Monday Study Notes: Luke ch. 1

If you missed NGBC’s Monday night small group Bible study this week, here are the Bible study notes for Luke ch. 1 so that you’ll be able to keep up with the group. If you’re not currently part of this group but you’d like to be, call or e-mail me for directions.

Monday Study Notes
Luke, chapter 1

I. Luke introduces his narrative (1-4).

A. His purpose
Luke wrote to reinforce the teaching that Theophilus has received about Jesus Christ. ―”That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed” (4).

B. His additional witnesses
His recollection of Jesus’ life is corroborated by many others. ―”many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration” (1).

C. His eyewitness corroboration
The Gospels are trustworthy because they are backed-up by eyewitnesses to the events. ―”Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word” (2).

D. His painstaking research
Luke, though not an eyewitness himself, had done enough research to make him an expert on Jesus’ life. ―”having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first” (3).

E. His accurate recording
Luke strove to accurately record what he knew. ―”to write unto thee in order” (3).

F. His belief in his own claims
Early Christians firmly believed the claims made in the canonical Gospels. ―”those things which are most surely believed among us” (1).

II. The birth of John the Baptist is foretold (5-25).

A. Who John would be

  • A great man of God ―”he shall be great in the sight of the Lord” (15).
  • A Spirit-filled man ―”he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost” (15).
  • Possibly a Nazirite ―”shall drink neither wine nor strong drink” (15).
  • Dedicated to God, even before birth ―”even from his mother’s womb” (15).
  • A preacher of repentance ―”And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God” (16).
  • A prophet to announce the Messiah ―”And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (17).

B. Zechariah’s background and response

  • Zechariah and Elizabeth are aged and childless (7).
  • Their story parallels the earlier story of Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 18:11).
  • As observant Jews, from a priestly lineage, they should have been familiar with God’s ability to do the impossible (5-6).
  • They had even prayed for children (13).
  • Yet Zechariah doubts Gabriel’s announcement (18).
  • He seeks confirmation; his question assumes that what God has said is impossible. ―”Whereby shall I know this?” (18).
  • God then renders Zechariah mute until the prophecy is fulfilled (20-22).
  • Elizabeth miraculously conceives, and responds to God with thankfulness (23-25).

III. The birth of Jesus Christ is foretold (26-38).

A. Prophecies about the Messiah already fulfilled by Jesus before His birth

  • The Messiah would come from David’s royal line: foretold in Isaiah 9:7 (27).
  • The Messiah would be born to a virgin: foretold in Isaiah 7:14 (27).
  • NOTE: Some scholars who wish to deny the virgin birth allege that the Hebrew word almah, translated as “virgin” in the above verse simply means “young woman.” While it is true that this word can mean either “young woman” or “virgin,” the context of the verse shows us which meaning is correct: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son […].” If a sign from God is intended, a virgin birth is truly remarkable; a generic, young woman conceiving is hardly remarkable enough to be a sign from God.

B. Who Jesus would be

  • A great man ―”He shall be great” (32).
  • The King of Israel ―”the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David” (32).
  • An eternal ruler ―”And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (33).
  • Pure and committed to God ―”that holy thing which shall be born of thee” (35).
  • Conceived by the Holy Spirit ―”The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee” (35).
  • The Son of God ―”shall be called the Son of the Highest,” and “shall be called the Son of God” (32,35).
  • The Savior of the world: His name in Hebrew means the Lord saves, as revealed in Matthew 1:21 ―”and shalt call his name JESUS” (31).

C. Mary’s background and response

  • Mary was a young virgin from Nazareth in Galilee: possibly as young as 12, though the Bible does not give her exact age (26-27).
  • She was betrothed to Joseph, a step between engagement and marriage (27).
  • She had been chosen by God above all others to carry out His plan ―”Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women” (28).
  • She is startled by Gabriel’s sudden appearance (29-30).
  • Mary too asks a question, but in contrast to Zechariah, she is simply looking for understanding, not for confirmation; her question assumes that God’s word will come true and simply asks how ―”How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (34).
  • Gabriel reminds Mary that God can do anything, using Elizabeth’s pregnancy as an example (36-37).
  • Mary willingly submits to God’s plan, calling herself His servant (38).

IV. The unborn Jesus is recognized as the Messiah (39-45).

A. Recognition by John

  • At the sound of Mary’s voice, John leaped inside Elizabeth’s womb in a discernible way ―”when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb” (41).
  • Elizabeth ties this reaction to the presence of her Lord (43-44).
  • Even before he is born, John has already begun fulfilling his job of pointing people to the Messiah…from the womb (15).

B. Recognition by Elizabeth

  • At John’s reaction, Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit, Who likely reveals to her things that she might not have otherwise known (41).
  • She repeats part of Gabriel’s greeting to Mary ―”Blessed art thou among women” (42).
  • She knows that Mary is pregnant, and acknowledges the baby as her Lord (42-43).
  • She understands John’s reaction to the Messiah’s presence (44).
  • She knows that God has revealed His plan for the Messiah to Mary (45).

V. Mary praises God (46-56).

A. Mary shows humility before God ―”he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden” (48).

B. She calls God her Lord and Savior ―”My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour” (46-47).

C. She praises Him for His

  • Might (49,51-52).
  • Holiness (49).
  • Mercy (50,53-54).
  • Faithfulness (55).

VI. John is born (57-66).

A. When the baby was born, Elizabeth called him John, as God had commanded (13,60).

B. The people objected, because tradition dictated that they would name him Zechariah, after his father (59,61-62).

C. Zechariah insisted that he be named John (63).

D. Because he finally believed God, Zechariah regained his ability to speak; and he praised God (64).

VII. Zechariah praises God and prophesies (67-80).

A. He says Jesus

  • Is the Redeemer of His people (68).
  • Is the Horn of salvation (69).
  • Is the fulfillment of prophecy (70).
  • Is the Savior (71).
  • Will bring God’s mercy (72).
  • Will remember God’s covenant with Abraham (72-73).
  • Will be served without fear, in holiness and righteousness (74-75).

B. He says John

  • Will be the prophet of God (76).
  • Will prepare the way of the Lord (76).
  • Will preach salvation and forgiveness through God’s mercy (77-78).
  • Will open the eyes of the people (79).