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LUKE: Describe-It-Yourself

Various Studies Using Describe-It-Yourself Cards


Sets of 21+ Describe-It-Yourself cards are used in small-group, youth group, or home school Bible studies and games. In each study, participants (individuals or teams) take turns describing an event, person, or passage in line with cards that are drawn randomly. One game point is awarded for each valid point that is made in a limited time period. See the studies below for examples of valid points.

GAME / STUDY STEPS: 1.) First, read the passage. 2.) Second, the leader demonstrates how game points can be earned. 3.) If the group is mostly children or beginners, some of the more difficult cards should be removed from the set from the beginning. 4.) Teams may be formed to help beginners. 5.) Teams or individual players take turns drawing a card and speaking about how it is appropriate or not. (Sometimes it is partly right and partly wrong.) 6.) One minute is often long enough to make points, but beginners can be allowed more time. 7.) The leader may give hints to help beginners.

Luke Chapter One --- Elizabeth

How was Elizabeth tone-setting? 1.) She is the first of many women in Luke's Gospel, even appearing before Mary. 2.) Elizabeth and Zacharias were both godly, much like Simeon and Anna in chapter two. 3.) Elizabeth and her husband were not wealthy, trouble makers or a threat to the Romans. They were more focused on salvation from sin (1:69, 76-79) than from Gentile rule, though they cared about both (1:74-75). 4.) The Lord's mercy toward Elizabeth is stressed (1:58) much like it stressed regarding the nation (1:72, 78). Both Elizabeth and the nation had been barren (1:7, 3:8-9) for many years, but they both became recipients of divine mercy.

Why is Elizabeth mentioned more than Zacharias? Her name appears a few more times than his, but Elizabeth spoke much less than her husband. Those who wish to criticize him for his initial unbelief (1:18) should pay more attention to his great prophecies at the end of the chapter (1:68-76). The two were more alike than they were different.

Why was Elizabeth so secretive? 1.) It does not directly say why she had not told any of her neighbors about the angelic vision (1:11-22). 2.) However, hiding herself for five months until her pregnancy became obvious (1:24) was undoubtedly related to the shame and reproach that she had endured for decades (1:25). 3.) Over those many years, she had probably withdrawn to some extent from the other women around her because it was painful not to do so. Others had children and even grandchildren, but she was considered a failure as a wife. 4.) So she remained silent about the choice of name until she was forced to speak at the naming itself (1:60), 5.) This was somewhat like the silence of the shy woman who was healed by touching Jesus' garment in 8:43-48. She too was secretive and withdrawn for physical and social reasons.

Why was Elizabeth the one to encourage Mary? Both Zacharias and Elizabeth had probably questioned God's plan for them to have a child in their old age. She too had probably been surprised. So in encouraging Mary to believe (1:45), Elizabeth may have been thinking about her personal struggle with doubt, and not just being critical of Zacharias' unbelief.

How did Elizabeth serve the Lord? Her words of encouragement to Mary (1:42-45) were important even though they were said at home and were only addressed to one person. Though Elizabeth was from the priestly tribe (1:5), she did not serve in the temple. Like many women, her main place of service was at home. She may not have been able to raise John, however, since he was raised in the wilderness of Judea (1:80) rather than in the hills 81:39).

How did Elizabeth forget herself in 1:41-42? Her joy in the Lord led to her speaking loudly. This was not typical of this shy lady. The Holy Spirit gave her special understanding, and this led to her loud but clear speaking.

Luke 1:26-56 --- Mary in Luke Chapter One

How was Mary famous? 1.) At first, she, of course, was not well known (1:26-27). So humanly speaking, she suddenly appears out of the blue in verse 26. 2.) Eventually she became famous because of the virgin birth. Yet, she remained secondary since Jesus has always been primary.

How was Mary paradoxical? 1.) Though she was not well known in general, Luke chapter one shows that she was part of a godly community in which others knew her well. 2.) Mary was poor and probably uneducated in a formal sense (1:52-53). Yet she spoke fluently (1:46-55) and politely (1:38) somewhat like a member of the cultured, upper class. 3.) Though God exalted and blessed Mary (1:48-49), she remained humble. 4.) She asked Gabriel a question (1:26, 34), but she did not doubt like Zacharias did (1:18-29).

Who was Mary like? 1.) She was like Hannah (1 Sam. 2:1-10), since her speech was full of scripture. 2.) As a godly woman and a mother-to-be of a special child, Mary was like Elizabeth. 3.) Mary was like Anna (2:36-38) and many others in chapters one and two because of her expectation of the coming of the Messiah (1:54-55, 68-75, 2:38). She was expecting in more ways than one.

Was Mary sinless? 1.) She readily admitted that she was not by speaking of God as her Savior (1:47). 2.) In addition, though she was good and godly, she was not praised like Zacharias and Elizabeth were in 1:6.

Why was Mary chosen and called? 1.) Ultimately, we do not know why, since God did the choosing. 2.) Yet, one reason was surely because she was in the line of David. (The genealogy in chapter three was probably through her.) 3.) She was also probably chosen because she was godly, humble, and biblical. 4.) Her health was probably involved, as well. 5.) Finally, being engaged to Joseph, provided protection. Thus, in various ways, God's providence is seen in the choosing.

How should we be like Mary? 1.) We should seek to be godly and humble like she was. 2.) Moreover, we should seek to be helpful like her. One reason she went to be with Elizabeth (1:39, 56) was probably to help during the last three months of Elizaeth's pregnancy and with the birth of John. 3.) Mary was a biblical, Spirit-led thinker. So we should meditate and think biblically like she did. Tragically, many or even most of the religious people who speak most highly of Mary today do not know the Scriptures like her.

REMEMBER to check out how to use the 21+ cards in a fun, educational Describe-It-Yourself game as explained at the top of this page.

Luke 5:1-11 --- The Great Catch

How was the great catch in Luke 5:1-11 astonishing? 1.) The catch was greater than the experienced fishermen had ever seen before. 2.) The catch was made during the day rather than at night. 3.) The Lord Jesus, who was not a fisherman, made the catch possible. This third point is the most important one, since the passage is more about Jesus than the disciples or the catch.

How was the great catch about being inadequate? 1.) Toiling all night had beeninadequate (5:5). 2.) The net was inadequate (5:6). 3.) The two boats were inadequate (5:7). 4.) The human cooperation was inadequate (5:7). 5.) As an ordinary sinful man, Peter was inadequate (5:8). 6.) Yet, Jesus did not allow the net to break, the two ships to sink, or Peter to be excused, because the Lord Jesus himself is the Creator who was and still is totally up to the task.

How was the great catch life changing? 1.) Peter, James, and John left everything and followed Jesus. 2.) They went on to "catch" many for the Lord. 3.) John and Peter because authors of important parts of the New Testament. 4.) The great catch passage is still encouraging and life changing for us today.

How was the great catch about forgiveness? 1.) The forgiveness of sin is not directly mentioned in 5:1-11. 2.) However, the Lord's silence about Peter's sinfulness in 5:8-10 shows that Peter's sins had already been forgiven.

Was the great catch about money? 1.) Money is never mentioned, and the true disciples did not serve in order to gain material wealth. (Judas probably did.) 2.) Yet, the great catch was valuable and undoubtedly met the financial need of the disciples' families for some time. 3.) Peter may have worried some about the financial implications of following the Lord (5:10). 4.) However, finances are not mentioned in order to keep the focus on the Lord Jesus himself.

Was the great catch deadly? 1.) For the fish, it was! 2.) However, the Lord told Peter that he would be catching men alive or unto life in 5:10.

Was the great catch necessary? 1.) In a way, no, since Peter, James, and John had believed to some extent earlier. 2.) However, it was needed as a somewhat negative humbling experience and as a powerful positive encouraging one. 3.) Jesus was counseling Peter.

REMEMBER to check out how to use the 21 plus seven bonus cards in a fun, educational Describe-It-Yourself game as explained at the top of this page.

Luke 10:38-42 --- Martha's Sinful Complaint & Poor Choice

Martha was a godly woman most of the time, but in Luke 10:38-42 her complaint to Jesus and the attitude behind it were sinful. Many of the negative terms on the summary chart below obviously do NOT describe Martha. She was not adulterous, dishonest, wicked, lazy, or idolatrous, but some other terms—like selfish, critical, excessive, worried, and distracted—are spot on. Some others terms are at least partly correct, since she seems to have been angry, inflexible, unthankful, rude, proud, and perhaps even oppressive.

Why was Martha complaint in Luke 10:38-42 sinful? Martha believed that Mary and the Lord himself were treating her unfairly, but in light of the higher priority of listening to God, it was Martha herself who was unfair and probably even somewhat ungodly at the time. By focusing primarily on physical needs, she did not treat Jesus as God.

Martha's problem was with her short-term priorities rather than long-term loyalty. She was not rebellious. She wished to please the Lord, but she was too focused on her own service rather than on the Lord himself and what HE wanted. She was zealous but somewhat ignorant of God's will. This was a bit like Peter in his three denials.

What about the choosing in 10:42? If Jesus and his disciples were simply being hosted for a meal, there would have been no problem between Mary and Martha since they would have made preparations together as they usually did. This time, however, there was a meeting with Jesus teaching as well. So the sisters had to decide what to do. Mary chose to adjust to the meeting being added by sitting to listening. That was what Jesus referred to as choosing the good part (10:42). She was flexible in a godly way, but Martha chose to take her customary role despite the meeting.

A GREAT INTERACTIVE WAY TO STUDY SIN. After reading the passage and teaching a few things about Martha using the summary chart above, the leader should turn the 38 cards face down on a table or hold them in his or her hand as a deck. Next, individuals or teams take turns drawing a card and explaining IF POSSIBLE how the negative term or phrase on the card fits Martha in Luke 10:38-42. Two points are earned each time this is correctly done.

If the term on the card does not fit Martha, the individual or team drawing it can still earn two point by explaining why it is inappropriate and mentioning someone in the Bible whom the term or phrase does fit. For instance, Martha was not violent, but Joab was when he murdered Abner.

At the end of the study / game, after counting to see who got the most points, the leader should make his or her own main point. This may, for instance, be about the danger of being WORLDLY.

Luke 10:38-42 --- Comparing Martha in Luke and John

Martha in Luke chapter 10 is described on the left side of the worksheet below and as she appears in John chapter 11 and 12:1-5 on the right. She seems quite different, even though it was the same person. How could this be? Her active, action-oriented personality shows through in both cases, but with important differences.

What is the basic difference? In line with John's theme, the nature of Martha's belief is stressed in John. She quickly went out to meet Jesus (John 11:20) because her faith prompted her to act. In Luke chapter ten, however, Martha was distracted by things and needs (Lk. 10:40). So her actions and words were not faith based. Other differences, such as Martha doing too much in Luke but not in John, followed naturally from the different starting points.

What about the contexts? The context is clear in John, but in Luke there are no physical or chronological context markers. So it appears that Luke placed the Mary and Martha story right after the parable of the Good Samaritan for a thematic purpose. Perhaps this was to show that doing good deeds like the Good Samaritan had done is not always the best thing to do. So the Lord Jesus and Luke taught through Mary and Martha that it is better to listen to him. Hearing leads to faith, and genuine faith leads to doing the will of God.

Luke 15:11-32 --- The Prodigal Son Parable

How is the prodigal son parable joyful? 1.) The joy of the father represents the joy of God whenever a sinner repents. 2.) The same point is made in the two earlier parables in the chapter. 3.) The elder brother's anger is the opposite of divine joy and shows that there was something wrong with the Pharisees negative view of Jesus' ministry (15:1-3). They did not think like God does.

How was / is the parable evangelistic? Whoever draws the evangelistic card can easily score the maximum number of points allowed in a round which is usually five. The parable is evangelistic because: 1.) It is about / against various kinds of sin. 2.) It is about repentance. 3.) It is about God's love. 4.) It is against false beliefs, such as the belief in self-righteous works. 5.) It is about the prodigal's inability to save himself in 15:15-16. There was only one way to be saved. etc.

How was / is the parable two-sided? The parable is two-sided because: 1.) It is both negative and positive. 2.) It is both evangelistic and theological. 3.) It is against both the lawlessness of the younger brother and the loveless legalism of the older brother. 4.) Materialistically speaking, it is against both wasting and coveting. 5.) It is set in two countries, one Jewish and the other far away. 6.) It is about both short-lived, lawless pleasure and the misery which follows. etc.

How was / is the parable about being miserable? 1.) The prodigal reached his low point in verses 15-16 while feeling the pigs but having nothing to eat himself. This sad state led to his repentance in 15:18-19. 2.) He was still hungry, filthy, and shoeless on the way home, but the change of heart and mind lessened his misery somewhat because he had hope.

How was / is the parable agricultural and why was this important? 1.) The father was a prosperous farmer who represents God. 2.) The younger brother was forced to work feeding pigs when he ran out of money (15:15-16). 3.) The elder brother worked in the field (15:25). 4.) The younger brother's wasteful lifestyle in 15:13, 30 was characterized by NOT working. This represents NOT serving God. The elder brother's work was superficial service for the sake of gain, which represents the lifestyle of the covetous Pharisees (16:14).

How is the image of God seen in the parable? It is not mentioned directly, but it is seen: 1.) in the father allowing the prodigal to leave (15:12-13) rather than forcing him to stay like a slave, 2.) in the prodigal's decision making, even though it was selfish at first, 3.) in the father's pleading with the elder brother to change his thinking, and 4.) in the restoration of the prodigal to full sonship.

What are the "missing" things in the parable? 1.) There is no mother, just the father and sons. (If a mother were included it would lend support to the unbiblical, Roman Catholic view of God.) 2.) God's omniscience and sovereignty are not clearly seen in the father's waiting (15:20), since he apparently was looking for the prodigal to return all day, everyday. (The father's patient love and the prodigal's repentance are stressed instead.) 3.) There is no word of rebuke to the prodigal when he returned (15:21-22). His repentance was immediately and fully accepted.

Where is Jesus himself in the parable? Is he "missing" too? 1.) The father seems to represent God the Father. However, the man seeking his lost sheep in 15:4-7 sounds like God's shepherd, the Lord Jesus. Since these two parables are parallel and in the same chapter, Jesus is not missing. 2.) More importantly, perhaps, as the One who taught these parables, Jesus showed that he could fully explain sin AND how sinful men can be reconciled to God. (Only God, himself, could do this.) This is much like Jesus explaining the true meaning of the law in the Sermon on the Mount. No ordinary man could do this. Thus, Jesus was present as the great, divine Teacher and Evangelist.

How is the parable about the Christian life? 1.) This is not emphasized in the passage, but the prodigal returned with a changed / willing heart ready to serve, since he put his father (who represents God) first. 2.) Moreover his acceptance meant that he was free to serve as a son with approval and help from above. This is the heritage of all genuine believers. 3.) In addition, the elder brother's service was superficial and not pleasing to his father. This shows that only those with a changed heart can actually live the Christian life.

How is the parable sad? 1.) The sinfulness of the prodigal caused sorrow. 2.) The elder brother did not repent. 3.) However, this is not stressed (15:32). The ending is actually positive, like those in the other two chapter 15 parables.

REMEMBER to check out how to use the 38 cards in a fun, educational Describe-It-Yourself game as explained at the top of this page. You may add other cards to the set of 38 if you wish.

Luke 19:1-10 --- Zacchaeus

How is the story of Zacchaeus interesting? 1.) It is an unusual story because of Zacchaeus climbing a tree to see Jesus. 2.) It is short and simple. 3.) The personal nature of the story—including the Lord knowing Zacchaeus and addressing him by name—is heart warming. 4.) The hostile crowd adds a third (triangular) element to the story and helps make it interesting.

How was Zacchaeus an underdog? 1.) Physically, he was short and could not see over the crowd, but 2.) mainly he was an underdog socially. Other than Jesus, everyone seemed to hate him.

What are the "missing" things in the story? 1.) The degree of hatred of Zacchaeus and the details about such are not stated. 2.) The story is kept short. This was probably because a long story about Zacchaeus would have been counterproductive in evangelism among the Jews in Judea. 3.) This is also probably why the story is missing entirely in Matthew, Mark, and John.

Is there really a miracle in the story? 1.) Yes, the salvation of Zacchaeus was miraculous, since he was the despised chief tax collector who had probably lived for years more like a Gentile (helping the Romans) than a Jew. 2.) The miracle was not understood or appreciated by those present (19:7) however. 3.) The grumbling of all those in 19:7 contrasts with all the people glorifying God in 18:43.

What shows that Zacchaeus was not listened to by the people? 1.) Nothing is said about him speaking to the crowd and his words being rejected. 2.) Yet, as an outcast from Jewish society, he would not have been inclined to ask to be allowed to go to the front in order to see Jesus. 3.) Running ahead and climbing a tree was a creative, independent work around in line with things that he probably often had to do. 4.) So his not being listened to was in the sense that he knew better than to ask for Jewish help in the first place. 5.) Zacchaeus was universally shunned, but this makes Jesus taking a special interest in him and accepting him as a repentant sinner and genuine son of Abraham all the more amazing.

REMEMBER to check out how to use the 38 cards in a fun, educational Describe-It-Yourself game as explained at the top of this page. You may add other cards to the set of 38 if you wish.

Luke 23:39-43 --- The Two Thieves

Were the two thieves really UNKNOWN? 1.) They are mentioned in both Matthew and Mark, but only Luke shows that one of them repented. 2.) For Luke's evangelistic purposes, they did not needed to be described in detail. 3.) They may have actually been notorious in Jerusalem at the time, since they had probably killed someone. They were not just thieves.

How was the repentant thief UNLIKE the unrepentant one? 1.) Many summary chart points below show the differences. 2.) Perhaps the most important difference is that the repentant thief feared God while the unrepentant one did not. 3.) Another important contrast is between the repentant thief's faith and hope and the unrepentant criminals lack of faith and hope.

How was the repentant thief LIKE the unrepentant one? 1.) Both of them were thinking about the future to some extent, but the unrepentant thief was shortsighted since he was not thinking about facing God after he died. 2.) According to Mat. 27:44 and Mk. 15:32, both criminals had mocked the Lord and were blasphemous at first. Luke, however, does not show this.

How was the repentant thief EVANGELISTIC? 1.) His words of rebuke to the other thief contained the gospel. 2.) The rebuke was both negative and positive like the gospel.

How was the repentant thief IMPORTANT? 1.) At first, he does not seem to be very important since the account is short and he is unnamed. 2.) However, the story of his salvation is an important part of the crucifixion scene in Luke. 3.) In addition, the repentant thief is somewhat like Zaachaeus. The two help establish the outreach and repentance themes in Luke.

Was the repentant thief really UNSELFISH? 1.) Asking Jesus to remember him in 23:42 seems selfish, but such was proper, since he openly declared his new-found faith in the previous two verses. 2.) Moreover, his rebuke of the other thief in 23:40-41 was humble and unselfish.

Was the repentant thief THANKFUL? 1.) It does not say that he was, but he must have been. 2.) Thankfulness is probably not mentioned because repentance and faith are stressed instead.

REMEMBER to check out how to use the 38 cards in a fun, educational Describe-It-Yourself game as explained at the top of this page. You may add other cards to the set of 38 if you wish.

Luke 24:13-33 --- Jesus' Teaching on the Emmaus Road

How was Jesus' teaching in Lk. 24:13-33 pastoral? 1.) It was aimed at restoring the two disciples' biblical hope. 2.) His teaching was personal counseling. 3.) His teaching was caring and thorough instead of just a quick rebuke and short command. (He spent time with them like a father spending time with his children. 4.) The two disciples rejoined the other disciples in Jerusalem.

How was Jesus' teaching in Lk. 24:13-33 personal? 1.) He drew near and went with the two disciples. 2.) He talked with them in an informal way. 3.) He walked with them and ate with them. 4.) He dealt with the two disciples personally much like he did Peter in John chapter 21.

How was Jesus' teaching in Lk. 24:13-33 persuasive? 1.) He based his teaching on the promises and prophecies in the Old Testament. 2.) He demonstrated perfect, profound, and complete mastery of the Scriptures. 3.) He asked questions in 24:18, 19, and 26. Moreover, he probably continued to ask some questions, especially rhetorical ones, as he taught for over an hour. 4.) His point in 24:25-26 was emphatic and reasonable. 5.) He undoubtedly gave the two disciples some break time to think and meditate on what he said.

Was the Lord's teaching in Lk. 24:13-33 eloquent? 1.) Jesus explained the Scriptures so that the two disciples' faith and hope would be based on what was written rather than on how he spoke. 2.) Orators try to be eloquent for selfish reasons. Jesus did not. 3.) Motivating the two disciples to return to Jerusalem was far more important than being eloquent.

REMEMBER to check out how to use the 38 cards in a fun, educational Describe-It-Yourself game as explained at the top of this page.

MAKING YOUR OWN STUDIES -- with Describe-It-Yourself cards

You can make your own Descriptive Bible Studies using Describe-It-Yourself cards. All you need to do is: 1.) decide what passage(s) you wish to study, 2.) decide whom or what you wish to describe, and then 3.) use a DIY card set / list to help you describe what or whom you chose.

For More Information,
Click Here to Go to the
Descriptive Studies Page

There are Four Describe-It-Yourself Card Sets to choose from. Two sets, (A) and (B), are shorter to save time. In two sets, (A) and (M), all the cards have blank lines for extra thought stimulation. Over half of the cards in the Pro (P) set have blank lines as well. Beaginners may enjoy the simplicity of the Short List (B) set, but those with time for detailed studies may like the Mid List (M) or Pro List (P) sets. Yet, the best set for most users is Short List (A).

© 2021 by Jon F. Mahar, Hakusan City, Japan