Whatever may be said of the preface’s style, the content it promises for the work is telling. A good introduction should summarize what is to follow, and Luke’s summary of what will follow is explicitly historical; “an orderly narrative of the things fulfilled among us” (Luke 1:1, 3). Likewise, his explicit purpose is to confirm what Theophilus has learned about such events (1:4). “Given this statement of the question,” Callan points out, “it is almost obvious that the preface of Luke-Acts most resembles the prefaces of histories” in terms of content. Various scholars point to a conglomeration of language in Luke’s preface familiar from other historical prefaces. (Even Loveday Alexander, who has contended that the Gospel preface resembles a scientific preface, allows that the work may be historiography, but of the more scientific, less rhetorical kind.)
This content is by Dr. Craig Keener, but edited and posted by Defenders Media.
For more, please check out Dr. Keener’s Between History and Spirit.