John (1John 2:14).

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.As they delivered them - As they narrated them. As they gave an account of them.

From the beginning - From the commencement of these things - that is, from the birth of John, or perhaps from the beginning of the ministry of Jesus.

Eye-witnesses - Who had seen those things themselves, and who were therefore proper witnesses.

Ministers of the word - The term "word" here means the "gospel." Luke never uses it, as John does, to denote the second Person of the Trinity. These eye-witnesses and ministers refer, doubtless, to the seventy disciples, to the apostles, and perhaps to other preachers who had gone forth to proclaim the same things.

2. from the beginning—that is, of His public ministry, as is plain from what follows. See Poole on "Luke 1:1" Even as they delivered them unto us,.... By whom the evangelist means, as appears from the after description of them, the twelve apostles, and seventy disciples; who handed down to others the accounts of the birth, life, and death of Christ; and according to which the above Christians proposed to write:

which from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word; either of the Gospel, or rather of Christ himself, the eternal Word of God; for from the beginning of Christ's preaching the Gospel, or as soon as he entered upon his public ministry, he called his apostles, as Simon, Andrew, James, John, &c. and afterwards seventy disciples; who were eyewitnesses of him, of the truth of his incarnation, and of his ministry and miracles; saw, and conversed with him after his resurrection from the dead and beheld his ascension to heaven; and were ministers that were called, qualified, and sent out by him and waited on him, and served him. This shows, as is by some rightly observed, that Luke was not one of the seventy disciples, as some (i) have thought, and as the title of this Gospel, to the Arabic version of it, expresses; for then he would have been an eyewitness himself: nor did he take his account from the Apostle Paul; for he was not a minister of the word from the beginning, but was as one born out of due time,

(i) Epiphan. contra Haeres. l. 2. Haeres. 51. Theophylact. in Argument in Luc.

{b} Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;

(b) Luke was not any eye witness, and therefore it was not he to whom the Lord appeared when Cleopas saw him: and he was taught not only by Paul, but by others of the apostles also.

Luke 1:2. Καθώς] neither quatenus, nor belonging to πεπληροφ. (in opposition, as respects both, to Kuinoel, as respects the latter also to Olshausen), but introducing the How, the modal definition of ἀνατάξ. διήγησιν.

παρέδοσαν] have delivered. It is equally erroneous to refer this merely to written (Königsm. de fontibus, etc., in Pott’s Sylloge, III. p. 231; Hug), or merely to oral communication, although in the historical circumstances the latter was by far the preponderating.[16] Holtzmann appropriately remarks: “The subjects of ΠΑΡΈΔΟΣΑΝ and the ΠΟΛΛΟΊ are not distinguished from one another as respects the categories of the oral and written, but as respects those of primary and secondary authority.” For the ΠΟΛΛΟΊ, as for Luke himself, who associates himself with them by ΚἈΜΟΊ, the ΠΑΡΆΔΟΣΙς of the ΑὐΤΌΠΤΑΙ was the proper source, in accordance with which therefore he must have critically sifted the attempts of those ΠΟΛΛΟΊ, so far as he knew them (Luke 1:3).

ἈΠʼ ἈΡΧῆς] namely, of those ΠΡΑΓΜΆΤΩΝ. But it is not the time of the birth of Jesus that is meant (so most commentators, including Kuinoel and Olshausen), but that of the entrance of Jesus on His ministry (Euthymius Zigabenus, de Wette); comp. John 15:27; Acts 1:21 f., which explanation is not “audacious” (Olshausen), but necessary, because the αὐτόπται καὶ ὑπηρέται τοῦ λόγου are the same persons, and therefore under the αὐτόπται there are not to be understood, in addition to the first disciples, Mary also and other members of the family. ἈΠʼ ἈΡΧῆς therefore is not to be taken absolutely, but relatively.

ὙΠΗΡΈΤΑΙ ΤΟῦ ΛΌΓΟΥ] ministri evangelii (the doctrine κατʼ ἐξοχήν, comp. Acts 8:7; Acts 14:25; Acts 16:6; Acts 17:11). These were the Twelve and other ΜΑΘΗΤΑΊ of Christ (as according to Luke also the Seventy), who were in the service of the gospel for the purpose of announcing it. Comp. Luke 3:7; Acts 6:4; Colossians 1:23; Acts 26:16; 1 Corinthians 4:1. Others (Erasmus, Castalio, Beza, Grotius, Maldonatus, al., including Kuinoel) take τοῦ λόγου in the sense of the matter concerned, of the contents of the history spoken of (see on Acts 8:21); but it would be just as inappropriate to ὑπηρέται as it would be quite superfluous, since ΤΟῦ ΛΌΓΟΥ must by no means be attached to ΑὐΤΌΠΤΑΙ also. Finally, it is a mistake to refer it to Christ in accordance with John 1:1. So Origen, Athanasius, Euthymius Zigabenus, Valla, Calovius, and others, including Stein (Kommentar, Halle 1830). It is only John that names Christ ὁ λόγος.

Theophylact, moreover, aptly observes: ἘΚ ΤΟΎΤΟΥ (namely, from ΚΑΘῺς ΠΑΡΈΔΟΣΑΝ ἩΜῖΝ Κ.Τ.Λ.) ΔῆΛΟΝ, ὍΤΙ ΟὐΚ ἮΝ Ὁ ΛΟΥΚᾶς ἈΠʼ ἈΡΧῆς ΜΑΘΗΤῊς, ἈΛΛʼ ὙΣΤΕΡΌΧΡΟΝΟς· ἌΛΛΟΙ ΓᾺΡ ἮΣΑΝ ΟἹ ἈΠʼ ἈΡΧῆς ΜΑΘΗΤΕΥΘΕΝΤΕςΟἻ ΚΑῚ ΠΑΡΈΔΟΣΑΝ ΑὐΤῷ Κ.Τ.Λ. By ἩΜῖΝ the writer places himself in the second generation; the first were the immediate disciples of Christ, οἱ ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς αὐτόπται καὶ ὑπηρέται. This ὙΠΗΡΈΤΑΙ, however, is not chosen for the sake of placing the Twelve on an equality with Paul (Acts 26:16). As though the word were so characteristic for Paul in particular! Comp. John 18:36; 1 Corinthians 4:1.

[16] Of the written materials of this παράδοσις of the αὐτόπται we know with certainty only the λόγια of Matthew according to Papias.Luke 1:2. καθὼς implies that the basis of these many written narratives was the παράδοσις of the Apostles, which, by contrast, and by the usual meaning of the word, would be mainly though not necessarily exclusively oral (might include, e.g., the Logia of Mt.).—οἱτοῦ λόγου describes the Apostles, the ultimate source of information, as men “who had become, or been made, eye-witnesses and ministers of the word”. Both αὐτόπτ. and ὑπηρ. may be connected with τοῦ λόγου, understood to mean the burden of apostolic preaching = the facts of Christ’s earthly history. Eye-witnesses of the facts from the beginning (ἀπʼ-ἀρχῆς), therefore competent to state them with authority; servants of the word including the facts (= “all that Jesus began both to do and to teach”), whose very business it was to relate words and facts, and who therefore did it with some measure of fulness. Note that the ἡμῖν after παρέδοσαν implies that Lk. belonged to the second generation (Meyer, Schanz). Hahn infers from the ἡμῖν in Luke 1:1 that Lk. was himself an eye-witness of Christ’s public ministry, at least in its later stage.2. even as they delivered them unto us, which] The English version is here ambiguous; and the way in which it is often read shews how completely it is misunderstood. It does not mean ‘that the writers of these narratives delivered them to St Luke and others who were eyewitnesses, &c.,’ but that ‘since many undertook to rearrange the facts which have been delivered (1 Corinthians 11:23; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:15) as a sacred treasure or tradition (1 Timothy 6:20; 2 Timothy 1:14) to us Christians by those who became eyewitnesses’ (which St Luke does not claim to be) ‘and ministers of the word, I too determined, &c.’ The words imply that the narratives to which St Luke alludes were secondhand—that they were rearrangements of an oral tradition received from apostles and original disciples. Clearly therefore there can be no allusion to the Gospel of St Matthew, who wrote his own narrative and would have had no need to use one which had been ‘delivered’ and ‘handed down’ to him.

eyewitnesses, and ministers] Those who delivered to the Church the facts of the Saviour’s life had ‘personal knowledge and practical experience,’ which these narrators had not. (See Acts 1:21-22.)Luke 1:2. Παρέδοσαυ ἡυῖν, they have delivered to us) to me, and to the other companions of the apostles.—ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς, from the beginning) It was not from Paul alone, who was converted after the beginning, that Luke received his information.—αὐτόπται καὶ ὑπηρέται) They themselves saw [αὐτὸς ὄπτεσθαι being the components of αὐτόπτης], and, what is more, ministered. So also Paul was a minister and witness: Acts 26:16; so also the mother of our Lord herself, Mary: Acts 1:14. There were many such witnesses, advanced in years, and so of the highest authority [for instance, the twelve apostles, the seventy disciples, Mary Magdalene, and several more.—V. g.]: 1 Corinthians 15:6; Romans 16:7. It was such as these themselves, and the companions of such, who wrote the books of the New Testament. No room was left for doubting.—τοῦ λόγου, of the word) Acts 10:36. This one ‘word’ embraces many ‘words,’ Luke 1:4 [ὧν κατηχήθης λόγων: subjects of instruction].Verse 2. - Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eye-witnesses, and ministers of the Word. The general accuracy of the recitals contained in those early Gospels is here conceded, as the source of these primitive writings was the tradition delivered by the eye-witnesses of the acts of Jesus; among these eye-witnesses the apostles would, of course, hold the foremost place. The whole statement may be roughly paraphrased thus: "The narrative of the memorable events which have been accomplished in our midst many have undertaken to compose. These different narratives are in strict conformity with the apostles' tradition, which men who were themselves eye-witnesses of the great events, and subsequently ministers of the Word, handed down to us. Now, I have traced up all these traditions anew to their very sources, and propose rewriting them in consecutive order, that you, my lord Theophilus, may be fully convinced of the positive certainty of those great truths in which you have been instructed." Eye-witnesses, anal ministers of the Word; witnesses of the events of the public ministry of Jesus, from the baptism to the Ascension. These men, in great numbers, after Pentecost, became ministers and preachers of the Word. Even as

Referring to the composition of the narrative.

Delivered (παρέδοσαν)

Not necessarily excluding written traditions, but referring mainly to oral tradition. Note the distinction between the many who attempted to draw up a narrative and the eye-witnesses and ministers who handed down the facts.

From the beginning (ἀπ' ἀρχῆς)

The official beginning, the commencement of Jesus' ministry. Compare Acts 1:1, Acts 1:21, Acts 1:22; John 15:27.

Eye-witnesses and ministers

Personal knowledge and practical experience were necessary elements of an apostle. Eye-witnesses (εὐτόπται). Only here in New Testament. Peter uses another word, ἐπόπται (2 Peter 1:16). Frequent in medical writers, of a personal examination of disease or of the parts of the body. Compare the modern medical term autopsy. Ministers (ὑπηρέται). See on Matthew 5:25. In medical language denoting the attendants or assistants of the principal physician.

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