This workshop leader’s Bible study is a historical, theological, and contextual introduction to the Parables of the Lost Coin and Sheep rotation of Kirk of Kildaire’s Faith Quest workshop rotation program. It is intended to provide workshop leaders with:
· A historical context for understanding the Bible story.
· A Biblical context for reading and teaching the story.
· The theological basis for the concepts to be taught to the children.
In Kirk of Kildaire’s Faith Quest program, workshop leaders attend a one-hour Bible study two weeks prior to the start of a new rotation. This Bible study helps workshop leaders understand how the concepts to be taught to the children are derived from the Bible story and how the lessons in the rotation fit together to reinforce the concepts. It also provides an opportunity for the workshop leaders to grow in their own faith and understanding of the Bible.
It will be helpful to have a chalkboard, whiteboard, or flip chart for writing down questions or observations during the Bible study.
Note: This is not a comprehensive study of the text, but only a few notes to help provide context and background for workshop leaders. Consult titles cited in the reference list at the end of these notes for more information.
And God said, “I will look for those that are lost and bring back the ones that wander off.” Ezekiel 34:16 (CEV)
o God seeks out all who are lost.
o God and the heavenly host rejoice when we (the lost) return to him.
o God is merciful.
o God calls us to celebrate with him when the lost are found.
o God is the shepherd and we are the sheep.
o God doesn’t give up on anyone, so we shouldn’t either.
· If workshop leaders do not know each other, give them an opportunity to introduce each other and say which workshop they will be leading.
· Begin the Bible study by praying for God’s guidance as teachers begin a new rotation.
Ask a workshop leader to read the text aloud. Since this rotation focuses on an entire chapter, you might want to divide the reading among three or four workshop leaders.
Ask the workshop leaders what questions came to mind as they heard the story or read it before the Bible study. Write down any questions that arise and will need to be answered during the Bible study.
Background on Luke
Luke is one of the Four Gospels. The book itself does not identify the author but tradition traces authorship of both Luke and Acts to a physician who was a friend of Paul’s (Culpepper, 4). Luke was probably a Gentile who knew Greek well and was quite familiar with the OT and Jewish practices (Culpepper, 9). The writing of the Gospel is dated to the mid-eighties AD.
Luke’s gospel is similar in form to ancient biographies. It contains seven main sections as indicated below (Culpepper, 10).
Luke 1:1-4 The Prologue
Luke 1:5-2:52 The Infancy Narrative
Luke 3:1-4:13 Preparation for the Ministry of Jesus
Luke 4:14-9:50 The
Luke 9:51-19:27 The
Luke 19:28-21:38 The
Luke 22:1-24:53 The Passion and Resurrection Narratives
“The Lukan Jesus is compassionate, a friend to
outcasts. Luke also relates Jesus to the
These two parables along with the parable of the prodigal son make up a trilogy that all “speak of the joy of finding that which was lost” (Craddock, 183). The story of the lost sheep is found in Matthew (18:12-14) as well, but the lost coin and the prodigal son are found only in Luke. The lost sheep and lost coin parables are normally paired together due to their corresponding themes and structures. They are also connected in the text by the word “or” in verse 8.
Culpepper offers the following structure for the two parables: “1) a question, 2) a story of losing and finding, 3) a celebration with friends, and 4) the moral” (294).
According to interpreter Fred Craddock, the word parable comes from a Greek word that “means, literally, ‘that which is tossed alongside,’ implying a comparison, an analogy, an elaboration, or an illustration” (108). Parables are not meant to control the listener, telling him/her exactly what to think; but instead are meant to evoke participation. The listener/reader is “an active participant in the communication” and is called on to make interpretations and to take responsibility for those meanings that he/she draws from the text (Craddock, 108-109).
V.1-2 Note the familiar theme of tax collectors/sinners up against the Pharisees/scribes. Jesus welcomes those whom society shuns and is criticized for it.
Murmur/grumble/mutter: Same word used in the exodus narratives to describe what the Israelites did while in the desert. The Pharisees and scribes are complaining about how Jesus eats with tax collectors and sinners. Table fellowship and the guidelines surrounding it were very important. In response to the complaints, Jesus tells three parables.
V. 3 image of shepherd. See Ezkiel 34:12 and Isaiah 40:11 for portrayals of God as a shepherd.
V. 4 leave other 99 sheep in the wilderness – risk everything to find one.
V. 5, 6 and 9 Rejoice with friends and neighbors – the joy is so great it must be shared but this joy is also scandalous (Craddock, 186).
V. 7 Moral: God celebrates the repentance/return of even one sinner. Reflecting back to verse 2 we see that “Jesus’ actions in accepting sinners and eating with them reflects God’s gracious spirit toward those who were held in contempt by the Pharisees and scribes” (Culpepper, 296).
V. 8 ten silver coins = drachmas “each worth about a day’s wage for a laborer” (Culpepper, 295)
V. 10 Moral again – According to Culpepper the “emphasis is on the joy of recovery, not on the need for repentance” and the righteous are called to join in the celebration (298). We are shown in these parables the extensiveness of God’s mercy and called to celebrate with God when that mercy is shared with others. Will we join and celebrate or begrudge others the mercy that we would accept for ourselves? Culpepper says that “only those who can celebrate God’s grace to others can experience [God’s] mercy themselves” (298).
Two of Luke’s overall themes identified above are highlighted in this passage – salvation for all alike and table fellowship.
Ask each workshop leader to summarize his or her workshop. As they do so, point out the concepts that each lesson reinforces. Ask workshop leaders if they have any questions about the logistics or practical application of their lesson.
Holywood: The children will view the video Mr. Henry’s Wild & Wacky 7- Jesus Died for Me? All About Salvation. The concept of salvation is presented, along with an unusual re-enactment of the stories of the lost sheep and lost coin.
Creation Station: Children will create “I Spy” pictures of hidden sheep and coins and will talk about how God never gives up on even one lost person.
Apostles’ Playhouse: The children will pantomime the lost coin story and use their patience as a sheepherder to gather up lost sheep in the sheep herding game.
Good News/Bread of Life Café: The children will create sheep treats from angel food cake and discover how they can identify their creation among all the others just like God can find us when we are lost.
Return to the questions that were gathered at the start of the hour. Have they been answered? Are there any further questions about the Bible story or about the lessons?
Close the Bible study with a prayer.
Craddock, Fred. “Luke.” Interpretation. James Luther Mays, et al. editors. (Louisville, John Knox Press, 1990). (pp. 1-12, 21-37).
Culpepper, R. Alan. “Luke.” The New Interpreter’s Bible, vol. IX. Leander Keck, et al. editors. (Nashville, Abingdon Press, 1995). (pp.3-37 and 49-67).