Session 4: The Gospel of Luke
By the end of this session you should be able to:
give an overview of the themes and structure of the gospel of Luke
be able to state approximately when the gospel was written and who the author may have been
give an account of how the main themes of the gospel relate to your faith journey and ministry as well as that of the church as a whole.
God love and life
May I learn more of you and of your love for
your people and your world as I look into the gospel
of Luke. Open my eyes to new things in familiar passages and open my heart to the moving of your spirit.
This session introduces us to the main themes of Luke's gospel, when it might have been written, and some interesting things within it that we might never have noticed. It is structured in the same way as the previous sessions. As always please choose a couple of questions that particularly interest you and answer those rather than trying to tackle all of them.
Part 1 Questions for Reflection
Did you realise that Luke was a gentile? What effect do you think this had on his writing and his view of God?
Had you ever noticed how much about the 'outcast' there is in the gospel of Luke? Why do you think there is so much emphasis on this and what does it say to you for your Christian walk and for the Church today?
Had you noticed the importance of women in the gospel? What do you make of that and what does this say to you today?
Write your thoughts in your learning journal.
Part 2 and Questions for Reflection
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0:00 - 3.47 Who was Luke?
a) Luke was a gentile but knew the Old Testament very well. Why do you think Luke felt it was so important to know the the OT? How well do we know it as Christians today and what implications might that have for our faith?
3.48 - 13.06 Date of Writing & the Book of Acts
b) Had you ever thought of Luke and Acts as a two volume book? How does this idea impact your reading of both books?
c) What do you think about Paula's idea that 'the real heart of the world is heaven'? What effect might that have on how we live our Christian lives?
d) Luke is very clear that Paul is not like Jesus. Do you think that sometimes in our churches we can magnify Paul too much? For example, many churches preference the epistles over the gospels, having the epistle reading every week rather than the the gospel and preaching more on the epistles than the gospels. What effect do you think that has on our theology as Christians?
13.07 - 16.06 Imitating the Old Testament
e) What do you think about Paul's suggestion that Luke saw himself as continuing the writings of the Old Testament? What effect do you think that might have had on his Gentile audience?
16.07 - end Details and Storytelling
f) Had you ever noticed how many details are missing from the stories in Luke's gospel? How do you think this affects to our reading? Do you agree with Paula that it draws us in more because we can use our own imaginations? What effect do you think this has on our interpretation of the gospel?
Post your thoughts on one question only on the Forum
Spotlight on Doctrine
The doctrine of the incarnation (God becoming a human being in Jesus) demonstrates God's desire to reach all of humankind. Luke says a lot about those on the margins of his society - outcasts and women. Mary's beautiful song of praise in Luke 1, often called 'the Magnificat', is a clear declaration of this. The angels' appearance to the Shepherds is also a clear indication of this because shepherds were on the very lowest strata of society at the time. So even before Jesus' birth, Luke tells us that God's mercy and love reaches out to everyone. How does your church demonstrate this and how do you demonstrate it in your own journey of faith?
Spotlight on Spirituality
Mary's song from Luke 1 is often said or sung in churches, either as a metrical setting (ie a hymn or chorus) or as a chant. This lovely piece of writing from Luke presents Mary as being so full of joy in God and so full of God's spirit that she can't help but declare God's praise. Has that ever happened to you? How did you react? For some people it might be singing, for others dancing, for yet others shouting with joy etc. When did you last sing or say the Magnificat in your church?
Reflection & Prayer
What has particularly struck you in this session?
Is there anything you found difficult and why do think that was?
What has particularly challenged you for your own faith journey, and what has comforted you?
Pray about what you have learned, thanking God for any new insights into the gospel of Luke and lifting to God anyone who has come into your thoughts as you have studied.
Something Practical To Do
In what ways can you see Luke's theology of God's love for the poor and the outcast demonstrated in your church and in your own life?
Where else do you see this being worked out in the world?
Share some of what you have found on the discussion board in the discussion Forum (this post is required).