Disciples – Who Is A Disciple?
Disciples – Before we talk about discipleship we should firstly talk about who a disciple is. Thereafter we will be talking about how to equip and then send the disciple to harvest.
The word disciples/ disciple occurred once in the Old Testament and that is in Isaiah 8:16. And it occurs in the New Testament about 256 times, and interestingly all are in the gospels and a few occurrences in the book of Acts. The word disciple cannot be found in the epistles.
Note: The Hebrew word translated disciples in Isaiah 8:16 is Limmuwd – Lim-mood. It is used for someone who has been instructed, accustomed, learned, and taught. The one who does the act of Limmood is called Lemad, – lawmad, which means Expert, teacher, or someone who is skillful.
Greek word for disciples – Mathetes math-ay-tes’ – a learner
A disciple therefore, is someone who has been taught/ indoctrinated in a particular belief, trade, and profession to be a master of it. Note there is a difference between a disciple and a believer – explain!
Why make them disciples? Because from the pew to the pulpit – (2 Tim 2:2)
Where to teach Disciples
Anchor Scripture – Ephesians 4:11 – 14
Obviously, Christian disciples are taught in the Church. The church is the place to teach believers and make disciples out of them. The Church is where knowledge of Christ is transferred to the believers. Knowledge is the Key here; Christianity therefore, is all about knowing not all about having. See (Eph. 1:17-18, Phil. 3:10, Col. 1:9-12, 28). Apostle Paul also had his own disciples and he taught the knowledge of Christ to them. Some notable disciples of Apostle Paul are Timothy, Titus etc. (Act 19:9). He also taught some bigger Apostles. The church is a place to learn Christ and noting more or less (Ephesians 4:20, Phil. 3:8). The resultant effect of this is that the believers are filled and saturated with Christ (Gal 4:19). Knowledge makes the difference.
“The Great Commission”
Anchor Scripture – Matt 28:26-20
Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
From the quotation above, there are four important words we should take note of and these are: teach, teaching, observe and commanded. Is important to note that before Jesus could say to them to teach, He must have taught them something. So you don’t send someone an errand empty, there must be something to deliver.
So what did Jesus teach the Disciples?
Well, let’s see on a few occasion Jesus send his disciples out what He commanded them to tell the people. We shall see if that is the same thing He was asking them to go and teach all the nations. Let’s see Matt 10:5-8, Luke 9:1-6, 10:9). Interestingly, this is not what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 28:18 -20. Let’s see John 16:12-14. Because Jesus puts a disclaimer on all that He taught His disciples before His death. Therefore whatever Jesus is referring here is what He taught them after His resurrection. And what the Holy Ghost will teach His disciples. Let’s see Luke 24: 25-27, 31-34, 44-49, 1Cor 2:13.
Disciples – The source of teaching/ equipping:
Anchor Scripture – 2 Timothy 3:15 -17
“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
From the quotations we have read, we notice that Jesus taught His disciples from the Scripture. Also Apostle Paul said to Timothy that the Scripture is able to make him wise unto salvation. This implies that the Scripture is the basis for learning. It means that knowledge that should be transferred to the disciples about Christ or His kingdom should be extracted from the Scriptures.
The Question Is – What Is The Scripture(s)?
From the question above, the Greek word translated Holy Scriptures is Hieros gramma (grafe) it also mean sacred writing. It says again all Scripture meaning pas-graphe. So the detail of what the scripture can be used for is made available in this verse. The Scripture is also regarded as the mystery, because it is written in coded language and needed to be revealed (Romans 16:25)
However, the bible is not the Scripture as we have been made to believe, rather the bible contents the Scripture. This is because when Jesus was talking to His disciples in the book of Luke, the book of Luke was not written. When Paul said to Timothy that the Scripture is able to make him wise, the book of Timothy wasn’t written. Therefore, the Scripture is Genesis to Malachi. It is important to note that the Bible is divided into two major parts, the Old Testament and New Testament. In reality, the Old Testament starts from Exodus to Malachi (Jeremiah 31:31-33, Heb. 8:8-9).
Book Of Genesis:
The book of Genesis is not part of Old Testament because Genesis is not part of the Law. Also, for the New Testament, the Gospels are not part of the New Testament because the events that took place in all the Gospels were conducted under the law. The gospels are historical book about the humanity of Jesus. They are otherwise known as the eye witness accounts of Jesus Christ. (Luke 1:2), The New Testament starts from the Book of Acts, because that is after the death of Christ (Hebrews 9:16-17). It is also called the revelation of the Scriptures (Romans 16:25). On the other hand, the bible is not the Word of God, but it contains the Word of God. And the Word of God is not paper and ink but a Person. Therefore we read the bible to have better knowledge of the Person.
How To Read The Bible:
The best way to read the bible and understand it is to read in context and always read a verse in view of the pretest and posttest; by this a better understanding is established and if not there’s going to be a misconception of certain facts. Also remember the bible was written without chapters, verses and punctuations. Therefore, the write-ups are flow of thoughts as result can open up a point and established it in another chapter. Also understand that the bible has been translated from one language to another, and because of this some important facts were affected.
The translators were not Christians and do not have Holy Ghost in them therefore did their job as normal people. Somehow they added their own idea or words to create some level of understanding. However, in doing that they altered some truths in the bible. Any word in italics is added by translator e.g (Ephesians 1:3). Some statements sound contradictory but one read in context in order to understand (Matt 5:45, 6:14-15). But we should forgive as God has forgiven us in Christ (Ephesian 4:32).
For Harvesting – Where to teach/preach from:
A disciple therefore should be well equipped in the knowledge of the New Testament because it reveals the Old Testament which is written in coded languages. Also, the believers are called to dispense the New Testament (2 Corinthians 3:6). This is because in the New Testament the full knowledge of the gospel of salvation is revealed (Acts 4:12, Romans 1:16). It is important to state that even if the text is an Old Testament, the believer or disciple should see it through the lens of the New Testament and preach Christ from it (Acts 8:5, 35).
What Do You Preach?
Well, the answer is the gospel and nothing but the gospel of Christ. The gospel is all about Christ, not business or house or money or even miracles and riches and not even the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:23, 2Corinthians 2:2, 4:5). So the gospel is pivoted or centered on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). And anyone that accepts this fact is saved (Deuteronomy 30:14, Romans 10:8-10). The effect of accepting this gospel is that the individual is now found in Christ (2Corinthians 5:16-17).
Why Is Important To Go For Harvest? – Just Few
- Because you are called to call another (John 1:40-45)
- Because you are reconcile to God in order to reconcile others to God (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).
- Is a necessity laid upon us all (1 Corinthians 9:16).
- Is your labour of love in the Lord and it will not be forgotten (1 Thessalonians 1:3)
- Because you were asked to go (Matthew 28:18-20)
- Because you are an agent or a carrier of good news (Romans 10:15).
- For leadership position in the Church – (Titus 1:4-5)
- Brings out every good thing in you in Christ (Philemon 6)
- It makes you a wise person (Proverbs 11:30)
How Not To Preach:
- (1 Corinthians 1:17)
- (1 Corinthians 2:4-7)
- (Romans 12:11) Avoid being lazy
- (1 Timothy 4:13) Avoid truancy
You Don’t Go For Harvest Because Of Earthly Reward
- (1 Thessalonian 2:9)
- (1 Corinthians 9:18)
About The Author:
Chukwuemeka C. Asiegbu is the Pastor of Saved In The Lord Evangelical Ministry. He has authored many books such as “The Earth Is From Nothing”, “Man”, “The Power Of Light” etc. He has also written many Christian related articles. You can always contact him here
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