Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Adult Bible Study on Luke 1:1-25 - The Announcement of the Birth of John the Baptist

Luke 1:1-25

(New International Version)

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a] among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.

11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.

23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”



1. In Luke 1:6, we are told that Zechariah and Elizabeth were both righteous and blameless before God. What an example of Christian marriage for us to follow! How can couples help each other to be more and more righteous and blameless in God’s sight?


We can talk about spiritual things, keep each other accountable, and set a good example for one another.



2. Verse 7 says they were not able to have children, even though both of them were in good standing with God. What does this tell us about the misfortunes of life?


Negative things that happen to us are not punishment from God.



3. In verse 13, an angel tells Zechariah that God has heard his prayer, and that he will have a son. Apparently, Zechariah had been praying for a child and was now assured that he would receive his request. Have you ever prayed for something and had God communicate to you that He would grant it?


When we’re close to the Holy Spirit, He will often confirm our prayers and assure us that He will grant them. We get a sense that what we have prayed, God will grant.


John 14:12-14 - Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in Me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it.



4. Why was John never to drink alcohol? (verse 15)


Numbers 6:1-8 - The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If a man or woman wants to make a special vow, a vow of dedication to the Lord as a Nazirite, they must abstain from wine and other fermented drink and must not drink vinegar made from wine or other fermented drink. They must not drink grape juice or eat grapes or raisins. As long as they remain under their Nazirite vow, they must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, not even the seeds or skins. During the entire period of their Nazirite vow, no razor may be used on their head. They must be holy until the period of their dedication to the Lord is over; they must let their hair grow long. Throughout the period of their dedication to the Lord, the Nazirite must not go near a dead body. Even if their own father or mother or brother or sister dies, they must not make themselves ceremonially unclean on account of them, because the symbol of their dedication to God is on their head. 8 Throughout the period of their dedication, they are consecrated to the Lord.


Not drinking alcohol is an outward symbol of John’s dedication to God.



5. What outward signs can we show of our dedication to God?


We might show our dedication to God by wearing a cross or placing a Christian bumper sticker on our car, but the best outward sign of our dedication to God is our Christian behavior and resistance to sin. We show our dedication by obeying His commands.



6. Why is John compared to Elijah? (verse 17)


Elijah was the first full-time prophet, just as John would be. Note, though, that Elijah performed miracles. We don’t have any record of John the Baptist performing miracles. His power was in his preaching.



7. Why would Zechariah be unable to speak until John was born?


Because he did not believe Gabriel’s announcement.



8. How might God punish us for not believing His words to us?


We might miss out on an opportunity God has for us. We might miss out on a blessing. Ultimately, if we don’t believe God’s words regarding how we can be saved, we’ll be separated from Him.



9. When Elizabeth became pregnant, she stayed in seclusion for five months. Why would she do that?


Maybe she was afraid she would lose the child and didn’t want anyone to know about the pregnancy until she was confident in its health.



10. Elizabeth says God has taken away her disgrace. Why did she feel disgraced?


As a woman, her role in society was to bear children, which she had been unable to do until now.



11. What might make a woman feel disgraced in our society?


An example could be not having a career when the opportunities are open to them, or having a career and not being a stay-at-home wife and mother. 




What to Do after reading this passage

John was to take certain actions to show he was set apart for God. Ask the Lord what He would have you do this week to specifically show you are dedicated to Him.




Do you have another insight into this passage? Please share below!






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