The Pharisee and the Tax Collector - October 23, 2022

Bible Study “The Pharisee and the Tax Collector”

Share:  Your highs (something that made you happy) and lows (something that made you sad) this week with others around you or write them down.


The promise echoing through the centuries, "I will pour out my spirit on all flesh," rings in Jesus' ears as he tells the disciples a story about the risk in assuming we “have it right.”

This story is about a Pharisee and a tax collector.  Pharisees were religious rulers who tried very hard to obey all the many rules of their religion. Tax collectors figured out what people owed and often charged more than they needed to and kept the extra for themselves.

Opening Prayer:  Loving God, thank you for all that you have given us. Help us to remember to be grateful to you and loving to others. Amen.  


Please open your Bibles to Luke 18:9-14 and read or read the scriptures below. 

Luke 18:9-14

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Reflection Questions:

  • Who are the Pharisees? (The people who were trying to keep all the rules and make sure everyone else kept all the rules.)
  • Why do you think they were so sure they had obeyed all the rules? (When a person spends all their time making sure they are following the rules, they can usually follow the rules.)
  • What do you think could be wrong about just following rules? (You could miss what other people need.)
  • What did tax collectors do? (They collected taxes from people to pay the government. Some of the tax collectors collected more than the people owed and kept the extra.)
  • What was different about the tax collector's prayer? (He noticed he had done something wrong, felt sorry about it, and told God he was sorry.)
  • How else could you say these words: justified, exalted, humbled? (Some possible paraphrases: justified: cleaned up our act; exalted: able to talk with God; humbled: noticing that God is in charge.)
  • How else could you say verse 14 in words we might use with our friends? (Some hints: We are in a much better place when we put God first and not ourselves.)



Click here for the young learner’s lesson


Videos (Click on url)

Lumo Project Gospel of Luke 18:1-14 – 

Parable Video The Pharisee The Tax Collector Luke 18:9-14 –


I wanna be like Jesus -

To Be Like Jesus -


Journal: (Try and keep a journal for each Sunday for a year) write or draw in your journals:  Picture a person who has had a triumph: won the 5k race, sank the winning shot in hockey, got the lead in the school play.  Help this imaginary person compose a prayer that shows the person is grateful.

Now, compose a prayer for the person who blew it: didn't do the homework, left the dog outside all night, whatever. Compose this prayer.

Create a story: Think about what being a Pharisee today might look like.  What would it be like if you were a Pharisee? (Example: I got all my homework done, didn't waste any time playing with my little sister or helping Dad rake the leaves. I did what I am supposed to do.)

Then, think about what being a Tax Collector today might look like?  What would it be like if you were a Tax Collector? (Example: I blew it. My homework is not done. I did not help Dad rake the leaves. I took things that were not mine. I am a slob.)

After you have ideas for both a Pharisee and a Tax Collector, create a modern day telling of this story. You can paint it, or write about it as if it were a newspaper.

Humility Art:  On white paper, color firmly with many colors over the top of each other.  Then press firmly and color over the top with BLACK CRAYON.  Use a toothpick or pen and write HUMILITY and all the colors through and will make a fun picture to remember HUMILITY in a “beautiful way”!


The Pharisee and the Tax Collector Crossword:

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector Decoder: 

Word Search:


Prayer:  “Thank you, God, that I can come to you when I have done something bad and know you will forgive me.  Help me to remember to say thank you for all of my accomplishments, for your forgiveness, and for all you have given to me.  Amen.”