Sunday School Lesson on Mary and Martha
Luke 10:38 - 42; John 12: 1 - 8
by Josh Hunt

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"All Scripture is inspired by God . . . equally inspired, but not necessarily equally inspiring!" This passage is one of the extra inspiring treats for a Bible Study leader. It leaps off the page with warm insight. I love this passage. I love the example of Mary. I love the truth that God is far more concerned with our heart than he is what he can get out of us in terms of service. We all need to spend time regularly at the feet of Jesus adoring and learning from Him. Today's goal is to lead students to see the gap between where their life is now and where it could be in terms of being a person like Mary. Mary never got so caught up in the work of the kingdom that she forgot a relationship with the King.


Luke 10:38 - 42; John 12: 1 - 8



  1. I would like for half of you to read Luke 10:38 - 42 and summarize it for the other half, while this half read John 12:1 - 8 and summarize it for the group that read from Luke. Feel free to ask questions of the other group; I want you to have a clear understanding of the text before we discuss it.(2)
  2. What do we learn from these passages about the personalities of Mary and Martha? Anyone studied any personality types? How would you categorize these two?
  3. Which personality type do you tend to relate to more?
  4. How would you describe the relationship between Mary and Martha?(3)
  5. I don't want to chase this rabbit too far, but. . . why is it that brothers and sisters tend to fight? What is it that causes sibling rivalry?(4)
  6. Look at Luke 10:40. How does Martha feel at this moment?
  7. Is she justified in her feelings?
  8. Judas is also angry with Mary in John 12:4, 5. How is his anger different?
  9. Didn't Judas have a point? Wasn't this a kind of extravagant waste?
  10. Compare and contrast the response of Jesus to Martha in Luke 10:41 with the response of Jesus to Judas in Luke 12:7.
  11. Return to Luke 10:41. What was it Mary choose that was "better"?
  12. Was what Martha did wrong?(5)
  13. What was it about Mary that so impressed Jesus? Consider both passages that we read.
  14. Do you think it is possible for us to busy ourselves with church activity and never spend time sitting before, adoring and listening to Jesus?
  15. Let me invite one of you to "confess your sins." Could someone tell me about a time when you became so caught up in the work of the kingdom you forgot to have a relationship with the king?
  16. Why is busyness so attractive to us? Why do we find it difficult to slow down and "be still and know that I am God"?
  17. What are the advantages to spending time regularly "at the feet of Jesus"?
  18. Can "the Mary thing" be overdone?
  19. How can we slow down our lives so that we take time "for what is better"?



1. I borrowed this question from Broadman Comments, 52 Ready-To-Teach Bible Study Lessons, p. 154. It is available through the Baptist Sunday School Board at 1 (800) 458 2772.

2. You have to know what the Bible says before you can know what it means.

3. One could argue there is not enough information here to tell. I would argue, however, that they are showing typical signs of sibling rivalry. I think there was some competitive tension between the two.

4. I am listening to a set of tapes I picked up at Cracker Barrel called Siblings and No Rivalry. (If there is a Cracker Barrel near you they can be rented for $2.00 a week.) I suspect the tapes will promise more than they can deliver. So far, so good, however. The speakers point out that the big reason for sibling rivalry is the sense of competition of the parents love and attention. The draw an elaborate word picture that helps you get in touch with how a kid could feel. Suppose a husband were to say to his wife, "I just love having a wife so much, I have decided to have another one. I will be bringing another woman into the house in a few months. We will all just love each other and be one big happy family." The anger that a wife would feel in such a situation is not to different than the anger a child feels by being displaced by a new child. Let me be clear about this "endorsement." I have only listened to a part of these tapes and already have found a number of things I disagree with. However, there seems to be some good information here if you can throw out the bones.

5. As the writer of the Annual points out, sometimes our choice is between the good and the bad. Other times it is between the better and the best.