By Lisa A. Day

Download a PDF of the Word One Bible Study for Pentecost 23 C Gospel.

Text: Luke 18:9-14 for the Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost, Lectionary Series C


Participants will better understand humility as seen by the eyes of God.




This study is intended for use in small groups of 6-8 people. Choose as leader the person who has a birthday closest to the day of this meeting. The leader is responsible for encouraging the group to keep moving along through the study and for making sure that each person has the opportunity to share their answers and ideas.


  1. If all the world was a stage, where would you most likely find yourself?
    1. Behind the Curtain
    2. Stage Left
    3. Center Stage
    4. Stage Right
    5. In the Orchestra Pit
  2. In this drama what role would you play on the stage?
    1. Lead actress/actor
    2. Supporting actress/actor
    3. Set or costume design
    4. Lighting crew
    5. Playing in the Orchestra
  3. On each of two sheets of paper, draw the outline of a person. Make a list of words that might describe the term Self-Centered on one sheet of paper and a list of words that might describe the term Humble on the other sheet of paper.


Read aloud the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector from Luke 18:9-14. Answer the following questions.

  1. There are two characters in the parable. Who are they?
  2. Both people prayed, which is something we all need to do. But each of the two characters prayed in a different way.
    1. The first man                                      prayed for                                       .
    2. What role of the “stage of life” would this person play?
    3. The second man                                           prayed for                                              .
    4. What role on the “stage of life” would this person play?
  3. Turn in your Bibles to Psalm 51. As a group read this aloud. Which persons prayer, the Pharisee or the tax collector, does this Psalm sound more like? Note verse 17. What does it mean that the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit? What do you think a broken spirit is? Does the Pharisee have a broken spirit? The tax collector? Do you?
  4. Turn again to Luke 18:14. What do you think Jesus meant by these words? What might happen to the Pharisee? What might happen to the tax collector?
  5. Think of what you pray to God about. On the line below, place an “x” where you find yourself.
    Pharisee                                                                                        Tax Collector


  1. What did you learn or re-learn about the parable today?
  2. What did you learn or re-learn about yourself today?
  3. As a result of what you learned or re-learned, what will you plan to do differently?


As a group pray or sing the following prayer followed by other petitions if people have them.


                                                  Create in me a clean heart O God

                                                   And renew a right spirit within me.

                                                  Do not cast me from your presence

                                                 And let not Your Holy Spirit from me.

                                               Restore to me the joy of your salvation

                                            And uphold me with your free spirit. Amen.


Originally published in Discovery Bible Studies.

Updated for youthESource in October 2016