Bible Study Activities
of Mary and Jesus
the story at MARY OF NAZARETH
to the link at the bottom of the painting at right. Scroll
through the paintings from first to last.
aspects of the story of the birth of Christ has been the most popular with artists?
this have been your choice? Is there some other part of the story that
appeals to you? Some particular quality you would like to see
paint what they want to paint, but they also paint with their audience in mind. Look
at the paintings again. Who is the painting directed at? Explain your
you have chosen something different, ask yourself why this other
incident appeals to you more than the scene favored by the artists.
Spend some time quietly thinking about your response.
Discovering each gospel's
portrayal of Mary
The Bible texts for this activity are at Mary
in the Scriptures
Mary as portrayed in
'The Passion of the Christ'
Mary of Nazareth in Mark’s gospel
Madonna and Child,
Fra Filippo, detail
Mary of Nazareth in Luke’s gospel
The Flight into Egypt, Caravaggio
Mary of Nazareth in Matthew’s gospel
What image of Mary do you receive from the episodes in Matthew’s gospel?
If this was the only information you had about Mary of Nazareth, what would your impression of her be?
What might have been Matthew’s purpose when he wrote these stories about Mary? What do you think he was trying to say?
What similarities are there between the three portrayals of Mary? What differences? Why might there have been these differences?
Mary as portrayed in the BBC 'Passion'
Mary of Nazareth in John’s gospel
Sea of Galilee
Draw up a
rough map (see Map 8 on the link) showing the relative positions of Jerusalem and Nazareth, marking in the boundaries of the provinces Samaria, Galilee and Judea.
How far is it from Nazareth to Jerusalem?
What sort of terrain would you go
through, traveling from one to the other?
Identify a possible route that Mary might have taken in her journey from Nazareth in Galilee to ‘a
Judean town in the hill country’ where Elizabeth lived.
Research the world of Mary, and then describe
A Woman’s Life
Interview your own mother, or an older female relative. You might compose your own list of questions for her, or ask some of the following:
Pearl and gold coronet
1. What are the three events in your life that you remember most vividly?
2. Can you describe one of these events?
3. What things have you done that you are most proud of?
4. What did you find most difficult in your life?
5. Did you learn about Mary of Nazareth when you were at school?
6. How was Mary portrayed?
7. What part did Mary play in religious rituals that you were involved in?
8. Which of Mary’s qualities have you tried to imitate in your own life?
You could, if you wish, answer some of these questions yourself, and recall what you learnt about Mary in your early schooling. How does
the material in this chapter compare with your previous ideas about Mary?
Poster of Mary’s Life
Design symbols for each of the main events in Mary’s life.
outside the box. Make sure the symbols relate to her story and not just to
Express these symbols in a visual form, either by drawing or painting them, producing a collage or poster.
Focus Questions for the gospel
The Annunciation, Henry Tanner
1. What are the most interesting
moments in Mary's story?
2. What is God's interaction with the main characters? What does this tell
you about the narrator's image of God? Do you agree with this image?
4. What is happening on either side of the episodes in Mary's story, in the chapters before
and after it? Does this help you understand what is happening?
5. The narrator/editor has chosen to tell some things and leave other
things out. What has been left out of the story that you would like to
6. Are the characteristics and actions of the people in the story still
present in the world? How is the story relevant to modern life, especially
'The angel said to her 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor
with God. You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and name
him Jesus. He will be called the Son of the Most High.' (Luke 1:30-31)
'My soul glorifies the Lord.....' (1:46)
'She laid him in a manger, because there was no place in the
'Did you not know I must be in my Father's house?' (2:49)
'And his mother treasured all these things in her heart.' (2:51)
The Holy Family, Walking With God,
of these quotes relates to an episode in the birth or childhood
of Jesus. Mary was intimately involved in each event.
some key moments in your relationship with a child - perhaps
your own, perhaps a child you know.
were writing about these key moments, what words would best
describe them? You could include quotes from yourself or the
child, or comments about the episode.
out more' in the left column
has background information
The Birth of Jesus, by
Conrad von Soest, 1403