June Bible Reading Plan

June Bible Reading Plan

DAILY READINGS

Books: Luke, Joel

 

LUKE

Timeline (Approximate)

Authorship and Purpose:

The Gospel according to Luke was written by Luke, a doctor and traveling companion of Paul in Acts, who also wrote the book of Acts which together comprise a two volume work. There are many different views on when the Gospel of Luke was written, ranging from as early as 63 AD to as late as the early second century. Assuming Luke wrote the book, and depending on when one dates the book of Mark and Paul’s death, the book could have been written from 63 AD to sometime in the early 70’s AD. Either way, dating is not necessary for understanding what the book is communicating. 

Luke tells us that he is writing the book to Theophilus (not much is known about him) in order to provide him with certainty regarding everything he has been taught (1:1-4). Luke grounds everything Jesus ever did in the Old Testament, especially poignant in his inclusion of the “Road to Emmaus” story in which Jesus teaches two of His followers that it all points to Him (24:27).  Beyond this, Luke has a special emphasis on the societal outcast, emphasizing that they too belong to the kingdom of God.

Reading Luke:

It might seem odd that there are four different Gospel accounts in the Bible, but each book is highlighting specific themes which together paint a wholistic picture of Jesus life and ministry. Due to this, there are sometimes differences in how each author recounts certain stories. For example, in Luke’s account of the beatitudes, Jesus simply says, “Blessed are the poor,” while in Matthew, He says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” These differences are not mistakes; what Luke is doing is highlighting a theme which Matthew does not focus on as much. Luke is concerned with addressing the social outcast and is radically proclaiming that they have a place in the God’s kingdom, thus “blessed are the poor.” Matthew, on the other hand, is describing the heart of a true disciple, thus “blessed are the poor in spirit.” These ideas are not contradictory. In fact, these differences complement each other beautifully and paint a more complete picture of Jesus’ teaching. When encountering differences in how Luke recounts Jesus’ life, ask yourself why might Luke tell the story in this way? 

Keeping the key themes in mind will help in seeing how Luke presents his Gospel account. Tracking with repeated ideas will also aid in noticing the key themes. If you have a Bible which footnotes references and allusions to the Old Testament, this will also provide a great way to see how Jesus is the fulfillment of Scripture. 

Key Themes:

The Kingdom of God has come in Jesus — Jesus is the long awaited King from the line of David (1:32-33, 69) and is the fulfillment of the Old Testament (24:27, 44).

The societal outcast has a place in God’s kingdom — Salvation is for all people, regardless of social class or people group (ex. 2:32, 6:20-26, 7:36-50, etc.)

Structure:

  1. Birth & Childhood — 1-2
  2. Jesus’ Baptism & Temptation — 3-4:13
  3. Jesus’ Ministry in Galilee — 4:14-9:50
  4. Jesus on the Road to Jerusalem — 9:51-19:27
  5. Jesus in Jerusalem — 9:28-24:52
 
 
 

JOEL

Timeline (Approximate)

  

Authorship and Purpose:

The book of Joel contains the sayings of the prophet Joel, but other than his name and the name of his father, very little is known about the identity of Joel. It is possible he prophesied before the exile, during or shortly after the exile, or much later. Canonically, its position between Hosea and Amos might suggest that Joel was one of their contemporaries, placing him during the time of the divided kingdom, but at the same time the book references later prophetic writings, so no one truly knows. Regardless, Joel is clearly knowledgable of the rest of the Hebrew Bible and his words contain a powerful message for God’s people. 

Though relatively short, Joel contains a strong call to repentance and tells of the coming of the day of the LORD. Due to sin, locusts, an image of judgment from Exodus, have desolated the land. The image of the locusts develops into an image of an incoming army moving in to judge Israel. Joel is calling for Israel to repent and turn to God because He will save them out of His great love. A future day of judgment is coming and Israel will be restored, bountiful and flowing.

Reading Joel:

The book of Joel is one of the twelve minor prophets, which in the Hebrew Bible are bound together into one book, the Book of the Twelve. While prophecy is usually associated with future events, it is in essence God’s thoughts spoken through the prophet. As a prophet, Joel is essentially a mouthpiece for God; Joel’s words are God’s words toward Israel which may or may not contain information about the future. In this case, Joel is commenting both on the present and the future. 

The prophetic books in the Bible are filled with poetry, and Joel is no different. Hebrew poetry relies heavily on parallelism, or the rhyming of ideas, to highlight and develop themes. Sometimes this entails repeating ideas, as in 1:13, and other times a singular idea is developed, as in 1:2 & 1:3. This repetition and development of ideas provides both emotional emphasis and focuses the reader on what the poetry is communicating. Further, as poetry, it is important to allow the images to speak to you on an emotional level just as much as it is important to analyze it; allow the poetry to speak to you as you would any other poem.

Key Themes:

The day of the LORD — A day will come when God will judge the nations and restore the land of His people. 

Judgment and repentance — God must deal justly with sin, but in His love, those who repent and put their faith in Him will be saved.

Structure of Revelation:

  1. The locusts (past and present day of the LORD) — 1-2
  2. The future day of the LORD — 3
 

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