Comparison of the Lost Sheep Parables
These exercises will be graded on the level of accuracy and detail in the Observations section (indicative of a close and careful reading of the text), and the quality of analysis, insight, and discussion in the Interpretation section (indicative of having done background research on the passages with the use of good commentaries).
▪ Compare what appears to be the same incident/teaching in Matthew and Luke
▪ Note similarities and differences
▪ Note where each incident/teaching appears in each Gospel. Consider what comes before and after these passages. Note where in Jesus? ministry or in what sort of context in the narrative that these passages are found.
▪ Library research – consult some good technical commentaries
▫ You are required to choose from the list of technical commentaries below
▫ Read two technical commentaries on Matthew and two on Luke
▫ You will find it helpful to read commentaries not only on the verses covering the parable of the lost sheep, but also on the materials in the immediate context (that is, the rest of Matt chapter 18 and Luke chapter 15)
▫ Do not use devotional commentaries, study Bibles, internet sermons, blogs,
and outdated commentaries, such as those found in public domain
▪ Why do Matthew and Luke present the incident/teaching in this particular way at this particular point of his particular narrative?
Each Gospel is a piece of literary writing with a theological agenda, so that stories and teaching segments are included to make a point. Therefore, where an author decides to place a particular story or piece of Jesus? teaching matters, because that story or that parable fits his narrative at that place within his larger Gospel narrative better than anywhere else.
▪ How might the distinctive details in Matthew or Luke reflect each author?s theological emphases? Particular details that show up in one Gospel but not in another may tell us something about the author?s special interests and emphases.
▪ What seems to be the significance of this incident/teaching to the Gospel writer?
♦ Divide the write-up into 2 sections: Observations and Interpretation
♦ Section 1: Observations
▫ You may write out your observations in prose format, or use a chart. The goal is
▫ Present your findings when you compare/contrast the different renditions of the dent/teaching in various Gospel accounts
▫ Note differences in details, wording, order
▫ Note the context in which the incident/teaching is located
♦ Section 2: Interpretation
▫ For Section 2, aim for a word limit of 1200 to 1400 words
▫ Discuss the way in which the author uses the incident/teaching in his particular
▫ Anything learned from a commentary must have a footnote to indicate the source of the information (which commentary, page number) to give credit where credit is due. Include a bibliography at the end.
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