The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,…
I. HE COLLECTED HIS FACTS WITH CARE AND DILIGENCE (Luke 1:1-3). This complete knowledge of all that Jesus began both to do and to teach suggests the importance of endeavouring to gain a more perfect knowledge of the Word of God. There is a great readiness in quoting certain texts or favourite portions, but the fulness of which St. Luke speaks is rare. The Word of God cannot be said to be unknown, but it does not "dwell richly in us in all wisdom." Hence truths are magnified into undue proportions, and important doctrines are passed over slightly, because they do not well enter into some peculiar system.
II. HIS COLLECTION WAS LIMITED BY THE BOUNDARIES OF REVELATION. It did not go beyond what God made known by His Son. Here, again, we may learn the importance of not going beyond the revealed Word whenever we attempt to review God's dealings with mankind, anti especially of the redemption of the world by Christ. If there be danger in a partial knowledge of God's truth, there is perhaps more in adding to the things which God has revealed. It is this which has caused so much superstition.
III. He recognised that a knowledge of "all that Jesus began to do and to teach," however comprehensive and however free from mixture, will not prove a saving knowledge unless it be CONVEYED TO THE SOUL BY THE POWER OF GOD. St. Luke describes the commandments of Jesus as given unto the apostles by the Spirit. It is possible for any man to learn these commandments. The letter of the law and the facts of the gospel are within the reach of the poorest capacity. But, in order to make the knowledge available, the Spirit of God must take of the things so learnt, and show them to the soul. "No man can say that Jesus is the Christ but by the Holy Ghost." It is impossible to read the Acts without seeing that the Holy Spirit was the acting Guide of all the sayings and actions of the first teachers of Christianity. Looking upon the doctrines of the gospel as a medicine to heal our spiritual sickness, we must suppose that the medicine is taken, and that it penetrates through the constitution of the sick soul.
IV. IT REQUIRES STRONG CONVICTIONS OF THE TRUTHS WE BELIEVE IN ORDER TO BE DILIGENT IN THE PROPAGATION OF THEM. Our zeal for the cause of the Redeemer, our desires for the advancement of His glory, our prayers for the prevalence of His truth, will all be in proportion to the depth of our conviction that this is the Word of God. The earliest impressions are liable to be effaced by time, by the world and its cares, by the changes of our own views, by the speculative views of others, etc. We have need, therefore, of watchfulness, lest that which is within us lose its power and freshness, and we begin in the routine of duty and form to think less and less of the power of godliness.
(R. Burgess, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,