There have been many presumptions made about the author of Luke’s Gospel narrative, and about how he formulated his narrative and what his purpose was with respect to his recipient, Theophilus, and by extension to us, Luke’s larger audience. It may be fun to explore these ideas further. I hope to do this not only by demanding proof of our more traditional assumptions about Luke and his labor in the Gospel, but also by presenting an alternative perspective that may fit the context of his work better.
Most scholars interpret Luke’s first verse to mean many unknown people had decided to write their own narratives about Jesus’ teachings and works, but their works had either failed to come down to us or at least some were incorporated in either Luke’s or Matthew’s account. Some, perhaps, have even found their way into John’s narrative. However, there seems to be a flaw in this thinking, because it is assumed the Apostles handed down what Jesus said and did through oral tradition. Then, decades later, these things were written down for posterity. Notice, as well, that the Greek word for narrative (G1335; declaration or account in some translations) is in the singular. Luke points to only one narrative before his own. In other words Luke is saying that the many people in verse-1 drew up a single narrative (G1335)!
This brings to mind what Papias, one of the church fathers of the 2nd century AD, wrote down:
“Matthew put together the oracles [of the Lord] in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could.” (Fragments of Papias; book 6 – emphasis mine)
In the same book Papias wrote that Mark was “the interpreter of Peter (and) wrote down accurately whatsoever he remembered.” That is, Matthew wrote down what the other apostles interpreted from their memories, just as Mark wrote down what he interpreted from what he remembered about Peter’s Gospel. This seems to fit the context of Luke 1:1 where the many people have taken in hand to draw up (G392) a narrative from what they remembered about the teachings and works of Christ.
If this is an accurate analysis, then what most scholars have thought about Luke 1:1 is clearly wrong. Rather, it is the Apostles, themselves, who are drawing up this narrative, which Luke confirms in Luke 1:2: “Since they who delivered (it) unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word (Logos, i.e. Jesus).” That is, those who have taken in hand to draw up this narrative about Jesus, were his eyewitnesses and ministers.
If this is a surprising conclusion, consider this. In Luke 1:3 Luke points out to Theophilus that, since the above is so, it seemed good to him (Luke) to draw up his own account, because he has had perfect understanding from the first. What a statement! Luke is putting his own work on par with that of the Apostles! How can he make such a statement, if his account is second hand, compiled through research? It cannot be considered on par with the eyewitness account of the Apostles, unless Luke is also writing an account based largely on his own memory. Naturally, the introduction, which includes the birth accounts of John and Jesus, the names of the heads of state during the 1st century AD and Jesus temptation and genealogy, had to have been done through accurate investigation. However, much of what remains would have to come from what Luke both heard and saw concerning Jesus.
What does Luke mean by saying having had perfect understanding (G3877) from the beginning? Thayer shows the sense most often used is to carefully follow or accompany, and only metaphorically is it used for “investigation.” Nevertheless, most scholars today translate the Greek word (G3837) as investigated. Even so, if Luke is putting his narrative on par with that of the Twelve, he seems to be saying he is also an eyewitness, and wants Theophilus to consider his account very seriously.
Finally, Luke tells Theophilus the purpose of his narrative, namely that Theophilus (and by extension any reader) “that you might know the certainty of those things about which you have been informed” In other words Luke’s narrative is intended to be apologetic as well as evangelistic.
 Ingressive aorist middle infinitive. This verb anataxasthai has been found only in Plutarch’s Moral. 968 CD about an elephant “rehearsing” by moonlight certain tricks it had been taught (Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary). That was from memory going regularly through the thing again. [Robertson’s Word Pictures]
 Taking Thayer’s second meaning of the Greek word (G2531).
 There is some belief among the scholars that parakoloutheo (G3877) does not mean to investigate. The same word is used in 2Timothy 3:10. Timothy mentally followed, even witnessed, Paul’s teaching and manner of life?