The Gospel According to Saint Luke

Who Was Luke?

Luke was a Greek physician, a doctor who wrote this gospel and the book of Acts. Luke was not a Jew, but was well educated in his Greek culture. He was probably not an eyewitness to the Savior’s earthly ministry but learned about Jesus from the Apostle Paul and other missionaries. He went on many missionary journeys with Paul (see Acts 16:10; 2 Timothy 4:11) and witnessed the growth of the Church among the Gentiles.

Why Was This Book Written?

Luke wrote this testimony so his friend Theophilus, probably also a Greek convert, would know the truth about Jesus Christ. Evidently there were numerous other accounts of what Jesus said and did, some true and some not true. It seems Luke had a non-Jewish audience in mind, since he gives the meaning of many Hebrew words and tells several stories of Jesus’ dealings with non-Jews.

man writing on scroll

How Is This Book Different from Matthew and Mark?

Matthew’s gospel was written to show the Jews that Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies of the promised Messiah (see the introduction to the book of Matthew on p. 9). Mark showed Jesus as the powerful Son of God who performed many miracles, the greatest being the Atonement (see the introduction to the book of Mark on p. 39). As a Gentile, Luke had a unique perspective on the gospel of Jesus Christ. Luke’s testimony is the longest of the Gospels. It contains much information not mentioned by the other gospel writers. He understood that the gospel was for all people, not just the Jews, and he emphasized that Jesus suffered and died for all of Heavenly Father’s children.

Only in Luke

The following are some of the teachings found only in Luke:

Luke 1
Two Miraculous Births Foretold

angel appears to Zacharias   Christ appears to Mary at the tomb

In Luke 1, two women who would normally not have children found out that through God’s miracle they would each bear a son. One of these women was considered too old to have children and the other was a young woman, a virgin, who had not yet married. As you read this chapter, look to see who those women were, who their children would be, and why special note is made of these births.

Understanding the Scriptures

Luke 1

Course (vv. 5, 8)—Descendants of an individual within the family

Barren (v. 7)—Not able to have children

Well stricken in years (vv. 7, 18)—Very old

Executed (v. 8)—Performed

Lot (v. 9)—Assignment

Beckoned (v. 22)—Motioned or waved

Days of his ministration were accomplished (v. 23)—The time of his service was over

Conceived (vv. 24, 36)—Became pregnant

Reproach (v. 25)—Shame (Elisabeth and other married women with no children felt others looked down on them because they had no children)

Espoused (v. 27)—Engaged (see also “Understanding the Scriptures” for Matthew 1:18–19, p. 10)

Cast in her mind (v. 29)—Thought

Salutation (vv. 29, 41, 44)—Greeting

Fruit of thy womb (v. 42)—Your baby

Low estate (v. 48)—Humble condition

Circumcise (v. 59)—See Bible Dictionary, “circumcision” (p. 646)

Horn of salvation (v. 69)—The altar at the temple was decorated with a bull’s horn at each corner to symbolize God’s power to save

Dayspring (v. 78)—Sunrise

Luke 1:3—Who Was Theophilus?

Theophilus was a friend to whom Luke wrote this Gospel. He was probably a Gentile who was either a member of the Church or was studying about it, and Luke wanted him to have the truth (see Luke 1:3–4).

Luke 1:17—“The Spirit and Power of Elias”

Elias was an Old Testament prophet. The Prophet Joseph Smith explained, “The spirit of Elias is to prepare the way for a greater revelation of God, which is the Priesthood . . . that Aaron was ordained unto” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 335). John the Baptist filled this role in every way. He held the Aaronic priesthood and he prepared the way for the greater teachings and ordinances that would come from Jesus Christ.

Luke 1:19—Who Was Gabriel?

See “Gabriel” in the Bible Dictionary (p. 676).

Luke 1:31—“Call His Name Jesus”

Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua or Jeshua. It means “God is help” or “Savior” (see Bible Dictionary, “Jesus,” p. 713).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A as you study Luke 1.

Activity A iconTwo Miraculous Births

  1. Make the following chart in your notebook and complete it with information you find in Luke 1.


Scripture reference for the story

Luke 1:1–25

Luke 1:26–38

What were the names of the parents?



How did they know they were going to have a baby?



How did they react to the news that was given them?



Why was the birth considered a miracle?



What did they name the baby?



Where did they get the name?



What would be the special mission of this baby as he grew older?



Luke 2
The Savior Is Born

Mary and Joseph with the baby Jesus

Luke is the only gospel writer to tell us about many of the details of the birth of Jesus Christ. These include the taxing by Caesar, the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, the birth in a stable, the shepherds and the angels, Simeon and Anna, and Jesus teaching at the temple. Why do you think Luke would want his gentile friend Theophilus to know these things?

Other Accounts of What You Read in Luke 2

Luke 2:1–39Matthew 1:18–25

Understanding the Scriptures

Luke 2

Be delivered (v. 6)—Have her baby

Swaddling clothes (vv. 7, 12)—Strips of cloth wrapped around the baby

Manger (vv. 7, 12)—A feeding place for animals

Good tidings (v. 10)—Good news

Haste (v. 16)—Speed

Consolation of Israel (v. 25)—Comfort or relief of Israel, meaning the Messiah

From her virginity (v. 36)—After her marriage

Fourscore and four years (v. 37)—Eighty-four years (one score is twenty years)

Redemption (v. 38)—Deliverance; to be saved from the consequences of sin

Fulfilled the days (v. 43)—Stayed until the celebration was over

Kinsfolk and acquaintance (v. 44)—Family and friends

Subject (v. 51)—Obedient; followed the advice and counsel of

Stature (v. 52)—Size and appearance

Luke 2:21—“When Eight Days Were Accomplished”

As a sign of the covenant the Lord made with Abraham and his descendants, all male children of the house of Israel were to be circumcised when they were eight days old (see Genesis 17:12; Bible Dictionary, “circumcision,” p. 646).

Luke 2:22—“The Days of Her Purification”

The mother of a newborn son was considered unclean (meaning she was unable to participate in the ordinances of the law of Moses) for forty days. After forty days she could go to the temple and offer sacrifice for her purification.

Luke 2:46–47—Jesus Teaches in the Temple

The Joseph Smith Translation tells us that the teachers were asking the questions, not Jesus (see JST, Luke 2:46). Those teachers were surprised “at his understanding and answers” (Luke 2:47).

the boy Jeus teaching in the temple
Luke 2:52—Jesus’ Development in His Youth

Speaking about Luke 2:52, President Ezra Taft Benson taught: “The most successful program of complete youth fitness ever known to man was described in fourteen words. . . . There is the ideal of any program of youth fitness, to help our youth increase in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. It covers everything—physical fitness, mental fitness, social fitness, emotional fitness, and spiritual fitness” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 555–56).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and C or only activity B as you study Luke 2.

Activity A iconThe Christmas Story

Luke 2 contains one of the most beautiful and well-known accounts in the Bible. After carefully reading Luke 2:1–16, do the following:

  1. Make up a quiz with at least six questions that cover what you think are the most important details of Jesus’ birth. In parenthesis after each question, write the correct answer and the verse where the answer can be found.

  2. List five phrases from Luke 2:1–16 that you think would be good titles for a talk about Jesus at Christmastime.

Activity B iconWitnesses of the Christ Child

Read Luke 2 and list everyone mentioned in this chapter who saw Jesus. Next to each name list how they came to know about Jesus.

Activity C iconA Pattern for Personal Growth

After reading Luke 2:40, 49–52, list the different areas in which Jesus grew and developed. How could you “grow and develop” in those areas?

Luke 3
John Baptizes the Son of God

John the Baptist and Jesus were cousins (see Luke 1:36), and John was just six months older than Jesus. He was sent to prepare the way for the mission of Jesus Christ. As you study Luke 3, look for what John taught the people and the ways it would help them be ready to hear the Savior. Be sure to read the Joseph Smith Translation additions to this chapter, which tell us more about the mission of Jesus Christ.

Other Accounts of What You Read in Luke 3

Luke 3:1–22Matthew 3; Mark 1:2–11

Luke 3:23–38Matthew 1:1–17

Understanding the Scriptures

Luke 3

Tetrarch (v. 1)—Ruler or governor

Remission (v. 3)—Forgiveness

The wrath to come (v. 7)—The coming judgments of God

Fruits worthy of repentance (v. 8)—Actions that demonstrate true repentance

Ax is laid unto the root of the trees (v. 9)—See “Understanding the Scriptures” for Matthew 3:10 (p. 12)

Hewn (v. 9)—Cut

Publicans (v. 12)—Tax collectors

Exact (v. 13)—Take, collect

Content (v. 14)—Satisfied

Mused (v. 15)—Thought about

Latchet (v. 16)—Laces or straps

Fan (v. 17)—A tool or instrument used to separate wheat kernels from their lighter outer shell (chaff) that is not eaten

separating wheat from chaff
Separating wheat from chaff

Purge his floor (v. 17)—Clean his place of harvesting

Exhortation (v. 18)—A speech to encourage and strengthen

Reproved (v. 19)—Scolded, rebuked

Luke 3:8–9—“We Have Abraham to Our Father”

The Lord made great promises to Abraham because of his faithfulness (see Genesis 13:14–17; Abraham 2:8–11). Many Jews believed that they would be saved simply because they were the descendants of Abraham (see JST, Luke 3:13). John the Baptist told them that if they did not repent, they would be cut down like useless trees. This teaching emphasized that we will be judged by our works, and that only the righteous receive eternal life.

Luke 3:19–20—What Had Herod Done Wrong?

Luke 3:19–20 refers to Herod Antipas, the tetrarch. He was the son of Herod the Great, whom you read about in Matthew 2. Herod Antipas left his first wife to marry his niece Herodias, who had been married to his brother Philip. Such a marriage was against the law of Moses (see Leviticus 20:21). When John the Baptist called him to repent, Herod had John thrown into prison.

Studying the Scriptures

Do the three following activities (A–C) as you study Luke 3.

Activity A iconJohn Prepares the Way

  1. Review Luke 3:7–14 and list the “fruits worthy of repentance” that John told the people to “bring forth” (v. 8).

  2. Write about how each of these fruits would help us prepare to meet the Savior.

Activity B iconWhat Should We Do?

After John the Baptist taught the people that every tree that would not grow good fruit would be cut down and “cast into the fire” (Luke 3:9), the people asked, “What shall we do then?” (v. 10). John then gave some examples of what it meant to bring forth good fruit.

  1. List what John suggested for:

    1. People with food and clothing

    2. Publicans

    3. Soldiers

  2. Based on what John taught, write what you think he would suggest today for:

    1. Teenagers at school

    2. Children living with their parents

    3. Parents

John the Baptist

Activity C iconChoose a Symbol

  1. Explain what each of the following words found in Luke 3:7–18 could symbolize in the message or mission of John the Baptist: vipers, stones, fruit, roots, shoes, wheat.

  2. Choose one of the above symbols that people you know would be least likely to relate to. Think of a different symbol that people in your area might better understand. Describe how you would use it to teach a principle John taught.

Luke 4
Jesus Overcomes Satan and Begins His Ministry

At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus fasted and prayed for forty days, After that time Satan came to tempt Him. Why? What did the devil hope to gain? Heavenly Father desires that all of His children enjoy “immortality and eternal life” (Moses 1:39). Satan desires that “all men might be miserable like unto himself” (2 Nephi 2:27; see also v. 18). Essential to Heavenly Father’s plan for our salvation is a sinless Savior to pay the price for our sins. Satan was unsuccessful in his attempts to tempt Him to sin.

Satan also opposes God’s servants. For example, he tried to tempt Moses (see Moses 1:12–22) and he attacked Joseph Smith (see Joseph Smith—History 1:15–17). Telling of his experience, the Prophet Joseph wrote, “It seems as though the adversary was aware, at a very early period of my life, that I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom; else why should the powers of darkness combine against me?” (Joseph Smith—History 1:20).

Be sure to read the Joseph Smith Translation changes for Luke 4:4–5, 9.

Other Accounts of What You Read in Luke 4

Luke 4:1–13Matthew 4:1–11; Mark 1:12–13

Luke 4:31–37Mark 1:21–28

Luke 4:38–43Matthew 8:14–17; Mark 1:29–38

Understanding the Scriptures

Luke 4

Pinnacle (v. 9)—High point

Dash (v. 11)—Hit

As his custom was (v. 16)—As he usually did

Anointed (v. 18)—Chosen

Bare him witness (v. 22)—Heard what he said

Heaven was shut up (v. 25)—The skies were sealed so that no rain came

Famine (v. 25)—Lack of food

Elias (v. 26)—Elijah

Lepers (v. 27)—People suffering from a terrible skin disease

Eliseus (v. 27)—Elisha

Wrath (v. 28)—Anger

Astonished (v. 32)—Surprised, amazed

Besought (v. 38)—Begged

Rebuked the fever (v. 39)—Commanded the fever to leave

Suffered them not (v. 41)—Did not allow them

Luke 4:16–30—Why Did the People of Jesus’ Hometown Try to Kill Him?
Christ teaching in the synagogue

The Jews in the synagogue in Nazareth understood that when Jesus said He fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that He was saying He was the Messiah. These people, however, knew Jesus when He was growing up. Their false ideas about what the Messiah would be and do made it difficult for them to believe that the person they knew was their Messiah. Even more, to falsely claim that you were the Messiah was blasphemy—which was punishable by death under the law of Moses. The people of Nazareth thought Jesus had committed blasphemy, and so they thought it was right to kill Him.

Studying the Scriptures

Do either activity A or B as you study Luke 4.

Activity A iconWhat Do Temptations Really Offer Us?

In Matthew 4:1–10 you studied how Satan tempted Jesus and identified how he tempts us in similar ways today. Speaking of that event, Elder David O. McKay, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said, “Nearly every temptation that comes to you and me comes in one of those forms. Classify them, and you will find that under one of those three nearly every given temptation that makes you and me spotted, ever so little maybe, comes to us as (1) a temptation of the appetite; (2) a yielding to the pride and fashion and vanity of those alienated from the things of God; or (3) a gratifying of the passion, or a desire for the riches of the world, or power among men” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1911, 59).

  1. What do you think it means to “not live by bread alone, but by every word of God” (Luke 4:4)? We must eat to live, but compare the life of someone who gives into the temptation of the appetite to that of someone who lives as Jesus suggested.

  2. What did Satan offer Jesus if He would worship him? (see Luke 4:5–8). Compare that to what God has promised (see D&C 76:50, 54–59; 84:37–38).

  3. Satan tempted Jesus to prove who He was by putting Himself in danger and seeing if He would be saved in a miraculous way. If Jesus had done that, how would He have been tempting God (see Luke 4:12)? Satan knew that Jesus was the Son of God. Why do you think he tempted Jesus to prove something that he, Satan, already knew?

  4. Suppose you have a friend or family member who is struggling with temptation. Using what you learned from Jesus’ temptations, write a paragraph to explain why Satan’s temptations are never as rewarding as our Heavenly Father’s promises are to the obedient.

Activity B iconOutline Jesus’ Mission

  1. Jesus quoted from Isaiah 61:1–2, in which Isaiah prophesied what the Messiah would do as a part of His ministry. From Luke 4:18–19, list the six things that Isaiah prophesied Jesus would do.

  2. Give at least two examples of how Jesus continues to fulfill this mission in the lives of individuals today.

Luke 5
“Come, Follow Me”

One important part of the Savior’s mission was to establish the kingdom of God on earth. Jesus Christ called men whom He could trust to lead the Church after His resurrection and ascension into heaven. These men became the twelve Apostles. Jesus spent much time instructing and preparing His Apostles for their important role. Luke 5 tells how some of those men were called to follow Jesus.

Other Accounts of What You Read in Luke 5

Luke 5:1–11Matthew 4:18–22; Mark 1:16–20

Luke 5:12–16Matthew 8:2–4; Mark 1:40–45

Luke 5:17–39Matthew 9:2–17; Mark 2:1–22

Understanding the Scriptures

Luke 5

Lake of Gennesaret (v. 1)—Sea of Galilee

Pressed upon (v. 1)—Crowded around

Draught (vv. 4, 9)—Catch

Toiled (v. 5)—Worked

Taken with a palsy (v. 18)—Paralyzed, physically disabled

Blasphemies (v. 21)—Speaking evil of holy and sacred things

Levi (v. 27)—Another name for Matthew

Receipt of custom (v. 27)—A table where people paid taxes

Bridegroom (v. 34)—A man who is being married; it is also a title for Jesus Christ

Maketh a rent (v. 36)—Will tear

Straightway (v. 39)—Immediately

Luke 5:36–39—Why Not Patch Old Clothes with New Material or Put New Wine in Old Bottles?

Washing and wearing clothes causes them to shrink. Patching old clothes with new material not yet shrunk causes the clothes to tear when the patch material shrinks.

In New Testament times wine was stored in bottles made from animal skins. Those leather bags were often called wineskins. Over time, those skins would become dry and brittle and could crack or spilt easily. New wine underwent a fermenting process, which naturally caused the liquid to expand. If new wine was put in an old bottle, the fermenting would cause the old wineskin to stretch and burst.


The following questions by Elder Bruce R. McConkie, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, help explain these two parables: “What, new baptism in an old church, new revelation in a dying kingdom, new doctrine in an apostate organization! Could Jesus add Christian ordinances, with their spirit and power, to the dead formalism and ritual of the Mosaic procedures?” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:186).

Studying the Scriptures

Do one of the following activities (A or B) as you study Luke 5.

Activity A iconGive Some Advice

Imagine you were one of the people on Peter’s boat in the story in Luke 5:1–11. It is a few years later and a friend has come to you discouraged because a person he or she has been trying to help become active in the Church for almost a year has still not attended any Church meetings. Write how you might encourage your friend by retelling the story in Luke 5:1–11, explaining what you learned from it and applying it to his or her situation.

Activity B iconIf You Were There

Imagine you witnessed the healing of the man in the story in Luke 5:18–26 and then attended the feast described in verses 27–32. Write what you would have written to a friend about those events. Include what you learned about Jesus and His ministry and how your life would be different because of your experience.

Luke 6
Jesus Ordains and Teaches the Twelve Apostles

Jesus had previously called men to follow Him. Luke 6 records the official calling of twelve Apostles. We also read some of what He taught them as they went out to preach in His name. His counsel to them is similar to what you read in the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 5–7. Some have called Luke 6:20–49 the Sermon on the Plain.

Other Accounts of What You Read in Luke 6

Luke 6:1–11Matthew 12:1–21; Mark 2:23–3:12

Luke 6:12–16Matthew 10:2–4; Mark 3:13–19

Luke 6:17–49Matthew 5:1–7:29

Understanding the Scriptures

Luke 6

Shewbread (v. 4)—The bread displayed in the tabernacle; it represented Jesus Christ

Accusation (v. 7)—A charge

Restored whole (v. 10)—Healed

Communed (v. 11)—Planned or plotted

Vexed (v. 18)—Troubled

Reproach (v. 22)—Blame

Consolation (v. 24)—Comfort

Mote (v. 41)—A small speck or a piece of straw

Beam (v. 41)—Wooden plank; considerably larger than a mote

Corrupt (v. 43)—Tree that bears no fruit

Beat vehemently (v. 49)—Came with violent force

Luke 6:12–16—The Calling of Apostles

Elder David B. Haight, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said, “Each Apostle is ordained under the direction of the President of the Church, who holds the keys of all of the kingdom of God. He gives to each new Apostle the priesthood authority necessary for him to hold every position in the Church. We declare that the authority to administer in the name of God is operative in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today. We further testify that this power or commission was conferred on the first officers of the Church by ordination under the hands of those who held the same power in earlier dispensations. Joseph Smith received the keys of the apostleship from Peter, James, and John, the same who held the authority of the apostleship in the New Testament times. This authority has come down from the Prophet Joseph Smith to [the current prophet]” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 17–18; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 15; see also Articles of Faith 1:5).

Studying the Scriptures

Do three of the following activities (A–D) as you study Luke 6.

Activity A iconChoosing the Twelve Apostles

Consider what you have read in Luke 5:1–6:16 and respond to the following about the calling of the Twelve Apostles:

  1. In what ways did Jesus test some of the men whom He called as Apostles?

    Elder Harold B. Lee, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke about such tests of loyalty: “It is my conviction that every man who will be called to a high place in this Church will have to pass these tests not devised by human hands, by which our Father numbers them as a united group of leaders willing to follow the prophets of the Living God and be loyal and true as witnesses and exemplars of the truths they teach” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1950, 101).

  2. What did the men have to know about Jesus before their calling?

  3. What might be the significance of the event in Luke 6:12 occurring before the events in verses 13–16?

Activity B iconWho Are the Twelve Apostles?

List in your notebook the names of the men who currently serve in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Activity C iconList the Main Ideas

In Luke 6:17–26 Jesus teaches His disciples about blessings and cursings (woes). Make a chart in your notebook similar to the one below, and list the blessings and woes. Use only key words in your list. When you have finished, select one item from your list and explain what application it has today.









Activity D iconYou Reap What You Sow

Luke 6:43–49 uses two examples to teach the principle that you can only harvest what you plant (see Galatians 6:7). In other words, you do not harvest corn if you plant peas. Draw a picture of one of the Savior’s examples from either Luke 6:43–47 or 48–49. Explain why that example is effective.

From your reading of Luke 6:27–42, list three principles the Savior taught that we should sow (practice in our lives) and what fruit (blessings) are promised for each.

Luke 7–8
Matters of Faith

Can people who are not members of the Church have faith in Jesus Christ? Can they also pray and receive blessings, even miracles, from God? As you read Luke 7–8 look for who received blessings and who did not, and ponder what that teaches us about receiving blessings from God.

Other Accounts of What You Read in Luke 7–8

Luke 7:1–10Matthew 8:1–13

Luke 7:18–35Matthew 11:2–19

Luke 8:4–18Matthew 13:1–23; Mark 4:1–25

Luke 8:19–21Matthew 12:46–50; Mark 3:31–35

Luke 8:22–56Matthew 8:18–34; 9:18–26; Mark 4:35–5:43

Understanding the Scriptures

Luke 7

Centurion (v. 2)—Roman military leader

Beseeching, besought (vv. 3–4)—Asking, pleading with

Whole (v. 10)—Healed

Bier (v. 14)—Board on which a dead body is carried to a place of burial

He that is least in the kingdom of God (v. 28)—He whom you consider the least important; Jesus was talking about Himself

Alabaster box of ointment (v. 37)—A flask or jar made of alabaster stone and filled with expensive, sweet smelling cream.

Creditor (v. 41)—Person to whom another owes money

Debtor (v. 41)—Person who owes money to a creditor

Pence (v. 41)—Silver coin that was a typical workman’s daily wage

woman touching Christ's hem
Luke 7:18–23—Did John Doubt the Divinity of Jesus Christ?

Elder Bruce R. McConkie stated:

“Any inference that the Baptist was uncertain or doubtful in his own mind, as to the identity and mission of the Master, is totally unwarranted. In reality, the imprisoned [John] and forerunner of our Lord was using this means to persuade his disciples to forsake him and follow Jesus.

“John knew who Jesus was; the Baptist was not wavering as a reed in the wind. . . . This act of sending his disciples to Jesus was in effect a final great testimony on John’s part that Jesus was the Lamb of God, for the Baptist knew that his disciples, seeing the Master personally and hearing his teachings, could not help but follow the greater light” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:261–62).

Luke 7:31–35—What Were the Men of the Savior’s Generation Like?

Elder Bruce R. McConkie paraphrased the Savior’s message in this way: “What illustration can I choose to show how petty, peevish, and insincere are you unbelieving Jews? You are like fickle children playing games; when you hold a mock wedding, your playmates refuse to dance; when you change the game to a funeral procession, your playmates refuse to mourn. In like manner you are only playing at religion. As cross and capricious [unstable] children you reject John because he came with the strictness of the Nazarites, and ye reject me because I display the warm human demeanor that makes for pleasant social [association]” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:263).

Luke 8

Steward (v. 3)—Servant

Sow (v. 5)—Plant

For the press (v. 19)—Because of the crowd

Jeopardy (v. 23)—Danger

Ware (v. 27)—Wore

Fetters (v. 29)—Shackles or chains used to bind prisoners by the wrists or ankles

Thronged (v. 42)—Gathered around

Issue of blood (v. 44)—Unhealed wound or sore that bleeds

Stanched (v. 44)—Stopped; healed

Bewailed (v. 52)—Grieved over

Laughed him to scorn (v. 53)—Mocked or made fun of him

Luke 8:2—Who Was Mary Magdalene?
Mary Magdalene at the tomb

Elder James E. Talmage, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, wrote: “Mary Magdalene became one of the closest friends Christ had among women; her devotion to Him as her Healer and as the One whom she adored as the Christ was unswerving; she stood close by the cross while other women tarried afar off in the time of His mortal agony; she was among the first at the sepulcher on the resurrection morning, and was the first mortal to look upon and recognize a resurrected Being—the Lord whom she had loved with all the fervor of spiritual adoration” (Jesus the Christ, 264–65).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity B and two of the others (A, C, or D) as you study Luke 7–8.

Activity A iconDescribe His Character

Read Luke 7:1–10 and list what you think were the centurion’s five most impressive attributes, or character traits. By each of the five items, write a sentence from the scriptures that shows he possessed that attribute or trait.

Activity B iconFollow the Savior’s Example

Read the story of the widow of Nain in Luke 7:11–17.

  1. Mark verse 13 and ponder what it means to have compassion for someone.

  2. Think of someone in your ward or branch who would be blessed if you showed compassion toward him or her (maybe a widow or widower).

  3. Decide on one act of service that you could do for that person this week and do it.

  4. Write down in your notebook the details of your service and how you felt about it.

Activity C iconWrite a Summary

After carefully reading the story found in Luke 7:36–50:

  1. Write a two-paragraph story that summarizes these verses. Write it in such a way that you could read it to a primary class to help them understand the story better.

  2. Think of one sentence that describes the main message of this passage of scripture. Use that sentence as the title for your story.

Activity D iconConsider a Modern Situation

Match the following descriptions (a–d) with the four situations that are listed (1–4). You will need to carefully read Luke 8:5–15 to determine the correct answers. In your notebook, write the numbers with the correct letter by each.


  1. Seeds eaten by birds

  2. Seeds on rocky soil

  3. Seeds choked by weeds

  4. Seeds on good soil


  1. Sarah met the missionaries when her bike had a flat tire. They helped her fix it and told her about their missions. She was a busy college student, but she listened to their message, joined the Church, and was an active member. Her roommates began making fun of her, and her boyfriend broke up with her. She felt lonely and stopped going to church so that she could be with her friends.

  2. Tom made fun of the missionaries when they knocked on his door, but they did not argue back. Because they were different, Tom grew curious. He listened to what they taught and became friends with them. He liked them, so he joined the Church. He went to church until the missionaries moved to another community, then he lost interest and stopped attending.

  3. Ann grew up in the Church. She was always active until she met Brian. She loved him and did not care that he was a member of another church. He was not interested in the teachings of the restored gospel and felt Ann was a little foolish in her beliefs. He told her that they could only stay together if she stopped going to church. Ann was sad, but she did as Brian said because she loved him.

  4. Randy’s family joined the Church when he was twelve. He was excited to become a deacon, and his father ordained him. His family did their best to hold family home evenings and never missed having family prayer. They went to church together and often talked about the teachings of the gospel.

Luke 9
The Twelve Apostles Are Sent Out to Preach

Jesus ordained twelve Apostles to assist Him in the work and to carry it forward after His ascension into heaven. In order to accomplish this great task, the Apostles needed power, authority, experience, and knowledge but, as President Thomas S. Monson, a member of the First Presidency, reminded us, “Whom God calls, God qualifies” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1987, 54; or Ensign, May 1987, 44). As you read Luke 9, notice the ways Jesus helped the Twelve to qualify with necessary training and experience. We can feel confident that the Lord will help anyone who receives a calling. He wants us to succeed.

Other Accounts of What You Read in Luke 9

Luke 9:1–6Matthew 10; Mark 6:7–13

Luke 9:7–9Matthew 14:1–2; Mark 6:14–16

Luke 9:10–17Matthew 14:13–21; Mark 9:10–17; John 6:1–14

Luke 9:18–50Matthew 16:13–18:8; Mark 8:27–9:50

Luke 9:57–62Matthew 8:19–22

Understanding the Scriptures

Luke 9

Scrip (v. 3)—Traveling bag

Tetrarch (v. 7)—Ruler or governor of a region

Victuals (v. 12)—Food

His countenance was altered (v. 29)—His face and appearance was changed

Decease (v. 31)—Death

It teareth him (v. 39)—It throws him into convulsions

Suffer (v. 41)—Allow, endure

Luke 9:5—“Shake Off the Very Dust from Your Feet”

When one of the Lord’s servants shakes the dust off his feet it is a testimony that those whom the Lord sent him to teach refused his fellowship and message. It signifies that he is not accountable for the judgments that follow upon those who rejected him. Elder Joseph Fielding Smith, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said that “the performance of such a responsibility should not be done unless the Spirit of the Lord indicates that it should be done” (Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [1946–49], 1:115).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A as you study Luke 9.

Activity A iconFollowing Jesus

Based on what you have read in Luke 9:23–27, 57–62, write one or two paragraphs on what it means to truly follow Jesus and why a person would want to do so.

Luke 10
The Seventy Are Sent Out to Preach

As the needs of the work increased, Jesus called and ordained Seventy to go out like the Twelve had done. In Luke 10 we read about some of what they were taught and some of their experiences. The pattern of calling the Seventy to assist the Twelve in “building up the church . . . in all nations” (D&C 107:34) continues in our time. Luke 10 also contains one of the most well known of Jesus’ parables.

Other Accounts of What You Read in Luke 10

Luke 10:1–24Matthew 10:20–27

Understanding the Scriptures

Luke 10

Cleaveth on us (v. 11)—Sticks to our feet

Despiseth (v. 16)—Rejects, refuses

Prudent (v. 21)—Learned

Stripped him of his raiment (v. 30)—Robbed him of his clothes

Cumbered about much serving (v. 40)—Distracted by all the preparations that had to be made

Luke 10:30–33—A Priest, a Levite, and a Samaritan

Priests and Levites were religious leaders who should have provided help to anyone in need. Jesus made it a point to show that it was a Samaritan who offered assistance in this parable. Samaritans were hated (see John 4:9). Jews viewed Samaritans as below them, both physically (see 2 Kings 17:24–34) and spiritually (see John 4:20–22). Samaritans and Jews were usually openly hostile to one another, but through this parable the Savior taught that love should not be restricted by nationality or race.

Luke 10:38–42—The Devotion of Mary and Martha

Elder James E. Talmage wrote: “There was no reproof of Martha’s desire to provide well; nor any sanction of possible neglect on Mary’s part. We must suppose that Mary had been a willing helper before the master’s arrival; but now that He had come, she chose to remain with Him. Had she been culpably neglectful of her duty, Jesus would not have commended her course. He desired not well-served meals and material comforts only, but the company of the sisters, and above all their receptive attention to what He had to say. He had more to give them than they could possibly provide for Him. Jesus loved the two sisters and their brother as well. Both these women were devoted to Jesus, and each expressed herself in her own way. Martha was of a practical turn, concerned in material service; she was by nature hospitable and self-denying. Mary, contemplative and more spiritually inclined, showed her devotion through the service of companionship and appreciation” (Jesus the Christ, 433).

Jesus with Mary and Martha

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–C) as you study Luke 10.

Activity A iconThe Mission of the Seventy

  1. Read Luke 10:1–24 and list ways the mission of the Seventy was similar to the mission of the Twelve Apostles, as recorded in Luke 9:1–6, 10. (You may also want to compare it with the mission of the Twelve as recorded in Matthew 10.)

  2. Read Doctrine and Covenants 107:23, 25, 33–35, 38 and write about the similarities and differences of the responsibilities of a member of the Seventy and a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles today.

Activity B iconBe a Reporter

Read the parable of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:30–37 and list the three main characters in the story. Imagine that you are a newspaper reporter and are going to report on this event.

  1. Next to the names of each of the three main characters write three questions you would ask him for your newspaper article and the answers you think he might give.

  2. Write a concluding paragraph for the newspaper article to teach the main ideas of this parable and encourage those in your school to be like the good Samaritan.

Activity C iconRead between the Lines

Carefully read Luke 10:38–42 (see also the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for these verses). Write in your notebook a paragraph explaining what the Savior taught in this story.

Luke 11
Be Full of Light

What does the word sincere mean to you? How does sincerity compare with hypocrisy? The Savior’s teachings can have power in our lives if we will apply them. For example, if we pray with faith and real intent, the Lord will answer our prayers. However, if our prayers are offered just to impress others, they will have little effect.

As you read Luke 11 consider how the Savior’s teachings could bless those who sincerely apply them in their lives. What did Jesus teach about hypocrisy? Why do you think it is important not to just pretend to be righteous?

Other Accounts of What You Read in Luke 11

Luke 11:1–4Matthew 6:9–13

Understanding the Scriptures

Luke 11

Hallowed (v. 2)—Holy or sacred

Importunity (v. 8)—Bold persistence

Dumb (v. 14)—One who cannot speak

Beelzebub (v. 15)—Satan

Goods (v. 21)—Belongings or possessions

Spoils (v. 22)—Captured goods

Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked (v. 27)—Blessed is your mother who gave birth to and nursed you

Jonas (v. 29)—Jonah (the Old Testament prophet who was swallowed by a great fish)

Ravening (v. 39)—Robbery

Mint and rue (v. 42)—Two types of garden herbs

Reproachest (v. 45)—Insult, rebuke

Lade (v. 46)—Burden

Sepulchres (vv. 47–48)—Tombs or graves

Urge him vehemently (v. 53)—Be filled with resentment

Luke 11:5–13—The Parable of the Friend at Midnight

The Lord taught that if man, with all his selfishness, will nevertheless give to his neighbor who continues to ask in spite of objection and temporary refusal, then God will certainly grant what is persistently asked in faith and with righteous intent.

Luke 11:29–32—What Is the “Sign of Jonas the Prophet”?

Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote: “Jonah’s burial in and coming forth from the ‘great fish’ (Jonah 1:15–17; 2) symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [1966], 711–12).

Jonah on the shore
Luke 11:52—What Did Jesus Mean by the “Key to Knowledge”?

The Joseph Smith Translation of Luke 11:53 explains that the key to knowledge refers to the scriptures. Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained:

“The devil wages war against the scriptures. He hates them, perverts their plain meanings, and destroys them when he can. He entices those who heed his temptations to delete and discard, to change and corrupt, to alter and amend, thus taking away the key which will aid in making men ‘wise unto salvation.’ (2 Tim. 3:15–17.)

“Accordingly, Jesus is here heaping wo[e] upon those who have contaminated and destroyed scriptures which would have guided and enlightened the Jews” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:624–25).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and B as you study Luke 11.

Activity A iconExplain the Parable

After teaching the disciples how to pray (see Luke 11:1–4), Jesus gave them two short parables to help them understand how prayer works. Read the parables (verses 5–13) and then explain in your own words what they teach us about our prayers.

Activity B iconWoe, Woe, Woe

“Woe” is an exclamation of grief or anger and is given to condemn the wicked. Make a chart like the following in your notebook, look for the listed five phrases from Luke 11:37–53, and explain why Jesus condemned each action, how you think Jesus would have wanted the people to change, and what people do today that is similar:

Phrase from Luke 11

Why did Jesus condemn the action?

What changes do you think Jesus wanted the people to make?

What do people do today that is similar?

“Make clean the outside of the cup” (v. 39)




“Ye tithe mint and rue” (v. 42)




“Love the uppermost [best] seats” (v. 43)




“Lade men with burdens grievous to be borne” (v. 46)




“Ye build the sepulchres of the prophets” (v. 47)




Luke 12
“Seek Ye the Kingdom of God”

To follow the Savior we must leave behind the wickedness of the world. Because of the many distractions and temptations, this can be difficult. However, Jesus promises great blessings to those who follow Him. As you read Luke 12 look for what Jesus requires of His disciples and what promises He gives.

Understanding the Scriptures

Luke 12

Trode (v. 1)—Trampled

Leaven (v. 1)—Yeast

Confess (v. 8)—Acknowledge

Magistrates (v. 11)—Rulers, leaders, or authorities

Covetousness (v. 15)—Greed

Bestow (vv. 17–18)—Place or store

Stature (v. 25)—Height

One cubit (v. 25)—About 18 inches or .5 meters

Toil (v. 27)—Work

Spin (v. 27)—Make yarn or thread for cloth

Arrayed (v. 27)—Dressed

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–C) as you study Luke 12.

Activity A iconPick a Favorite

As you read Luke 12, pick out three verses that most impress you and then answer or do the following:

  1. Why did you select each of the verses?

  2. What do you think each of the verses is trying to teach?

  3. Memorize one of the verses, and recite it to a family member, teacher, or friend.

Activity B iconWhat’s in a Number?

Read Luke 12:15 and look for what Jesus warned against. Read verses 16–21 and answer the following questions:

  1. How many times is the word I or my used to describe how the rich man felt about the things the Lord had blessed him with?

  2. What does that show about his attitude?

  3. How did the Savior’s parable help teach to “beware of covetousness”?

  4. What can you learn about worldly treasures from this parable?

Christ teaching in the temple

Activity C iconFinish the Sentence

Read Luke 12:35–48. Complete the following sentences with information you find there:

  1. Be watchful and prepared for . . .

  2. If we knew when, then we would . . .

  3. When the master returns, the servants should be . . .

  4. The master will return at a time when . . .

  5. The master will punish those servants who . . .

  6. Much is expected of . . .

Luke 13
Repent or Perish

Imagine a beautiful tree with branches full of your favorite fruit. The fruit is plump, ripe, and smells delicious. Now, imagine a fruit tree with large branches and lush green leaves. However, even though it is the right season and you look closely, you cannot find even one piece of fruit on the tree. Jesus used a story like this to teach about righteousness and repentance.

As you read Luke 13 also look for other teachings about repentance and how those teachings apply in your life.

Understanding the Scriptures

Luke 13

Dresser (v. 7)—Caretaker (one who prunes, nourishes, and harvests)

Why cumbereth it the ground (v. 7)—Why should it use up the soil

Dung it (v. 8)—Fertilize it

Bowed together (v. 11)—Hunched or bent over

Three measures of meal (v. 21)—Large amount of flour

Brood (v. 34)—Chicks

Desolate (v. 35)—Empty

Luke 13:1–5—“Except Ye Repent, Ye Shall All Likewise Perish”

Commenting on these verses, Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote:

“Does God send accidents, violent death, and other calamities upon [individuals] to punish them for their sins? Apparently there were those among Jesus’ hearers who thought so. Accordingly, we find the Master expressly saying that those subject to the misfortunes here involved were not greater sinners than their fellows whose lives were spared.

“True it is, as a general principle, that God sends disasters, calamities, plagues, and suffering upon the rebellious, and that he preserves and protects those who love and serve him. . . .

“But to say that particular individuals slain in war, killed in accidents, smitten with disease, stricken by plagues, or shorn of their property by natural calamities, have been singled out from among their fellows as especially deserving of such supposed retribution is wholly unwarranted. It is not man’s prerogative to conclude in individual cases of suffering or accident that such has befallen a person as a just retribution for an ungodly course.

“. . . For that matter, the Lord brings difficulties upon the most righteous of his saints to test and try them. . . .

“The real lesson to be learned from Jesus’ conclusion, ‘Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish,’ is that there was no difference in righteousness between the slain and the living, and that unless the living repent they would perish with the dead” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:475–76).

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–C) as you study Luke 13.

Activity A iconInterpret a Parable

Read the parable in Luke 13:6–9 and draw a picture of what Jesus described. Label each item with a word or sentence that you think is an appropriate interpretation of that item. (For example, the husbandman refers to God and the fig tree represents the Jews among whom Jesus lived.)

Activity B iconLiken the Scriptures

Luke 13:10–17 tells of a woman who was healed on the Sabbath in the synagogue. Answer the following questions to help you liken that story to yourself and learn about how the Savior can bless you with His miraculous power:

  1. What could cause a person to be spiritually “bowed together” (bent over as if carrying a burden)?

  2. Read Luke 13:12–13. When might Jesus call to us so that we might be “loosed” from our problem and “made straight”?

  3. According to verse 16, what does Jesus especially want us to be loosed from?

Christ healing a lame person

Activity C iconWrite a Parable

Jesus gave two parables in Luke 13:18–20 that teach about the growth and development of the Church. Read these two parables, and then write a parable of your own (using familiar examples or items from your life) to illustrate the growth of the Church. (For more information on leaven, see “Understanding the Scriptures” for Mark 8:15, p. 45.)

Luke 14
The Cost of Discipleship

President Marion G. Romney, then Second Counselor in the First Presidency, said, “Christ’s invitation to become his disciple is universal. He extends it to everyone. His call and promise is ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11:28). . . . Jesus put no money price tag on his invitation. Nephi quotes him as saying, ‘Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price’ (2 Nephi 26:25). This does not mean, however, that because he put no money price on it that there is no cost involved. There is a cost to be paid in becoming a disciple of Christ, a very real cost. But the cost is a performance cost, not a money price” (in Conference Report, Sept.–Oct. 1978, 53–54; or Ensign, Nov. 1978, 38).

Look for some of the costs associated with becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ as you read Luke 14. Also pay attention to the Joseph Smith Translation changes in this chapter.

Understanding the Scriptures

Luke 14

Dropsy (v. 2)—Swelling, or an accumulation of fluid that indicates an illness

Bidden (vv. 7–8, 10)—Invited

Marked (v. 7)—Noticed

Abased (v. 11)—Humbled or made low

Recompense (vv. 12, 14)—Be repaid

Luke 14:26–27—Should We Hate Our Family?

Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained: “[Jesus did not mean] hate in the sense of intense aversion or abhorrence; such is contrary to the whole spirit and tenor of the gospel. Men are to love even their enemies, to say nothing of their own flesh and blood. (Matt. 5:43–48.) Rather, the sense and meaning of Jesus’ present instruction is that true disciples have a duty toward God which takes precedence over any family or personal obligation [see also Matthew 10:37; 19:27, 29; D&C 103:28]” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:503).

Luke 14:28–33—“Which of You, Intending to Build a Tower, Sitteth Not Down First, and Counteth the Cost?”

Those who join the Church should be prepared to make the sacrifices required in the gospel. Converts should consider these costs even before baptism and commit themselves to fully follow the teachings of Jesus. Facing the challenges of a new calling, President John Taylor once said: “When I first entered upon Mormonism, I did it with my eyes open, I counted the cost. I looked upon it as a life-long labor, and I considered that I was not only enlisted for time, but for eternity also, and did not wish to shrink now, although I felt my incompetency” (in B. H. Roberts, The Life of John Taylor [1963], 48).

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–C) as you study Luke 14.

Activity A iconWhat Is the Principle?

As you read the scriptures, it is often helpful to stop and ask yourself “What question or problem is answered or resolved by the teachings in these verses?” As you read Luke 14:7–14 write at least one important question that is answered by what is taught there, and then in your own words write the answer to the question.

Activity B iconList the Excuses

The parable in Luke 14:15–24 tells of many people being invited to a great supper.

  1. Draw the following chart in your notebook. List the excuses made by those who were invited in the parable, and then list modern excuses that are similar to those in the parable.


    Parable Excuse

    Modern Excuse

    Luke 14:18



    Luke 14:19



    Luke 14:20



  3. Summarize the main principle of the parable.

Activity C iconConsider the Cost

Luke 14:25–34 tells of some expectations Christ has for His disciples.

  1. Read those verses and list as many expectations as you can find.

  2. Why do you think the Savior wants us to sacrifice so much to follow Him?

  3. What are some specific things you could do to follow these teachings?

  4. What blessings do you believe will come to those who are disciples of Christ?

Luke 15
A Time of Parables

A parable is a short story that teaches an eternal truth. The parables of Jesus were about ordinary things, but they taught important religious truths. Parables help people understand truth by the power of the Spirit rather than by the power of intellect. Many of the parables in Luke 15–16 teach about the worth of souls, and the responsibility we have to help and bless others.

father embracing prodigal son

Understanding the Scriptures

Luke 15

Riotous (v. 13)—Uncontrolled

Fell on his neck (v. 20)—Embraced or hugged him

Intreated (v. 28)—Pleaded with

Luke 15:3–32—The Sheep, the Coin, and the Prodigal Son Were Each Lost for Different Reasons

President David O. McKay compared the things lost in these three parables to the ways some of God’s children become lost today:

The Lost Sheep: “How did that sheep get lost? He was not rebellious. If you follow the comparison, the lamb was seeking its livelihood in a perfectly legitimate manner, but either stupidly, perhaps unconsciously, it followed the enticement of the field, the prospect of better grass until it got out beyond the fold and was lost.”

The Lost Coin: “In this case the thing lost was not in itself responsible. The one who had been trusted with that coin had, through carelessness or neglect, mislaid it or dropped it.”

The Lost, or Prodigal, Son: “Here is a case of volition, here is choice, deliberate choice. Here is, in a way, rebellion against authority” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1945, 120–21, 123).

Studying the Scriptures

Do one of the following activities (A or B) as you study Luke 15.

Activity A iconComplete the Chart

Copy the following chart in your notebook. Fill it in from the information you find in Luke 15.


Verses Where Found

Main Idea

Modern Example of Parable

How Were They Helped in the Parable?

How Could You Help This Type of Lost One Today?

Lost Sheep


People wander from the Church and are lost.


The shepherd left the ninety and nine and rescued the lost sheep.



Luke 15:8–10


A careless or rude remark hurts someone’s feelings and that person stops coming to church.



Prodigal Son


People rebel and leave the Church.




Activity B iconWrite a Letter

After reading Luke 15, write one of the following types of letters in your notebook. (You may want to mail it to the person you wrote it to after the assignment is returned.) As part of the letter, include at least five verses of scripture you think will help the person who will receive the letter.

  1. A letter to a missionary you know. Express your encouragement and gratitude for the missionary’s service in trying to find those of Heavenly Father’s children who are lost.

  2. A letter to someone you know who is preparing for a mission. Tell what you learned from Luke 15 and how it can help prepare him or her for missionary service.

  3. A letter to yourself that you will seal and not open until you are missionary age. Record the feelings you had from studying Luke 15 and your goals concerning missionary work.

Luke 16
Preparing to Meet God

The parables in Luke 15 emphasized how much the Lord loves the sinner and rejoices when someone who is “lost” decides to repent. The parables and teachings in Luke 16 add to those ideas by reminding us why it is important to turn to the Lord before the judgment.

Understanding the Scriptures

Luke 16

Steward (vv. 1–3)—Servant

Stewardship (vv. 2–4)—Responsibility

Mammon (vv. 9, 11, 13)—Worldly wealth and riches

Abomination (v. 15)—Wickedness

Fared sumptuously (v. 19)—Lived in luxury

Abraham’s bosom (v. 22)—The spirit world, more specifically paradise

Hell (v. 23)—Spirit prison

Luke 16:1–15—Why Did the Lord Use the Unjust Steward as an Example in This Parable?

Jesus was not saying that we should be dishonest like the steward. Instead He taught that even a man whose life is centered around money knows enough to plan for the future. How much more should those who understand the things of God plan for the future—the next life. Those covetous Pharisees were pretending to be followers of God but paid more attention to obtaining what the world offered.

Luke 16:14–23—“The Pharisees . . . Derided Him”

The Prophet Joseph Smith made several inspired changes to this text, as found in JST, Luke 16:16–23. These changes enhance our understanding of (1) the blatant wickedness of the Pharisees, (2) the direct manner in which the Savior rebuked them, and (3) the specific sins the Pharisees were guilty of, which in turn led to the teachings and parable directed to them in Luke 16:18–31.

Jesus Christ bridged the gulf
between paradise and spirit prison.
gulf between Paradise and Spirit PrisonChrist bridges the gulf
[click for scalable version]

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A as you study Luke 16.

Activity A iconRewrite a Parable in Your Own Words

Choose either the parable of the unjust steward (see Luke 16:1–14) or the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (see Luke 16:19–31) and do the following:

  1. Read the first verse of the parable.

  2. Rewrite that verse in your own words.

  3. Continue this pattern for each verse of the parable.

Luke 17
When Will the Kingdom of God Come?

Jesus taught His disciples about the Second Coming. He did not tell them the exact date of His coming. Instead He spoke to them about preparing for that day, which will take many people by surprise. The teachings found in Luke 17, which include faith, obedience, service, gratitude, and avoiding wickedness, are important for those who are striving to be ready for the coming of Christ. As you read this chapter, consider how each of these teachings might prepare and protect you in the last days.

Understanding the Scriptures

Luke 17

Offences (v. 1)—Actions that cause people to stumble or sin

Millstone (v. 2)—Large round stone used to grind grain

Sup (v. 8)—Eat

Gird (v. 8)—Prepare (refers to tying up one’s long robes around the waist to get ready to work)

Noe (vv. 26, 27)—Noah

Thither (v. 37)—There

Luke 17:11–19—Only One of the Ten Healed Lepers Showed Gratitude to Jesus

President Spencer W. Kimball wrote: “Ingratitude is a distressing sin which kindles the Lord’s anger. (See D&C 59:21.) . . . When the Savior healed the ten lepers and only one thanked him, he pointed out the nine ingrates as a lesson to all when he said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed?’ (Luke 17:17.) Adults as well as youth are often guilty, being disobedient and unthankful to their Heavenly Father who gives them all. Many fail to show their gratitude through service, through family prayers, through the payment of their tithes, and in numerous other ways God has a right to expect” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, 58–59).

one leper thanks Jesus

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity B and one of the other two activities (A or C) as you study Luke 17.

Activity A iconCompare a Similar Scripture

Read Luke 17:5–10 and Mosiah 2:18–22.

  1. What similarities do you see in these verses?

  2. What is the main message being taught by the phrase “unprofitable servants”?

Activity B iconLook Closer

Re-read the story of the healing of the ten lepers in Luke 17:11–19.

  1. What blessing came to all ten lepers? (see v. 14).

  2. What additional blessing came to the leper who expressed gratitude? (see v. 19).

  3. What do you think is significant about the difference between being healed and being whole?

  4. The leper who gave thanks was a Samaritan. With what you know about Samaritans, why do you think that is an important part of the story?

Activity C iconThe Second Coming

Read Luke 17:22–33 and think about what the world will be like at the Second Coming and what the people will be doing then. Write down the most important advice you feel is given in those verses and tell why you think people today need that advice.

Luke 18
Treasure in Heaven

Do you want to enter the celestial kingdom? Why? What blessings do you believe await you there? What kind of person do you believe you need to become in order to enter therein?

Jesus taught: “Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein” (Luke 18:17). Each of the stories and parables in Luke 18 centers around the promise that the faithful who follow Jesus’ teachings will enter into heaven. As you read this chapter, look for how each of Jesus’ teachings could help you become childlike and qualify to receive His greatest treasures.

Jesus with children
Other Accounts of What You Read in Luke 18

Luke 18:15–30Matthew 19:13–29; Mark 10:13–30

Luke 18:31–34Matthew 20:17–19; Mark 10:31–34

Luke 18:35–43Matthew 20:29–34; Mark 10:46–52

Understanding the Scriptures

Luke 18

Avenge me (vv. 3, 5, 7–8)—Provide justice or fairness

Bear long (v. 7)—Endure

Extortioners, unjust (v. 11)—Robbers, evildoers

Abased (v. 14)—Humbled

Manifold (v. 30)—Many times as much

Spitefully entreated (v. 32)—Insulted

Luke 18:1–8—Why Did the Lord Give the Parable of the Unjust Judge?

Elder James E. Talmage wrote: “Jesus did not indicate that as the wicked judge finally yielded to supplication so would God do; but He pointed out that if even such a being as this judge, who ‘feared not God, neither regarded man,’ would at last hear and grant the widow’s plea, no one should doubt that God, the Just and Merciful, will hear and answer [our prayers]” (Jesus the Christ, 436; see also D&C 101:81–92).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and B as you study Luke 18.

Activity A iconUse Your Own Words

Read the parable of the unjust judge in Luke 18:1–8 and write in your own words what you think is the main message (see also “Understanding the Scriptures” for Luke 18:1–8).

Activity B iconMake a Comparison

In Luke 18:1 Jesus taught that we should pray always. In addition, the parable in Luke 18:9–14 teaches us that we should have a certain attitude as we pray. Compare the Pharisee and the tax collector in the parable by duplicating and completing the following chart in your notebook:



Tax Collector

What did people think of him?



What did he think of himself?



What did he pray for?



What did Jesus say about each man?



Read Alma 31:13–20 and 33:3–11. Which do you think best matches each man’s prayer?



Luke 19
Jesus Comes to Jerusalem

Imagine finding out that Jesus was coming to your city, school, or home. How would you feel? What might you do to welcome Him? What would you change in order to be ready to receive Him? Imagine what Jesus might say about what He observed there. What would He ask you to do differently? What would He be pleased with? What would disappoint Him?

As you read Luke 19, which tells of Jesus passing through Jericho and entering Jerusalem, consider how differently people responded to His coming. Also consider how Jesus’ actions showed how He felt about the people in those cities.

Other Accounts of What You Read in Luke 19

Luke 19:29–48Matthew 21:1–16; Mark 11:1–18

Understanding the Scriptures

Luke 19

Little of stature (v. 3)—Short

Make haste (vv. 5–6)—Hurry

By false accusation (v. 8)—By cheating them

Pounds (v. 13)—One talent was one hundred pounds; a measurement of money

Kept laid up (v. 20)—Saved

Usury (v. 23)—Interest, or earnings from an investment

Luke 19:12–27—An Interpretation of This Parable

Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained:

“Christ is the nobleman; the far off country is heaven; the kingdom there to be given him is ‘all power . . . in heaven and in earth’ (Matt. 28:18); and his promised return is the glorious Second Coming, when the literal and visible kingdom shall be set up on earth. The ten servants are the members of the Church to whom he has given physical, mental, and spiritual capacities (pounds) to be used in his service. Those designated as ‘citizens’ are the other people in the world, those who are subject to him because he is the God of the whole earth, but who have not accepted his gospel and come into his fold as servants. The servants are commanded to labor in the vineyard on their Lord’s errand until he returns. . . .

“When the nobleman returns to judge the world, he will reward his servants in accordance with their works. All shall not receive the same status in the mansions which are prepared; there are degrees of glory. Some will rule ten cities, others five, and those who were slothful shall be disinherited entirely.

“Unused faculties are lost; rightly used abilities can be increased until perfection is attained. ‘Unto every servant who is diligent shall be given great reward; and from him who is slothful shall be taken away even the light, abilities, and faculties which he had’” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:572–73).

Studying the Scriptures

Do either activity A or B as you study Luke 19.

Activity A iconJournal Entries

As you read Luke 19 you will see that several people came into contact with Jesus while he traveled toward Jerusalem and entered triumphantly. (Remember that Jesus’ triumphal entry began the last week of His life). Imagine being each of the following people. Imagine what their experience with Jesus may have been like from the clues you find in the scriptures, and think about how they may have perceived the Savior. Write a day’s journal entry for each of these people (as if you were them) concerning their experiences with Jesus during this time.

Zacchaeus in tree
  1. Zacchaeus

  2. A member of the crowd in Jerusalem who watched Jesus ride in on a colt.

  3. A person who was in the temple when Jesus cleansed it.

Activity B iconWrite a Modern Version

The parable in Luke 19:11–27 uses the word pound to refer to a unit of money. The money symbolizes the skills and abilities we are given and expected to develop during this life. Read this parable and then write a modern version of this parable that teaches the same lesson. For example, instead of using a nobleman you might use an employer or a parent.

Luke 20
They Sought to Destroy Him

The events in Luke 20 took place during the last week of the Savior’s mortal life. As you read it, consider the following questions: Why did the Jewish leaders want to destroy Jesus? What claims did Jesus make that angered them? Why might those people have felt that way, especially considering the love, compassion, and joy Jesus offered during His ministry? What can I learn from the Savior’s example about how to handle those who oppose the kingdom of God?

Other Accounts of What You Read in Luke 20

Luke 20:1–8Matthew 21:23–27; Mark 11:27–33

Luke 20:9–19Matthew 21:33–46; Mark 12:1–12

Luke 20:20–39Matthew 22:15–33; Mark 12:13–27

Luke 20:40–47Matthew 22:41–23:15; Mark 12:34–40

Understanding the Scriptures

Luke 20

Entreated (v. 11)—Insulted

Feign themselves just men (v. 20)—Pretend to be faithful and righteous men

Neither acceptest thou the person of any (v. 21)—Be impartial, do not play favorites

Image and superscription (v. 24)—Words inscribed on the coin

Render (v. 25)—Give

Raise up seed (v. 28)—Have children

Till I make thine enemies thy footstool (v. 43)—Until I conquer all of your enemies

Luke 20:9–18—The Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen

The servants in this parable represent ancient prophets who were rejected. The heir refers to Jesus Christ, who should have been respected by the people, but was rejected and killed.

Luke 20:27–38—“They . . . Neither Marry, Nor Are Given in Marriage”

The scriptures and the words of modern prophets make it clear that marriages and family relationships can continue after death (see D&C 132:19–22; Matthew 19:6). The blessings of eternal family relationships come to those who are sealed in holy temples and keep the covenants they make there. Jesus was speaking to the Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection. Knowing that will help you better understand why Jesus answered them the way He did. (See “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102.)

Elder James E. Talmage taught: “The woman would and could be the wife of but one in the eternal world, and that one the man to whom she was given by the authority of the Holy Priesthood on earth, as a consort for time and eternity. In short, the woman would be the wife of the man with whom she entered into covenant for eternity under the seal of Divine authority; and no contract or agreement for time only would be effective in the resurrection” (The House of the Lord [1968], 90).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and B as you study Luke 20.

Activity A iconBe a News Reporter

Imagine that you are a news reporter assigned to follow Jesus during the events of Luke 20. You are not one of His followers, but you are not His enemy either. Write a story about the events you would have witnessed as if it were for the next day’s paper. Include a headline you think would get your readers’ attention.

Activity B iconDo a Scripture Search

Read Luke 20:9–18 and the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for those verses. It may help to use the Topical Guide or Bible Dictionary as you complete this activity.

  1. From the Old Testament, look for and list the names of any three prophets who were treated like the three servants in the parable.

  2. Find a New Testament verse that shows Jesus was treated like the heir in this parable was treated.

Luke 21
“The Time Draweth Nigh”

Near the end of His ministry, the Savior revealed what would happen before His Second Coming. We often call these events the signs of the times. As you read Luke 21, think about how blessed you are to live in the days when some of those prophesied signs are coming to pass. Also ponder how privileged you are to be led by a living prophet who can help you know and understand the signs.

Other Accounts of What You Read in Luke 21

Luke 21:1–4Mark 12:41–44

Luke 21:5–38Matthew 24:1–42; Mark 13; Joseph Smith—Matthew

Understanding the Scriptures

Luke 21

widow's mite

Mites (v. 2)—Small coins of very little value

Abundance (v. 4)—Wealth

Penury (v. 4)—Poverty

Pestilences (v. 11)—Plagues

Give you a mouth (v. 15)—Give you inspiration so you know what to say

Compassed (v. 20)—Surrounded

Them that give suck (v. 23)—Mothers who are nursing children

Perplexity (v. 25)—Confusion

Nigh (vv. 30–31)—Near

Surfeiting (v. 34)—Excesses from drinking

Luke 21:5–38—Important Joseph Smith Translation Helps

Pay close attention to the Joseph Smith Translation as you study this chapter. You can also find many helps by referring to the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for Matthew 24 (p. 33). Joseph Smith also made many inspired changes for Matthew 24 (see Joseph Smith—Matthew), and you will find many helps there.

Luke 21:24—“The Times of the Gentiles”

Elder Joseph Fielding Smith, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, explained: “The times of the Gentiles commenced shortly after the death of our Redeemer. The Jews soon rejected the Gospel and it was then taken to the Gentiles. The times of the Gentiles have continued from that time until now” (Church History and Modern Revelation, 1:179).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and B as you study Luke 21.

Activity A icon“Signs of the Times”

In Luke 21:5–36 Jesus answered the disciples’ questions concerning the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and the events that would precede that destruction. This passage not only tells of what would happen before the temple was destroyed, but also what would happen before the Lord returned in glory.

As you read this account, describe the signs given in Luke 21:8, 11–12, 26–27.

Christ looking over Jerusalem

Activity B iconMake a Preparation Checklist

The Second Coming will be “great and dreadful” (Malachi 4:5) for the wicked, but “if ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (D&C 38:30). Read Luke 21:32–38 and list at least seven ways you can prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Luke 22
The Symbolism of the Sacrament

According to Heavenly Father’s will and in preparation for the Atonement, Jesus Christ instituted the sacrament in an upper room in Jerusalem. This symbolized the infinite and eternal sacrifice that was carried out because of the Savior’s love for us. As you read Luke’s testimony of what happened in that upper room and in Gethsemane, consider how important the Atonement is in your life. How blessed are you because of Jesus’ sacrifice? How does partaking of the sacrament help you build faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ and increase your testimony of Him as your Savior and Redeemer?

Other Accounts of What You Read in Luke 22

Luke 22:1–65Matthew 26; Mark 14

Luke 22:66–71Matthew 27:1; Mark 15:1

Understanding the Scriptures

Luke 22

Strife (v. 24)—Argument

Exercise lordship over them (v. 25)—Rule over them

Benefactors (v. 25)—Virtuous, upright, the best of persons

Thrice (v. 34)—Three times

Purse and scrip (vv. 35–36)—Money bag or sack to put possessions in

Suffer ye thus far (v. 51)—Stop this, there will be no more of this

Things blasphemously (v. 65)—Insulting things

Luke 22:31–34, 54–62—Peter Denies Jesus
Peter denies Christ

In a talk entitled Peter, My Brother, Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said that we should be careful about harshly judging Peter for his actions the night of Jesus’ arrest. He reminded us that Peter had forsaken everything to follow Jesus (see Matthew 19:27–28). Furthermore, on different occasions, Jesus had commanded the Twelve to not tell what they knew “until the Son of man be risen again from the dead” (Matthew 17:9; see also Matthew 16:20).

Elder Kimball then said: “I do not pretend to know what Peter’s mental reactions were nor what compelled him to say what he did that terrible night. But in light of his proven bravery, courage, great devotion, and limitless love for the Master, could we not give him the benefit of the doubt and at least forgive him as his Savior seems to have done so fully. Almost immediately Christ elevated him to the highest position in his church and endowed him with the complete keys of that kingdom” (Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year, 13 July 1971, 5).

Luke 22:39–44—Jesus Bled from Every Pore in Gethsemane

Elder Russell M. Nelson taught: “The ordeal of the Atonement centered about the city of Jerusalem. There the greatest single act of love of all recorded history took place. Leaving the upper room, Jesus and His friends crossed the deep ravine east of the city and came to a garden of olive trees on the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives. There in the garden bearing the Hebrew name of Gethsemane—meaning ‘oilpress’—olives had been beaten and pressed to provide oil and food. There at Gethsemane, the Lord ‘suffered the pain of all men, that all . . . might repent and come unto him.’ He took upon Himself the weight of the sins of all mankind, bearing its massive load that caused Him to bleed from every pore” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1996, 46–47; or Ensign, Nov. 1996, 35).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity B and one of the other three activities (A, C, or D) as you study Luke 22.

Activity A iconExplain It to a Child

Read Luke 22:7–20 and look for reasons why these verses might be describing the first sacrament meeting. Imagine being asked to explain to a primary class what Jesus meant in verses 19–20. Write what you would say to those children.

Last Supper

Activity B iconWhat Does It Mean to You?

After reading Luke 22:39–53, consider the following testimony by President Joseph Fielding Smith: “Here we have the Son of God carrying the burden of my transgressions and your transgressions and the transgressions of every soul that receives the gospel of Jesus Christ. . . . He carried the burden—our burden. I added something to it; so did you. So did everybody else. He took it upon himself to pay the price that I might escape—that you might escape—the punishment on the conditions that we will receive his gospel and be true and faithful in it” (Fall—Atonement—Resurrection—Sacrament [address at the Salt Lake Institute of Religion, 14 Jan. 1961], 8).

Picture in your mind those events and Jesus alone in His suffering. Explain what Jesus’ suffering means to you.

Christ praying in Gethesemane

Activity C iconCompare Two Men

Read about Judas in Luke 22:1–6, 46–48 and about Peter in Luke 22:31–34, 54–62. Answer the following questions:

  1. Why do you think Judas did what he did?

  2. Why do you think Peter did what he did?

  3. Judas hanged himself; Peter was later called to lead the Church. What does that show about the differences between those two men?

Activity D iconReport the Facts

Reporters today who cover trials record and report the facts. If you were a reporter assigned to the trial described in Luke 22:66–71, what would you write? Write a report and include a headline that could be used in a newspaper.

Luke 23
The Crucifixion

Consider the words of the hymn “I Stand All Amazed” as you read of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ:

I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me,
Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me.
I tremble to know that for me he was crucified,
That for me, a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt!
Such mercy, such love, and devotion can I forget?
No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat,
Until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet.

Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me
Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!
Hymns, no. 193).

Other Accounts of What You Read in Luke 23

Luke 23Matthew 27:2–61; Mark 15; John 18:28–19:42

Understanding the Scriptures

Luke 23

Perverting the nation (v. 2)—Leading the people away from Caesar

Vehemently (v. 10)—Forcibly

Set him at nought (v. 11)—They despised him; treated him as if he were nothing

At enmity between themselves (v. 12)—Enemies

Sedition (v. 25)—Rebellion

In the same condemnation (v. 40)—Have the same sentence or punishment

Amiss (v. 41)—Wrong

Commend (v. 46)—Commit

Luke 23:7—Herod

Herod was not a personal name but a family name referring to all those who were descendants of Herod the Great. This particular ruler was Herod Antipus (see also Bible Dictionary, “Herod,” pp. 700–701).

Christ being judged
Luke 23:18—Barabbas

Barabbas was a criminal in confinement at Jerusalem for rebellion and murder. His name represents a cruel irony. Literally translated, Barabbas means “son of the father” (see Bible Dictionary, “Barabbas,” p. 619). When Pilate offered to release a prisoner as part of the Passover celebration, Jewish leaders requested Barabbas instead of Jesus, the Only Begotten Son of the Father (see Luke 23:18).

Luke 23:31—The Dry and the Green tree

Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote: “To this expression relative to the green tree and the dry tree, Luke says: ‘This he spake, signifying the scattering of Israel, and the desolation of the heathen, or in other words, the Gentiles,’ meaning the Israelitish scattering that took place at the destruction of Jerusalem, and meaning the desolations that would fall upon all men in the latter days, the days of wickedness and vengeance that should precede his Second Coming” (The Mortal Messiah, 4:208).

Luke 23:39–43—“Today Shalt Thou Be with Me in Paradise”

The Prophet Joseph Smith explained that the phrase “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise” meant “This day thou shalt be with me in the world of spirits: then I will teach you all about it and answer your inquiries” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 309). Jesus did not support the idea of a deathbed repentance.

Christ on the cross

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A as you study Luke 23.

Activity A iconFrom Another’s Point of View

Carefully read Luke 23 and imagine being in the place of each of the following five people: Pilate, Barabbas, the humble malefactor (thief; see Matthew 27:38) on the cross, Simon the Cyrenian, and Joseph of Arimathea. Using the clues you find in the scriptures, write what you think each of them thought of the Savior.

Luke 24
“I Know That My Redeemer Lives”

Elder Robert L. Backman, formerly of the Presidency of the Seventy, gave the following challenge: “Imagine yourself in the company of the disciples and other believers on the day of the Resurrection. Mere hours have passed since you witnessed the horrifying crucifixion of the gentle Nazarene. You have shared hopeless moments of profound sorrow. Confused, knowing not where to turn, how to act, your minds are clouded with mists of despair. Then two disciples join you with word that they have conversed with the Lord on the road to Emmaus. Dare you believe those who report, ‘The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon’? (Luke 24:34)” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1991, 9; or Ensign, Nov. 1991, 9).

As you read Luke 24, think about your testimony of the Lord’s Resurrection and what you might do to strengthen it.

Other Accounts of What You Read in Luke 24

Luke 24:1–11Matthew 28:1–15; Mark 16:1–11; John 20:1–18

Luke 24:36–48Mark 16:14; John 20:19–23

Luke 24:49–53Mark 16:19–20

Understanding the Scriptures

Luke 24

Threescore furlongs (v. 13)—Sixty furlongs; 5–7 miles

Expounded (v. 27)—Declared, made plain, or explained more fully

Constrained (v. 29)—Persuaded

Luke 24:1—“The First Day of the Week”

The first day of the week on the Jewish calendar was Sunday. Jesus was resurrected on this day. After His Ascension the members of the Church, whether Jews or Gentiles, kept this day holy and called it the Lord’s day (see Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2).

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–C) as you study Luke 24.

Activity A iconFind and Expound the Scriptures

In Luke 24:13–35 we read of Jesus appearing to two men who did not clearly understand what had happened to Him or what His mission was. Verse 27 tells us that He expounded, or explained in detail, how the Old Testament prophesied of His life and mission. Using the Topical Guide, find and list three scriptures from the Old Testament that prophesy of His life and mission and explain what they each mean.

Christ with disciples on road to Emmaus

Activity B iconHow Does the Lord Communicate with Us?

The Lord communicates with His children in many different ways. Some of those ways are identified in Luke 24:13–45. Read the following scripture references and list at least six ways the Lord communicates with us.

  1. Luke 24:13–16, 33–52

  2. Luke 24:23

  3. Luke 24:32; see also Doctrine and Covenants 9:8

  4. Luke 24:27, 32, 44–45

  5. Luke 24:36; see also Doctrine and Covenants 6:23

Activity C Scripture Mastery iconScripture Mastery—Luke 24:36–39

Read Luke 24:36–39 and write what you think is the most important doctrine taught about a resurrected body. Also read Luke 24:40–44; Alma 11:42–46; and 40:19–24. List at least five other important doctrines you learn about the Resurrection or resurrected bodies.

the resurrected Christ