So what does the word mean? The word “disciple” comes from a word that means “to follow” or “to learn.” One of the best pictures is given in 2 Timothy 2:2, where Paul writes to Timothy, “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” A disciple learns from another, allows God to transform his life and lifestyle through spiritual disciplines. He then takes what he learns to teach (commit to) men who are following him, who will continue the process with other men.
Paul describes four generations of men in that one verse: Paul, Timothy, faithful men, and others. A disciple is one who learns spiritual disciplines AND passes them on to others. Unfortunately, today, we have many fine Christians who have learned from the Scriptures, but are not multiplying themselves to disciple others. Biblical discipleship is a divine transformational process that exponentially influences toward the Lord Jesus Christ in a multiplication system.
Our goal is not just to be a disciple or a discipler, but a discipler of disciplers! This is Jesus’ model and plan He left for us to fulfill- to multiphy!
The last words of Jesus Christ are eternally important. “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:18-20) He said all authority has been given to Him and therefore that authority stands behind those who follow Him to go and “make disciples.” He also gives the means by which that disciple-making is accomplished: first, by baptizing them (which means to identify them into the family of God) and secondly, by teaching them all that you learn (which means to pass on to them what you learn in discipleship, personal study of God’s Word and in church).
What do you know? Chances are if you attend a Bible teaching church you know a lot! Who’s your Paul? Who’s your Timothy? Are your disciples discipling others? These are all important questions. Discipleship is not about gaining “head” knowledge. Scripture does not say that you should be mature before you start making disciples. Jesus left His disciples to disciple others after He had been with them only three years.
Discipleship is not an optional activity. If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you should actively be involved in disciple-making. Most people are discipled through a combination of one-on-one, small group and local church ministry.
Although Scripture is not prescriptive regarding methodology, the following spiritual disciplines are encouraged throughout Scripture:
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Each believer is responsible to the Lord to grow in these areas. You are to seek godly believers to help you grow in each of these areas.
The following are discipleship resources I would recommend as you help others fulfill the Great Commission and develop spiritual disciplines.
GENERAL- Spiritual Disciplines
Connecting with God, Christ Adsit
Spiritual Fitness Guidebook (Soldier Version), CRU Ministry
Growing Strong in God’s Family (Navigators 2:7 Discipleship Series)
In-Depth Discipleship Manual (Self Confrontation), John Broger
Learning to Walk with God, Charlie Riggs
Purpose Driven Life, Chuck Warren
Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth, Charles C. Ryrie
Major Bible Themes, Chafer & Walvrood
Come and See Discipleship Training, Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum (free online podcasts)
Foundations: Building in the Faith, Laying A Foundation on the Rock, Jesus Christ, Village Missions International (free download, 290 pages)
The Exemplary Husband, Stuart Scott
The Excellent Wife, Martha Peace
The Faithful Parent, Peace and Scott
Shepherding a Child’s Heart, Tedd Tripp
Discover God emphasizes the character of God. Bill Bright states, “We can trace all of our problems to our view of God.” This site provides insight on how God’s attributes relate to our everyday life.
Our Daily Bread provides a daily devotion with a short Bible reading, and also a read through the Bible plan. It will even read aloud to you!
There are many online devotional resources available, but there is no greater encouragement than reading God’s Word for yourself, and making personal application. I encourage you to open the pages of the Bible, and learn to read it for yourself. If this is difficult for you, find someone to disciple you.
BIBLE READING PLANS
You Version not only provides free downloads of apps and Bibles, but also has a wonderful assortment of Bible Reading plans. Whether you want to read through the entire Bible, OT, NT, Proverbs, 90 Day plan, or Chronological, this is the site for you!
Bible Gateway provides several reading plans.
Walk Through the Bible has several reading plans.