Though discipleship has been a topic of interest to Christians for centuries,
for the first followers of Jesus discipleship was so much more than just
that. For them, discipleship was the experience of following the Lord Jesus.
At its core, discipleship was a relationship, one that was transforming,
liberating, and empowering. And, as it was for them, so must it be for us.
A disciple is a person who has accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, committed
himself or herself to a growing relationship with God, and by the Holy Spirit
is integrating the Lordship of Jesus into every area of daily life. Disciples
are committed to being responsible members of the church through active and
consistent participation in mission, and they are moved by the internal
motivation of God's Spirit.
Discipleship can be viewed from
varying perspectives. First, it can be examined with respect to the historical
situation in which the Master and His disciples interacted. Second, it can
be judged from the viewpoint of the nature of the Christian life. In order
for us to grasp the character and meaning of Christian discipleship, both
these approaches must be captured.
The theme Christian discipleship implies a discipleship different from others.
Though the first century had many disciple-gathering teachers who were revered
and whose styles of instruction were venerated, Christian discipleship speaks
to a specific mode of discipleship. Because a Christian is an imitator of
Jesus, and because a disciple is a follower, Christian discipleship is, then,
the kind of discipleship that involves following, even imitating, Jesus.
Discipleship also can be viewed from two different levels: (1) that of the
first disciples of Jesus, and (2) that of His subsequent ones.
When one thinks of discipleship as it relates to Jesus and His followers,
several questions arise. What must it have been like to have Jesus call,
teach, and train you for discipleship? What must it have been like to watch
Jesus in action and to learn from His example?
On the other hand, and in some ways more relevant to us now, what does
discipleship entail for Christians living so many centuries removed from
the time when Jesus lived and taught? What does discipleship entail for Christ's
disciples in the twenty-first century? What does discipleship involve for
people who live in a society radically different from where Jesus and His
first disciples lived?
In this quarter's Bible study guide, we will look at discipleship as an
experience between Jesus and those He called to apprenticeship with Him.
We will explore what is involved in discipleship and who is truly a disciple.
We will also examine the process of becoming a disciple and the major
characteristics of discipleship. We will compare Jesus' discipleship with
that of other disciple-gathering teachers. Additionally, we will look at
such questions as would-be disciples, gender and discipleship, ethnicity
and discipleship, instructions for discipleship, and discipleship under pressure.
In short, we will consider what we need to be modern-day disciples living
in what we believe is close to the second coming of Jesus.
Betram Melbourne, our principal contributor, is a native of Jamaica. At the
time of this writing, he was interim dean of the Howard University School
of Divinity in Washington, DC. He is married and has three grown children.
(all lessons may
School Study Helps
Jerry Giardina of Pecos, Texas, assisted by his wife, Cheryl,
prepares a series of helps to accompany the Sabbath School lesson. He includes
all related scripture and most EGW quotations. Jerry has chosen the "New
King James Version" of the scriptures this quarter. It is used with permission.
The study helps are provided in three wordprocessing
RTF for our MAC friends (this is now a
zip file); and HTML (Web Pages).
Last updated on November 30, 2007
12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904.
Clifford R. Goldstein
Soraya Homayouni Parish
Lea Alexander Greve
Larie S. Gray
Pacific Press Coordinator
Paul A. Hey
Art and Design
Copyright © 2008 by the Office of the Adult Bible Study
Guide, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. All Rights Reserved.
SSNET Web Site Home page
Directory of Sabbath School Bible Study
Archive of previous Adult
Sabbath School Bible Study Guides
Prepared for the Internet by the SSNET Web