Luke Wrote Gospel-Acts to Help Paul in Upcoming Trial
Theophilus to whom Acts is addressed is a common name of that period. Luke’s manner of addressing him is as one would address a Roman investigator. The book of Acts presents Paul’s case that he was an orthodox member of a sect within the Roman-tolerated religion of Judaism.
As Mauck states:
“Luke-Acts was written as a legal defense of Paul as he awaited trial before Nero and was intended to bring the gospel to Theophilus even as he gathered facts concerning the charges against Paul.” (John W. Mauck, Esq., Paul on Trial: The Book of Acts as a Defense of Christianity (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2001) at 4.)
Mauck, a trial lawyer, is defending the “traditional view” that Luke was writing a legal defense.
This view was first advanced in 1720 by C.A. Heumann, “Dissertatio de Theophilo cui Lucas Historiam Sacram Inscripsit,” Bibliotheca historico-philologico-theologica, classis IV (Bremen, 1720) at 483-505 (arguing that Luke wrote to the Roman magistrate Theophilus to defend against false accusations against Christianity).
See Joshua Yoder, Representatives of Roman Rule: Roman Provincial Governors in Luke-Acts (Walter de Gruyter, 2014) at 6 (Heumann is the traditional view that “Theophilus was a pagan magistrate to whom Luke addressed his book as an apologia....”).