“Many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us. … It seemed good to me also … to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed” (Luke 1:1, 3, 4).
Do you love reading books? Louise Brown, 91, of Great Britain prob- ably has you beat. She has read up to a dozen books a week since 1946. Not once has she paid a fine for late returns on the 25,000 library books she has borrowed. Mrs. Brown, a widow, mainly gets large print books because she is partially sighted.
When it comes to the most read book in the world, James Chapman did research on individual copies of books printed and sold in the last fifty years to narrow down the list. The Harry Potter series is number three with 400 million copies, and Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung is number two with 820 million copies.
You shouldn’t be surprised that the Bible leads all other books by a wide margin. Nearly four billion copies of God’s Word have been printed and sold around the world in the last fifty years. A survey by the Bible Society estimates that in the last 100 years, over five billion copies of the Bible have been translated and printed in 349 languages, with at least one book of the Bible in 2,123 languages.
Theophilus, whose name means “lover of God,” must have been a lover of books, for it appears he commissioned Luke to write an account of Jesus. Perhaps this “most excellent” man (a title used for high-ranking officials) had the wealth to assist Luke in compiling his Gospel, then having it copied and distributed to others. His name is mentioned only once more in the dedication to the book of Acts.
Make it a daily habit to read the Bible. Don’t open the Scriptures just to set a record or to do your good deed for the day. Let the light of truth transform you into a modern-day Theophilus, a lover of God.
“Give me the Bible, holy message shining; Thy light shall guide me in the narrow way; precept and promise, law and love combining, till night shall vanish in eternal day.”
For Further Study: Luke 1; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21