the-of'-i-lus (Theophilos, "loved of God"): The one to whom Luke addressed his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles (compare Lu 1:3; Ac 1:1). It has been suggested that Theophilus is merely a generic term for all Christians, but the epithet "most excellent" implies it was applied by Luke to a definite person, probably a Roman official, whom he held in high respect. Theophilus may have been the presbyter who took part in sending the letter from the Corinthians to Paul, given in the "Acta Pauli" (compare Hennecke, Neutestamentliche Apokryphen, 378). There is also a magistrate Theophilus mentioned in the "Acts of James" as being converted by James on his way to India (compare Budge, The Contendings of the Apostles,II , 299), but these and other identifications, together with other attempts to trace out the further history of the original Theophilus, are without sufficient evidence for their establishment (compare also Knowling in The Expositor Greek Testament,II , 49-51).
C. M. Kerr