Luke 2: The Savior Is Born

New Testament: Student Study guide, (2003), 54–55


Luke is the only gospel writer to tell us about many of the details of the birth of Jesus Christ. These include the taxing by Caesar, the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, the birth in a stable, the shepherds and the angels, Simeon and Anna, and Jesus teaching at the temple. Why do you think Luke would want his gentile friend Theophilus to know these things?

Other Accounts of What You Read in Luke 2

Luke 2:1–39Matthew 1:18–25

Understanding the Scriptures

Luke 2

Be delivered (v. 6)Have her baby 
Swaddling clothes (vv. 7, 12)Strips of cloth wrapped around the baby 
Manger (vv. 7, 12)A feeding place for animals 
Good tidings (v. 10)Good news 
Haste (v. 16)Speed 
Consolation of Israel (v. 25)Comfort or relief of Israel, meaning the Messiah 
From her virginity (v. 36)After her marriage 
Fourscore and four years (v. 37)Eighty-four years (one score is twenty years) 
Redemption (v. 38)Deliverance; to be saved from the consequences of sin 
Fulfilled the days (v. 43)Stayed until the celebration was over 
Kinsfolk and acquaintance (v. 44)Family and friends 
Subject (v. 51)Obedient; followed the advice and counsel of 
Stature (v. 52)Size and appearance 

Luke 2:21—“When Eight Days Were Accomplished”

As a sign of the covenant the Lord made with Abraham and his descendants, all male children of the house of Israel were to be circumcised when they were eight days old (see Genesis 17:12; Bible Dictionary, “circumcision,” p. 646).

Luke 2:22—“The Days of Her Purification”

The mother of a newborn son was considered unclean (meaning she was unable to participate in the ordinances of the law of Moses) for forty days. After forty days she could go to the temple and offer sacrifice for her purification.

Luke 2:46–47—Jesus Teaches in the Temple

The Joseph Smith Translation tells us that the teachers were asking the questions, not Jesus (see JST,Luke 2:46). Those teachers were surprised “at his understanding and answers” (Luke 2:47).

the boy Jeus teaching in the temple

Luke 2:52—Jesus’ Development in His Youth

Speaking about Luke 2:52, President Ezra Taft Benson taught: “The most successful program of complete youth fitness ever known to man was described in fourteen words. … There is the ideal of any program of youth fitness, to help our youth increase in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. It covers everything—physical fitness, mental fitness, social fitness, emotional fitness, and spiritual fitness” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 555–56).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and C or only activity B as you study Luke 2.

Activity A iconThe Christmas Story

Luke 2 contains one of the most beautiful and well-known accounts in the Bible. After carefully reading Luke 2:1–16, do the following:

  1. 1.

    Make up a quiz with at least six questions that cover what you think are the most important details of Jesus’ birth. In parenthesis after each question, write the correct answer and the verse where the answer can be found.

  2. 2.

    List five phrases from Luke 2:1–16 that you think would be good titles for a talk about Jesus at Christmastime.

Activity B iconWitnesses of the Christ Child

Read Luke 2 and list everyone mentioned in this chapter who saw Jesus. Next to each name list how they came to know about Jesus.

Activity C iconA Pattern for Personal Growth

After reading Luke 2:40, 49–52, list the different areas in which Jesus grew and developed. How could you “grow and develop” in those areas?