PathwayStart Forums Discipleship What Does "Discipleship" Mean?

  • What Does "Discipleship" Mean?

     Dave Austin updated 9 months, 3 weeks ago 2 Members · 2 Posts
  • Dr. Greg Herrick

    September 12, 2019 at 3:30 pm

    In some quarters, the terms “disciple” and “discipleship” are making a comeback, it seems. But, I wonder what these terms refer to in scripture and what images and applications they evoke in us when we hear (or read) them. Any thoughts?

  • Dave Austin

    September 18, 2019 at 10:53 am

    I did a search for discipleship  in   and got NO results in the text but 14 hits in the notes the first hit is Mat 4:20 [sn] The expression followed him pictures discipleship, which means that to learn from Jesus is to follow him as the guiding priority of one’s life.
    I next try disciple result that its 401 times in the NT and 6 its in the OT.  i click “exact” and get 45 hits. the first exact hit is Matt 8:21 Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
    and doing a word study with this tool gives me the Websters definition of 
    DISCIPLE, n. [L., to learn.]
    1. A learner; a scholar; one who receives or professes to receive instruction from another; as the disciples of Plato.
    2. A follower; an adherent to the doctrines of another. Hence the constant attendants of Christ were called his disciples; and hence all Christians are called his disciples, as they profess to learn and receive his doctrines and precepts. 
    ISBE says
    DISCIPLE – di-si’-p’-l:
    (1) Usually a substantive (mathetes, “a learner,” from manthano, “to learn”; Latin discipulus, “a scholar”): The word is found in the Bible only in the Gospels and Acts. But it is good Greek, in use from Herodotus down, and always means the pupil of someone, in contrast to the master or teacher (didaskalos). See Mt 10:24; Lk 6:40. In all cases it implies that the person not only accepts the views of the teacher, but that he is also in practice an adherent. The word has several applications. In the widest sense it refers to those who accept the teachings of anyone, not only in belief but in life. Thus the disciples of John the Baptist (Mt 9:14; Lk 7:18; Jn 3:25); also of the Pharisees (Mt 22:16; Mk 2:18; Lk 5:33); of Moses (Jn 9:28). But its most common use is to designate the adherents of Jesus. (a) In the widest sense (Mt 10:42; Lk 6:17; Jn 6:66, and often). It is the only name for Christ’s followers in the Gospels. But (b) especially the Twelve Apostles, even when they are called simply the disciples (Mt 10:1; 11:1; 12:1, et al.). In the Acts, after the death and ascension of Jesus, disciples are those who confess Him as the Messiah, Christians (Acts 6:1,2,7; 9:36 (feminine, mathetria); Acts 11:26, “The disciples were called Christians”). Even half-instructed be-lievers who had been baptized only with the baptism of John are disciples (Acts 19:1-4).
    (2) We have also the verb, matheteuo, “Jesus’ disciple” (literally, “was discipled to Jesus,” Mt 27:57); “Make disciples of all the nations” (the King James Version “teach,” Mt 28:19); “had made many disciples” (the King James Version “taught many,” Acts 14:21); “every scribe who hath been made a disciple to the kingdom of heaven” (the King James Version “instructed,” Mt 13:52). The disciple of Christ today may be described in the words of Farrar, as “one who believes His doctrines, rests upon His sacrifice, imbibes His spirit, and imitates His example.”
    The Old Testament has neither the term nor the exact idea, though there is a difference between teacher and scholar among David’s singers (1 Ch 25:8), and among the prophetic guilds the distinction between the rank and file and the leader (1 Sam 19:20; 2 Ki 6:5).
    G. H. Trever
    Easton bible dictionary says
    a scholar, sometimes applied to the followers of John the Baptist (Matt. 9:14), and of the Pharisees (22:16), but principally to the followers of Christ. A disciple of Christ is one who (1) believes his doctrine, (2) rests on his sacrifice, (3) imbibes his spirit, and (4) imitates his example (Matt. 10:24; Luke 14:26, 27, 33; John 6:69).

    NAVEs says

    DISCIPLE, a name given to the followers of any teacher. Of John the Baptist, Matt. 9:14.
    Of Jesus, Matt. 10:1; 20:17; Acts 9:26; 14:20; 21:4.
    The seventy sent forth, Luke 10:1.
    First called Christians at Antioch, Acts 11:26.
    See: Apostles; Righteous.
    STRONGs says
    Pronunciation: math-ay-tes’
    Definition: 1) a learner, pupil, disciple
    from 3129; a learner, i.e. pupil:-disciple. see GREEK for 3129
    Part of Speech: n m
    Origin: from 3129
    Reference: TDNT – 4:415,552
    Count: 269

    and clicking on disciple in Matt 8:21 in english and looking at the greek μαθηταί in gives you –
    Morphology: N-NM-P Strong’s: 3101 Transliterated: mathētai Root: μαθητής
    1) a learner, pupil, disciple
    then if you search for strong: 3101 in (remove the exact feature) you get 244 hits in the New Testament whci says this same greek word ( μαθηταί or strongs 3101) is used 244 times 
    very interesting  study thanks Dr Herrick

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