DIY Bible Study 43

Luke - The 'Social Worker'

Introduction

A commentator on Luke's Gospel has suggested that had Luke not been a doctor, and had they existed back in the first century, he might have been a social worker. He certainly was interested in all kinds of people, including the very vulnerable - so much so that his account has been called "the Gospel of the underdog". We shall consider some of the groups that he highlights.

  1. The Poor

    1. The following are just a selection of passages where Luke refers to 'the poor'.

      Read them and comment on their significance:

      • 1:53
      • 2:24 (refer also to Leviticus 12:7-8)
      • 6:20
      • 7:22
      • 14:11-14 & 21
      • 16:19-25
      • 21:1-4
    2. Warnings for the wealthy are implicit in some of the above, but also look up:

      • 6:24
      • 12:13-21
      • 18:18-27
  2. Outcasts

    There are references to 'publicans' (tax-collectors) and 'sinners' in the Gospels. Jewish society at that time excluded a number of categories - including shepherds who often could not attend synagogue or Temple because of their duties.

    Read the following and note what Luke says about various 'outcasts':

    • 2:8-10
    • 5:12-14
    • 5:27-39
    • 7:36-40
    • 8:43-48
    • 9:52-56
    • 15:7 & 10
    • 17:11-19
    • 18:9-14
    • 23:39-43
  3. Women

    There was a Jewish prayer - 'Thank God for not making me a Gentile, slave, or woman.' Glance through the following passages and list the women included by Luke (most are not mentioned or only briefly referred to in the other Gospels):

    • 1:5-56
    • 2:36-38
    • 4:38 & 39
    • 7:11-17
    • 7:36-39
    • 8:2-3
    • 8:43-48
    • 10:38-42
    • 13:10-13
    • 23:27-28
    • 24:9-11
  4. Children

    Luke includes more information on children, especially Jesus' attitude towards them, than is found in the other Gospels. Notice the length of the birth stories in chapters 1 and 2 and note the significance of the following verses:

    • 7:12, 8:47, 9:38
    • 9:46-48
    • 18:15-17
    • 19:44

Conclusion

So we see Luke's wide interest in all groups within society.

Does this shame our attitude to others within society today?

Any improvements we need to make?

Any particular groups we need to pray for?

Eileen Bromley