James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.Luke 11:1-54
DOCTRINE OF PRAYER
We name this lesson after its chief topic, for as the Scofield Bible says, we have here “the central New Testament passage on prayer.” The disciples’ request (Luke 11:1) is answered first by a model prayer (Luke 11:2-4), then by a story or parable about prayer (Luke 11:5-10), and finally by setting before them the chief object of prayer (Luke 11:11-13).
The “model” contains fundamental principles of prayer: (1) the right relationship, that of a son to a father; (2) the right attitude, worship, “hallowed be Thy name... Thy will be done”; (3) the right spirit, love, trust, holiness (Luke 11:3-4). Used as a form, the Lord’s Prayer as it is called, is, dispensationally, upon legal ground, rather than that of grace. It is not in the name of Christ for example, and makes human forgiveness the condition of divine forgiveness. Christians have always used it however, and will continue to use it, but they must think into it the conditions of their standing in Christ.
The parable following teaches importunity and intercession for others, and shows in its application that the reason for prayer from the Divine side is God’s desire for the fellowship of His creatures. That is why He waits to give till we ask and seek, or to open unto us until we knock.
The chief object in prayer is the Holy Spirit. Here it should be remembered, we are on Old Testament ground, and to go back to this promise is to forget Pentecost, and to ignore the truth that now every believer has the Holy Spirit dwelling in Him (Romans 8:9-15; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Galatians 4:6; 1 John 2:20-27). It is right for us to seek to “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18) but not to seek the Spirit Himself, Who is already ours if we are Christ’s.
The subsequent events are (1) the false charge against Jesus and His reply (Luke 11:14-28); (2) the challenge for a sign (Luke 11:29-32); (3) the parable of the lighted candle (Luke 11:33-36); and (4) the denunciation of the Pharisees (Luke 11:37-54). The first three were found in Matthew, but the last, while suggesting Matthew 23:13-35, is the record of a different occasion, Luke 11:37-41 make this clear, but in reading them we must not misinterpret Luke 11:38 to mean that our Lord was physically unclean, but only ceremonially so (compare
Mark 7:3). His reply to His host is difficult to understand at Luke 11:41, but the Revised Version throws light upon it. “Lawyers” (Luke 11:45) is really the same as “Scribes,” and so throughout the Gospels. We have seen that the scribes made copies of the Scriptures, and classified and taught the precepts of the oral law as well. Luke 11:51 is very solemn. For Zechariah’s death see 2 Chronicles 24:21.
1. What gives distinction to this chapter?
2. Analyze the Lord’s Prayer.
3. What is its place dispensationally?
4. What three things are taught or suggested in the parable about prayer?
5. What is the place of Luke 11:13 dispensationally?
6. What are the other events of this chapter?
7. Have you reviewed Mark 7:1-4?
8. What was the work of a lawyer?