What is the name of the person who received the message of Jesus from Theophilus?

Editor’s note:  This letter is coming from a Muslim who is trying to show that one cannot trust Luke because we do not even know who the book was written to.  This will explain some of the answer below.


The books of Acts and Luke were addressed to a person named Theophilus.  The identity of this person is unknown.  Scholars differ as to who he might be.  This is really not relevant to how we use the book.  From the style, it is clear that these were intended to be open letters to all people, not just to Theophilus.   Luke used a common literary device of his day, which was to address a particular person, even though he intended a general audience.   In fact, this is pretty much exactly the same with the Qur’an.   Muhammad addressed many letters to specific people, but we understand that his intention was for these letters to be general ones—to be for all the people, not just for the original recipient of the letter.  As a rule, we do not know the primary recipients of many of his letters/suras, but it really does not matter because the message is clearly intended for a general audience.   In this sense, Acts and the Qur’an are similar.

John Oakes

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