Luke 2 Commentary

Luke 2 commentary Bible study

Luke 2 Commentary Bible Study


Luke 2:2 (A) When was Jesus born?
Luke 2:2 (B) Quirinius
Luke 2:3-7 Joseph and Mary
Luke 2:8-12 Shepherds in the Fields
Luke 2:13-20 Glory to God
Luke 2:21 Circumcision of Jesus
Luke 2:22-24 Purification of Mary
Luke 2:25-35 Simeon
Luke 2:36-40 Anna the Prophetess
Luke 2:41-45 Jesus’ Parents
Luke 2:46-52 Jesus in the Temple
Luke 2 Bible Study Questions (handout)
LUKE 2:1  1 Now it came to pass in those days that an official order went out from Caesar Augustus to register all the world.

Who is “Caesar Augustus” (Luke 2:1)?
Caesar Augustus was the first Roman emperor. Rome was still a republic when its dictator Julius Caesar, whose will named his great-nephew Octavian as his heir, was assassinated in 44 BC. Octavian won the ensuing power struggle and in 27 BC turned the republic into an empire, became its first emperor, and was renamed “Augustus,” which means “Revered One,” by the Roman senate. Caesar Augustus expanded and ruled the Roman Empire, which doubled in size during his 40 year reign, until his death in 14 AD at 76 years of age. The month of August is named after him.

Why did Caesar Augustus issue an order to “register” (Luke 2:1) the people in the Roman world?
Collecting taxes across the expanding empire had been a problem. To create a more consistent and efficient way of taxation, Caesar Augustus decided to tax each province based on their population, which would be determined through “census” (Luke 2:2). According to Res Gestae ... Augusti (The Deeds of ... Augustus), which he wrote, he ordered three empire-wide censuses during his reign, in 28 BC (just before he turned the Roman Republic officially into the Roman Empire), in 8 BC, and in 14 AD. There were also many provincial censuses, as well as censuses for the purpose of having (newly-conquered) people declare their allegiance to him. The census mentioned above was the empire-wide one in 8 BC.

The census of 8 BC covered just the Roman Empire, so why does Luke 2:1 say that Caesar Augustus ordered “all the world” to be registered?
To Romans, the Roman Empire was the world that mattered. What do Americans today call their professional baseball championship series?