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Theophilus

THEOPHILUS (thē-ŏf'ĭ-lŭs, Gr. Theophilos). It is reasonable to suppose that Theophilus, to whom Luke dedicated both his gospel (1:3) and the Book of Acts (1:1), was a real person. The title “most excellent” demands this, while the name and title together suggest a person of equestrian rank who became a Christian convert. Theophilus is most probably a baptismal name (see W. M. Ramsay, St. Paul the Traveller and Roman Citizen, pp. 388-89). Nothing is known of the man. He was certainly not Seneca, as one rash conjecture would have it. It is impossible to decide whether he was pure Roman, Greek, or Jew, or whether the omission in Acts of the honorable title used in the Gospel indicates a deepening friendship when the second book was dedicated, the abandonment of office, or dismissal from office for professing the Christian faith.——EMB