Luke Reading (#1)
Take a few minutes to catch up and pray that God would bless you through the reading of His word.
Read Luke 1:1-4
[1:1] Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us,  just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us,  it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,  that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.
- For whom is Luke writing his narrative (v. 3)?
- In what manner has Luke compiled his account (v. 3)?
- Who are his sources of information about the “things that have been accomplished” (v. 2)?
- For what purpose has Luke put all of this together (v. 4)?
- What do these verses tell us about the reliability of Luke’s account?
- What can we know about Theophilus from these verses?
- How might this brief prelude help us to understand and interpret Luke’s account?
- How does Luke’s stated intention for his gospel (v. 4) help us to apply his gospel to our lives?
- There’s not really a second application question, but proper outline form demands a “b” if you have an “a”, and I’m a bit of a stickler for these things. But now I feel better. Carry on to the next section.
Read Luke 1:5-25
 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.  And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.  But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.
 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty,  according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense.  And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense.  And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.  And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him.  But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.  And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth,  for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb.  And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God,  and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.”  And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.  And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.”  And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple.  And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute.  And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.
 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying,  “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”
- What do these verses tell us about Zechariah and Elizabeth?
- What does the angel tell us about the baby that is to be born? What will be he like? What will he do?
- Why does the angel say that Zechariah’s prayers have been heard (v. 13)? What do you think Zechariah had been praying for?
- Does this story remind you of any other incidents in the Bible?* Why might that be significant?
- Are you surprised that Zechariah had a hard time accepting Gabriel’s words (v. 18)? Does the angel’s response surprise you?
- What does Elizabeth’s response tell us about her?
- Why is John’s ministry (described in v. 16-17) an important preparation for Jesus’ coming?
- Why do you think God brought about John’s birth in such an unusual way? What is God showing us in giving an elderly woman a child?
- Are there promises that God has made in his Word that you find hard to believe, like Zechariah did?
- For much of Elizabeth’s adult life, she had no hope that she would have a child; but God had a plan. How does that help you think about circumstances in your life?
- Share prayer requests and pray for each other.
* If you are stuck, take a look at Genesis 30:22-24, Judges 13 and I Samuel 1.