Encountering the New Testament, 4th Edition

A Historical and Theological Survey

series: Encountering Biblical Studies

Materials available for professors by request only


8. Man from Galilee

Discussion Questions

  1. Why is it fairly easy to gain a general idea about the life of Christ?
  2. What reasons could be given for Mary and Joseph settling in Nazareth rather than Bethlehem after 4 BC?
  3. How significant do you think it was for only one episode of Jesus’s early life to be recorded in the Gospels?
  4. Why do you think that all four Gospels associate Jesus with the ministry of John the Baptist?
  5. How would Jesus’s healing of the blind men (Matt. 9:27–31) be received today?
  6. Why do you believe Jesus chose to reveal his mission on earth to his disciples at Caesarea Philippi?
  7. If someone was raised from the dead in your community today, what effect do you think this would have on the community? Why was Jesus’s raising of Lazarus from the dead important to his ministry?
  8. What evidence do we have of Christ’s humanity at the crucifixion?
  9. What do you think is the significance of women rather than men going to the tomb to anoint Jesus’s body?

Assignment Ideas / Class Activities

  1. Ask the class to break up into small groups. Have them compare the Gospel writers’ approaches to demonstrating that they realized how significant Jesus was. Cite references for these comparisons and discuss them with the entire class.
  2. Divide the class into four groups. Assign each group to a Gospel and have them find all references to John the Baptist. At the end of the group study, draw together all the findings and make a table that shows the similarities and differences in the accounts of John the Baptist.
  3. Use a map to point out the place where Jesus was baptized at Bethany.
  4. Use a map to show where Jesus traveled outside Galilee.
  5. As you lecture, make a list on the board of the healings Jesus performed and have the students find the references for these healings.
  6. Ask the students to summarize the significance of Jesus’s life using the five points made in the text.
  7. Have students write an essay on the significance of the baptism of Jesus.