In Acts 1:1 Luke says he wrote "concerning all things" that Jesus did and taught.

Acts 1:1 (ESV):

In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach

We know that Luke didn't write about everything Jesus did as Matthew, Mark, and John contain stories that Luke doesn't record. So what does Luke mean when he says "concerning all things".

I have heard that the root word for the greek can mean "all manner of things" but in cases when it does mean that, it seems that a different form is used than what is used in Acts 1:1 (πάντων). (I admit that I may have missed some examples and am open to any that may disprove this).

1 Answer 1


I'd like to first note that ancient writers often used hyperbolic language or general statements for rhetorical effect without intending to be taken completely literal.

Luke isn't saying he recorded every single detail. That would be impossible. However, while Luke may not have recorded every single detail, his use of "all things" doesn't necessarily mean every single detail but rather a thorough coverage of the main events and teachings that fulfill his purpose in writing them.

3956 /pás ("each, every") means "all" in the sense of "each (every) part that applies." The emphasis of the total picture then is on "one piece at a time." 365 (ananeóō) then focuses on the part(s) making up the whole – viewing the whole in terms of the individual parts.

Luke aimed to present a complete picture of Jesus' ministry and teachings, one piece at a time, true to his purpose. Luke had a picture that he wanted to complete in his writing, covering all the main points about Jesus and the ministry. By saying "I have dealt with all," I take it as Luke saying, "I accomplished all of what I set out to write."

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