We have already established that Luke has written the book of Acts, but what do we know about him? He is a coworker with Paul in the mission to bring God's good news throughout the world (Philemon 24.) He is a physician, affectionately mentioned in Paul's farewell to the Colossians (Colossians 4:14.) He was an amazing apologist(see below). He could defend the historicity and facts behind the beliefs espoused by Christians as he was one who spoke and interacted with Jesus' contemporaries daily. Luke knew Jesus and he wanted to continue to establish in the mind of Theophilus, and others, the accuracy of what was taught and he did it with amazing potency.
When we talk about apologetics we are talking about a defense of a belief, philosophy or worldview. In Luke's case (and in the case of Christian apologetics,) he is defending the Christian faith by presenting evidences for the veracity of what was written before (the Scriptures) and the overwhelming truth of the Christian worldview as seen in day to day life. Christian Apologetics studies evidences as diverse as manuscript evidence, geological phenomena, archaeological and historical support, and philosophical presuppositions.
Who is Luke going to great lengths for in his apology of the Christian Faith? Theophilus. He wrote the whole book of Luke and the Book of Acts to this man. So it would seem necessary to explore this historical character.
Who is Theophilus? Well he was definitely a real person who Luke was legitimately concerned for. It is important to note that Luke addresses him as “most excellent,” a title often used when referring to someone of honor or rank, such as a Roman official. Paul used the same term when addressing Felix (Acts 23:26; Acts 24:2) and Festus (Acts 26:25). Therefore, one of the most common theories is that Theophilus was possibly a Roman officer or high-ranking official in the Roman government. Yet another theory about the identity of Theophilus is that he was the Roman lawyer who defended Paul during his trial in Rome. Those who hold this theory believe that Luke’s purpose in writing Luke and Acts was to write a defense of Christianity, somewhat akin to a legal brief. If this theory is correct, Luke’s writings were designed to defend Paul in court against charges of insurrection and, at the same time, to defend Christianity against the charge that it was an illegal, anti-Roman religion.
In Acts 1:3 we see that Luke writing this to Theophilus to assure him that there is a sound, historical basis for his faith. The declaration that Jesus rose from the dead was no myth or unconfirmed rumor. Many people saw Him during that 40-day period —honest, reliable people, some of whom touched Him and even ate meals with Him. His appearances were not momentary visions, brought on by a state of religious ecstasy. People, going about their daily activities, who weren’t expecting to see Him alive, encountered Him. There were times of prolonged conversation with multiple witnesses present. In other words, Theophilus could be confident that his faith was founded on something that really happened. He was no fool for putting his faith in Christ.
What makes Luke a great apologist is his extensive knowledge of the Eye Witness accounts of Jesus and His works and his clear and thorough articulation of these accounts to present a complete defense of the Faith Theophilus is dealing with. Therefore, as we read the book of Acts, let us read it with the lens in which Luke wrote it: As an evangelistic legal brief written to a man to win him to Christ and defend the character and nature of Jesus through the testimony of Paul and the early church.