The two volumes of Luke-Acts have been combined in The Books of the Bible and placed first because they provide an overview of the entire New Testament period. Luke wrote this two-volume history to serve several important purposes:
- He wanted to assure followers of Jesus that what they had been taught about him was trustworthy.
- He wanted to document how God kept the promise he made to the people of Israel by sending them their long- awaited Messiah, demonstrating that the true God is faithful and can be trusted completely.
- He wanted to prove that the extension of God’s blessings to the Gentiles is not a fickle change of plans but
rather the masterful fulfillment of a plan God has been pursuing over the ages.
What to watch for in Luke: Look for some unlikely cast members in Luke’s drama. Luke highlights Jesus’s compassion toward the outsiders and outcasts of his day: the poor, the disabled, tax collectors, women, children, and others. According to Luke, Jesus is for everybody.
PERSONAL BIBLE EXPERIENCE
Your personal Bible experience starts with a daily practice of reading the Bible. This week before your group meeting, read the book of Luke. Journal to capture your thoughts, questions, responses, emotions, and insights as you read the daily selection. Keep in mind the following questions you will be talking about with your discussion group:
- What was new or compelling to you?
- What questions did you have?
- Was there anything that bothered you?
- What did you learn about loving God?
- What did you learn about loving others?
DAILY READING JOURNAL
Day 1: Luke-Acts Invitation – Luke 4:13 (pages 1–11)
Day 2: Luke 4:14-9:50 (pages 12–25)
Day 3: Luke 9:51-13:21 (pages 25–34)
Day 4: Luke 13:22-19:27 (pages 34–44)
Day 5: Luke 19:28-24:53 (pages 44–56)
COMMUNITY BIBLE EXPERIENCE
You have been experiencing the Bible personally by reading through the book of Luke this week. Now, take some time as a group to reflect on what you have learned.
REFLECTING ON THE PREVIOUS WEEK (30–60 minutes)
Based on your Personal Bible Experience in Luke this week, have a conversation with your group about what you read by answering the following questions:
What was new or compelling to you?
What questions did you have?
Was there anything that bothered you?
What did you learn about loving God?
What did you learn about loving others?
PREPARING FOR THE WEEK AHEAD (15–20 minutes)
To get the most out of what you will be reading in the coming week, close your time together by watching the video for week 2, in which Jeff Manion explains the themes and relevance of Acts and 1–2 Thessalonians. Use the following outline to write down any insights or questions.
What the disciples did after Jesus ascended
Key to Acts: Movement
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. — Acts 1:8
Key Event: At Pentecost, the Spirit descends
Key Picture of Transformation: Community
Key Lesson: God is at work in our disappointment
Key Figure: Saul
[Saul] fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. — Acts 9:4-5
Key City: Antioch
Themes of Acts
Conflict and persecution
Movement of the Holy Spirit
Relevance of Acts
Jesus wants to be known
Purpose of 1–2 Thessalonians
To encourage the Thessalonians in their faith
Themes of 1–2 Thessalonians
Encouragement in their suffering
Make a clean break from their old life, and step into their new life
Read Acts from the book of Luke–Acts and 1–2 Thessalonians in The Books of the Bible: New Testament. Maintain your momen- tum by keeping these guidelines in mind:
- Read what you can.
- Read something every day.
- Always have your Books of the Bible with you.
- Remember every week is a new week.
- Use this study journal as you do your reading for week 2: Luke–Acts, 1–2 Thessalonians, recording any thoughts on the Daily Reading Journal pages.
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Let us know your thoughts on the New Testament Challenge. We’d love to hear from you!