Zoom Bible Study
St. Philip’s Zoom Bible Study
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Welcome! So glad you can join us today to study God’s Word. We are going to discuss Jesus’ famous parable of the Lost Sons (often called the Prodigal Son). We’ll read the text from Luke 15 and then work through some discussion questions (listed after the Scripture).
You are very welcome to participate in conversation, raise questions, etc. – or you can listen in, whatever you prefer. Let’s dive in.
The Parable of the Lost Sons Luke 15:11-32
11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
Bible Study Guide
Inductive Bible study means ‘drawing out’ the meaning from the text as opposed to ‘reading in’ our own ideas. It’s a way of letting the Bible speak for itself by listening carefully to what it says. Once learned, this method can be done in as little as 5-10 minutes or as long as an hour or more.
Part 1: Pray
We start by asking God’s Spirit – who wrote the Scriptures – to be our Guide in helping us understand the Scriptures.
Part 2: Observation
What does the passage say?
1. If it is a story, identify the characters, plot, setting, and so on. What happens in this scene?
2. If it is a letter or poetry, what are some of the key images, metaphors, or ideas?
3. What are the main concepts and themes in the passage?
4. What is the tone of the speaker or narrator?
5. Do you see any repetitions, contrasts, or causes-and-effects?
6. Are there any promises, commands, exhortations, or questions?
Part 3: Interpretation
What does the passage mean?
1. Imagine the perspective of the characters in the scene and/or the first recipients of this passage. How would they have responded to these words?
2. Develop some questions based on the text. You can ask ‘What is significant?’ about your main observations of the passage.
3. Answer your questions from the text and the context.
4. Try to summarize the passage in one sentence. What is the main point the author is communicating to the audience?
Part 4: Application
How does my life fit into God’s story?
1. What do you see in the passage that leads you to give thanks to God?
2. What in the passage leads you to confess a particular sin or sins?
3. What in the passage leads you to ask God for a need?
4. What are the implications for your community (e.g., family, work, church)?
Part 5: Pray
Ask that God will help you believe, confess, give thanks, and obey in response to your understanding of the passage.