Luke by John MacArthur

Luke (MacArthur Bible Studies)Takeaway: Learning scripture from a variety of teachers is important.

I have decided I am going to try a different format of scripture reading.  The main issue for me is that I read too much and too quickly and that after a while I start reading scripture in the same way as I read everything else.  So I am being intentional, repetitive and trying to slow down as I read scripture.

I picked up this bible study a while ago when it was offered for free on kindle.  I decided to start with Luke intentionally in part because I had this bible study and wanted to be intentional in reading a diverse group of authors as I read about the book I am actively reading.

There are a number of things I like about this study.  First, it is focused on the actual scripture.  The whole book of Luke is included.  Some bible studies have a lot of commentary and stories and do not actually seem to get around to the scripture.  Second, it has extended sections of other scripture (either because the same story is being shared or the other scripture supplements the passage in Luke).

What I wish there was more of is textual helps.  Not everything is clear when you are reading scripture.  Our culture and langage are very different and a book like this should have more notes about the text.  Occasionally I think they actually detracted from the scripture.  For instance in the Sermon on the Mount passage (which in Luke is on the plains) the passage specifically says that when Jesus said, “blessed are the poor” that Jesus was primarily meaning spiritual poverty not economic poverty.  Luke is well known as being very concerned about physical poverty and it seems that he intentionally did not say “spiritual poverty”.  I certainly would not say that he is not including spiritual poverty, because we know from the Matthew retelling that Jesus does mean spiritual poverty there.  But to specifically say he does not mean economic poverty goes too far.

Another problem (and this is a preference more than anything else) is that this book wants to harmonize Luke with the other gospels.  That may be the reason for the note I mention above.  But later there is a note on the crucifixion about the thief.  In Matthew both criminals were mocking Christ, but in Luke the one repents.  The suggestion here is that both started mocking and then the one was convicted and repented.  Again, this says more than the text.

In spite of these fairly minor issues, this would make a good group study.  There are decent (although not incredibly deep) questions about the text and space to write directly in the book (although that doesn’t make much sense for the kindle version.)  Also the kindle version is a topaz format.  (This means it was scanned in and then converted instead of being text that was formated for ebook.  So the quality of the text is not as good as it should be.)  In addition the kindle version has features (like lines to write your answers) that do not make sense and does not have some features that would make sense (like properly formated chapters, a better notes section or a better table of contents.)

All in all, it was a good study for free, but I probably would not get another MacArthur study for my own personal study.

Purchase Links: Paperback, Kindle Edition

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