Sunday, September 23, 2012 4:53 AM

Structural Characteristics of Birth Narrative

Sunday, September 23, 2012 4:53 AM
Sunday, September 23, 2012 4:53 AM

The birth narratives in Luke exhibit structural characteristics. The following four outlines demonstrate how Luke structures the call of John the Baptizer through revelations to his father, Zechariah, and how Jesus’ mission and message are revealed to Mary, his mother, as well as the devout temple-dweller, Simeon.

A.  The Angel’s Epiphany to Zechariah about John the Baptizer (Luke 1:11–17)

1.   Entrance of a divine epiphany: (Luke 1:11).

2.   Empowerment with the Spirit: (Luke 1:15b).

3.   Endowment with self-consciousness: (Luke 1:15a)

4.   Explanation of mission: (Luke 1:17).

B.  The Epiphany of Zechariah about John the Baptizer (Luke 1:67, 76)

1.   Entrance of a divine epiphany: (Luke 1:67).

2.   Empowerment with the Spirit: (Luke 1:67).

3.   Endowment with self-consciousness: (Luke 1:76a).

4.   Explanation of mission: (Luke 1:76b).

C.  The Epiphany to Mary about Jesus (Luke 1:26–38)

1.   Entrance of a divine epiphany: (Luke 1:26).

2.   Empowerment with the Spirit: (Luke 1:35).

3.   Endowment with self-consciousness: (Luke 1:32).

4.   Explanation of mission: (Luke 1:32–33).

D.  The Confirming Praise of Simeon regarding Jesus (Luke 2:25–35)

1.   Entrance of a divine epiphany: (the prophecies in Luke 2:34–38).

2.   Empowerment with the Spirit (Luke 2:25), (Luke 2:26), (Luke 2:27).

3.   Endowment with self-consciousness: (Luke 2:32).

4.   Explanation of mission: (Luke 2:34).

The repetition of four elements in a Lukan call narrative enables the reader to discern a pattern in the narratives that can be used to structure Bible studies and sermons on the books of Luke-Acts.[1]


[1] Deppe, D. B. (2011). All Roads Lead to the Text: Eight Methods of Inquiry into the Bible (109–111). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

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