Theophilus and the Centurions: Roman Officials as the “Most Excellent” Proponents of the Gospel in Luke-Acts
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This thesis explores the intersection and implications of two key findings in Luke-Acts. The first is that Luke wrote his two-volume work to Theophilus, a high-ranking Roman official who was sympathetic towards Christianity. The second is that centurions serve as proponents of the gospel at crucial points in the narrative. These centurions would demonstrate to Theophilus that the Christian message had already made inroads at the grassroots level of the Roman establishment. Chapter 1 provides an overview of my topic. Chapter 2 discusses Luke’s audience and the identity of Theophilus. Chapter 3 examines every appearance of centurions in Luke-Acts, highlighting their roles as proponents for the gospel. Chapter 4 shows that both Luke and the church fathers demonstrate the reasonableness of Christianity for political leaders. Chapter 5 provides an overall summary of my argument and explores implications for Christians and government leaders today.