You will find an outline and introduction to Luke, here.
Here is a prayer from the Book of Common Worship to use with your reading.
O Lord our God, your Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Give us grace to receive your truth in faith and love, that we may be obedient to your will and live always for your glory; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
IV. The Ministry of Jesus in Galilee 4:14-9:50
E. 8:1-56 Proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom of God
8:1-3 Jesus’ followers, notice the role of women in Jesus’ ministry. In the first century, this would have been “extraordinary” (Johnson, 318)
8:4-21; V4-15 A parable. Is this parable about the sower, the seed, or the soil? V 16-18 the sayings that follow the parable function as commentary on the parable. How do the sayings change, reinforce or alter your understanding of the parable? Or do they? V 19-21 Jesus’ response is ambiguous. Are his mother and brothers followers or do those who follow Jesus become brother and mother? (My mother and my brothers, they are the ones who listen to the word of God and act on it; or These who hear and do the word of God are a mother and brothers to me)
8:22-56 Three stories of Jesus power over nature, demons, illness and death. v23,24- In the Hebrew Bible, the sea is a dangerous place, the creation story and Exodus story, along with the Job and Psalms attest to God’s power over the sea/chaos. Jesus does what God does.
v 28 The demons know who Jesus is. Pigs and tombs were unclean places for Jews. V 34-37 Learners/students sit at the feet of their teacher. Why are the people afraid? V38-39 this is the beginning of the mission to the gentiles. V40,-41 Jesus moves from a place of gentiles and ritual uncleanliness to conversation with the leader of the synagogue. Normally in the gospels, people in positions of religious authority are not sympathetic to Jesus and his ministry, Jarius is an exception. V43 the woman is ritually unclean and her presence in the crowd and her touching of Jesus causes others to be ritually unclean. This is a bold action. Why did she presume to touch Jesus? Is this why she hides initially?
Tombs, pigs, gentile demoniacs, hemorrhage, death- all cause ritual uncleanliness. But Jesus crosses these barriers and restores people to wholeness and restores community.
F. 9:1-50 Jesus’ Identity and the Nature of Discipleship:
9:1-17 Before the disciples were with Jesus, now they are actively involved in the mission. Jesus instructions to the disciples set a pattern for the early church. V7-9 why is this story about Herod placed here? In Luke’s gospel, this is the first time the reader learns that John is dead. V9 Once again the question is asked, Who is this? (see 5:21;7:19;7:49;8:25) V 12-17 The feeding of the five thousand is the only miracle told in all four gospels. How does the disciples concern about food and money compare or contrast to Jesus’ instructions in v3? In Luke’s telling of the event, none of the typical Jewish observances or concerns about meals are evident. Boundaries are, again, crossed by Jesus.
9:18-27 Again the question, who is Jesus? And prayer again. v21 following, Jesus clarifies what his being the Messiah means. He is not the messiah they were expecting.
9:28-50 Five scenes which tell us who Jesus is. V28 prayer, again. V34 recall in the Old Testament, God is present in a cloud. Recall that a voice from heaven spoke at Jesus baptism, when he was praying. What is translated as “departure” in verse 31 can also be referred to as his “exodus”. Notice the constellation of images from the OT book of Exodus and the story of Moses. In the transfiguration, who Jesus is, is revealed. Thinking ahead, when is the next time the disciples sleep when they should be awake?
Verses 37-43 Jesus heals a boy whom the disciples could not heal.
Verses 43b-45 Jesus predicts his death for the second time. The disciples keep silent about the transfiguration, cannot heal the possessed boy and do not understand Jesus’ prediction.
Verses 46-48 The disciples still don’t understand.
Verse 49-50 An unnamed man can do what the disciples, just a few verses ago, could not do. Who is “one of us”?
V. The Journey to Jerusalem 9:51-19:48
A. 9:51-10:42 Discipleship: Hearing and Doing the Word
The rejection in verses 51-56 echos the rejection at the beginning of Jesus ministry in Galilee (4:16-30) and foreshadows the rejection which lies ahead. Elijah called down fire from heaven on Samaritans (2 Kings 1), Jesus is not Elijah.
9:57-62 Three short encounters which help clarify the demands of discipleship.
10:1-20 After several episodes that illustrate the difficulty of discipleship, Jesus sends 70 people to proclaim the good news. Verse 18, scholars debate whether this is a description of a vision, or a metaphorical description of the disciples work. Is this a description of an event that has happened or a description of an event that will happen?
verses 21-24 prayer, again. How does this prayer help us answer Luke’s question, who is Jesus? How does this prayer help us interpret the sending of the 70?
10:25-28 The lawyer tests Jesus, meaning he is challenging Jesus. The question about eternal life is not just about life after death, but life in God’s kingdom. Verse 28 knowing is not sufficient, doing is important.
verses 29-37 The story of the good Samaritan. The expected sequence of travels would be priest, Levite and then Israelite; not Samaritan. There was a long standing enmity between Jews and Samaritans.
verses 38-42 Mary and Martha. Martha welcomes Jesus, recalling Jesus instructions to the 70 and the disciples. Mary acts, not like a traditional woman but as a male student.
B. 11:1-13 The Fatherhood of God:
11:1-4 Praying again. The Lord’s prayer. This is a simpler version than most people learn and pray.
11:5-8 a parable. (not an allegory) How does its location, just after the Lord’s prayer shape our interpretation. Notice how often the word “friend” appears in these 3 verses.
11:9-13 Is this about persistence or confidence in prayer? Or both?
11:14-54 Jesus Behavior Questioned An abrupt shift in the narrative.
11:14-36 The Crowd questions Jesus intentions. Previously Jesus has cast out demons and the crowd was amazed. This time also, but some question and test. verse 27, this blessing echos Gen 49:25 and Luke 1:42,45,48. Notice it is a woman who recognizes Jesus blessedness (via blessing his mother). verse 31-31 The Queen of the South or Sheba tested Solomon with hard questions and was convinced of his wisdom and blesses God (1 Kings 10:1-13). verse 32 remember the people of Ninevah were gentiles. Jesus is greater than the prophet Jonah and King Solomon.
11:37-54 This is the third time (but not the last time) that Jesus eats with a Pharisee. Jesus has had conflicts over meals with Pharisees before but the conflict is sharper this time. Jesus has broken the Pharisees conventions but is referred to as Lord by the author. What constitutes faithful response to God?
D. 12:1-13:9 Readiness for the Coming Judgment
12:1-12 notice the size of the crowd. What to fear and not to fear. To fear God is not to be afraid but, as in the Old Testament, means respect, reverence, obey. Verse 10 has been a source of much discussion among scholars. Among many ideas about its meaning, is the idea that this verse distinguishes between “an impulsive, momentary rejection of Jesus such as Peter’s denial of Jesus in the courtyard (Luke 22:54-62), from a persistent, obdurate rejection of God’s saving grace through the work of the Holy Spirit….If the difficult saying in v. 10 is to be interpreted as allowing forgiveness for those who fail to confess Jesus in such trials [persecution by authorities] (as did even Peter), then v. 10 stands as not only a warning against the unpardonable sin of persistently rejecting the overtures of God’s Spirit but also as a word of grace for those who falter under the threat of persecution. (Culpepper, 253)
12:13-21 a warning against greed and trusting the security of possessions.
12:22-34 more about not worrying about material things and what really matters. The Greek word translated as “anxious” can also mean “to put forth an effort” or “to strive after” (Culpepper, 259).
12:35-48 notice the unexpected action of the master in verse 37. Does Jesus answer Peter’s question in verse 40? Why do you think Luke includes this question?
12:49-53 verse 49 recalls John’s statement about Jesus in 3:16. Is this the fire of judgment or the fire of the Holy Spirit (Acts)? Also recall Simeon’s words in 2:34-35). The announcement of the Kingdom does not immediately bring peace. verse 54-59 Pay attention and be ready! What have we ignored? Where do we need reconciliation?
Read More About It:
Craddock, Fred B., “Luke”, in HarperCollins Bible Commentary, rev. ed.James L Mays, ed. (New York: Society of Bible Literature) 2000.
Culpepper, R. Alan, “The Gospel of Luke Introduction, Commentary, and Reflections” in The New Interpreter’s Bible, Volume IX, Leander E. Keck,ed. (Nashville, Abingdon Press)1995.
Green, Joel B., The Gospel of Luke, The New International Commentary on the New Testament. (Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans) 1997.
Johnson, Luke Timothy, The Writings of the New Testament: An Interpretation, rev. ed. (Minneapolis:Fortress Press) 1999. Chapter 9 “Luke-Acts”.
Tilden, Elwyn E., Bruce M. Metzger, “Luke” in The New Oxford Annotated Bible,Bruce M. Metzger, Roland E. Murphy eds. (New York: Oxford University Press) 1994.