by Chris Drager

Download a PDF of the Word One Bible Study for Advent 4 Gospel.

Text: Luke 1:26-38 for the Fourth Sunday in Advent, Lectionary Series B


Participants will:

  1. Trust in God’s plan for their life.
  2. Gain a better understanding of the faith of Mary and Joseph.


Gather in groups of 5-8, including both young men and women in each group. If possible, use the NIV Bible translation. The leader for each group will be the person who, admittedly, is having a bad hair day. The leader will encourage participation from everyone in the group but respect a person’s right to pass and will keep the group moving through the Bible study.


Introduce yourself to the group and briefly share a time when you were afraid to approach a friend, parents or boy/girl friend because you had to tell him/her something that may change their opinion of you.


Read Luke 1:26-38 and Matthew 1:20-23.

God uses his angels as messengers. This happens to be one instance when the message of the angel is both good and bad. Imagine this…Gabriel pops into Mary’s house and says, “I have good news and bad news.” (“The good news is you are highly favored, the bad news is that you are highly favored…by God.”)

  1.  What is Mary’s reaction to being told she is highly favored? (verse 29)
    1. Briefly discuss the lives of “highly-favored” Moses, David and Job. What were the “highlights and lowlights” of their lives?
    2. How is our concept of being favored by God different than that of Mary’s (verses 30-31)?
  1.  Mary wasn’t given much of a choice in being “favored.” She was favored and that’s all there was to it. She was obviously a little confused; after all, she was still a virgin (verse 34). But, with the explanation of Gabriel, things became a bit clearer. The power of God will overshadow you, the Holy Spirit will visit you and you will become pregnant with the Son of God. Not only that, but your “old” relative, Elizabeth, is already six months pregnant.
    1. How do you think Mary felt about all of this?
    2. If you were Joseph, what would be your initial reaction?
    3. Discuss the faith and trust demonstrated by Mary and Joseph.
  1. Mary doesn’t argue, but accepts everything at face value and places her faith in God and says, “I am the Lord’s servant” (verse 38).
    1. Is Mary’s concept of being the Lord’s servant different than that of your own? How?
    2. In what ways are you willing to be “The Lord’s Servant?”
    3. In what ways would you refuse to serve the Lord?
    4. Do you see serving the Lord as doing a favor for God or being favored by God?
    5. What is the difference?



  1.  One person plays Mary and another plays Joseph. (Mary’s role may be played by a male and Joseph’s by a female.) At different points during the role play, the leader will call switch and a new Mary and Joseph will take over the conversation. All members of the group should have the opportunity to participate in the role play.
    Imagine you are Joseph going to visit your fiancée, Mary, and she says: “Honey, sit down. We need to talk. I had a visitor stop by today and he told me I was going to have a baby…”
    •  How will the discussion develop?
    • Will Mary and Joseph stay together?
    • Is Joseph going to be understanding?
    • Would Joseph want to stay with her? Why or why not? (see Matt. 1:20-21)
    • How will Mary and/or Joseph bring up the subject of telling their parents?
    • How will they bring the subject of God into this discussion?
    • Would Joseph be angry with God? Mary? Himself?
    • Would Mary tell Joseph that Elizabeth is pregnant? Why or why not?
    • Other considerations?

 They can’t keep it a secret, after all, Elizabeth already knows something is up.

 Discussion: After the role play, have all group members discuss ways in which they may have changed the conversation and why.


Close with a prayer thanking God for Mary and Joseph and their faith example.


Originally published in Discovery Bible Studies 19, 1996.


Updated for youthESource in December 2014