“Right hand” in the Bible and Who was Theophilus?

“The right side and right hand are generally associated in figurative language and symbolic use with strength, favor, and good fortune.”[1] Furthermore, as Marvin Vincent states, “The meaning is, “be associated with me in my royal dignity.” Comp. Dan. 7:13, 14, and the combination of the Psalm and Daniel in Christ’s words, Mk. 14:62. Comp. also Matt. 24:30; Acts 2:34; 1 Cor. 15:25; 1 Pet. 3:22.”[2] With each time mentioned, we should understand that Jesus, God’s only Son is at the position of honor and this marks the relationship between Jesus Christ and God the Father.

Theophilus, meaning “friend or beloved by God”[3], is mentioned twice in the Bible and both being mentioned by Luke. (Luke 1:3; Acts 1:1) Some have concluded that Theophilus means the Christian reader or that this was an undercover name for someone in a high political standing. In Luke 1:3 (ESV) “it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus.” With Luke, referring to Theophilus as “most excellent” it is logical to conclude that this was an actual person not to the general Christian reader. As Allen Myers states, “Theophilus may have been a member of the equestrian class, though the honorific title “most excellent” (Gk. krátistos; Luke 1:3) is used both in addressing Roman officials, notably procurators (e.g., Acts 23:26; 24:2; 26:25) and as a common courteous address. Theophilus was most likely a Gentile “God-fearer” in need of an “orderly account” of the gospel, about which he may have had some knowledge.”[4]

Bibliography

Bock, Darrell L. Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group, 2007.

Myers, Allen C. The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987.

Vincent, Marvin, R. Word Studies in the New Testament. Vol. 4. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887.


[1] Allen C. Myers, The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987), 887.

[2] Marvin Richardson Vincent, vol. 4, Word Studies in the New Testament (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887), 392.

[3] Bock, Darrell L. Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group, 2007), 52.

[4] Allen C. Myers, The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987), 998.

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