What does it mean to disciple someone?

April 23, 2006 at 3:16 am Leave a comment

I have just recently learned how to use a concordance. And I’m not talking about the small one in the back of your Bible. I bought a Strong’s Concordance on clearance around six months ago. I had seen this listed as a recommended bible study tool a person should have, but I really didn’t know why I needed it. Well, I finally learned how to use it! I am in fact, quite disappointed that I am just learning how to use this tool. So you can bet that my children are going to learn to use it!

I wanted to give you some examples of how I use it, in case you were like me and never knew why you should need it or what to do with it.

Let’s take a question and see how it can help us look to the Bible to find the answer.
What does it mean to disciple someone?
1. First I would want to know what does it mean to ‘disciple’?
I define the word using Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. (which you can do online here)

***Side note: I use this dictionary often because Noah Webster wrote this dictionary defining words in light of their meaning in Scripture. You won’t find this in any modern dictionary today!

DISCIPLE, v.t.
To teach; to train, or bring up.
To make disciples of; to convert to doctrines or principles.
This authority he employed in sending missionaries to disciple all nations.

2. I usually look up a couple of the key words in the definition and define them as well. So I look up teach and train. (I’ll list the relevant parts here)

TEACH, v.t. pret. and pp. taught. [L. doceo; dico, dicto, and both these and the Gr. to show, may be of one family; all implying sending, passing, communicating, or rather leading, drawing.
1. To instruct; to inform; to communicate to another the knowledge of that of which he was before ignorant.
He will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths. Is.2.
Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. Luke 11.
2. To deliver any doctrine, art, principles or words for instruction. One sect of ancient philosophers taught the doctrines of stoicism, another those of epicureanism.
In vain they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Matt.15.
3. To tell; to give intelligence.
4. To instruct, or to practice the business of an instructor; to use or follow the employment of a preceptor; as, a man teaches school for a livelihood.
5. To show; to exhibit so as to impress on the mind.
If some men teach wicked things, it must be that others may practice them.

TRAIN, v.t. [L. traho, to draw?]
5. To exercise; to discipline; to teach and form by practice; as, to train the militia to the manual exercise; to train soldiers to the use of arms and to tactics. Abram armed his trained servants. Gen.14.
The warrior horse here bred he’s taught to train.
To train or train up, to educate; to teach; to form by instruction or practice; to bring up.
Train up a child in the way he should go,and when he is
old he will not depart from it. Prov.22.
The first christians were, by great hardships, trained
up for glory.
Now I could keep defining words, but I’ll stop here. But you would want to keep going until you get a firm grasp of the definition.

3. I would write down a definition in my own words. There is something about taking things from your brain to paper that really cements something in your mind!

To disciple someone means to instruct and teach them knowledge they did not know before by telling them and showing them.

4. Now I look in Strong’s Concordance and find the word disciple. (If the word is not found in the Bible, then look up other key words from the definition.) I’m going to also look up teach and train, because almost every instance of disciple is used as a noun which is not what I want. Strong’s Concordance will list all the times that these words are used in the Bible. (this is where using an online version is very helpful, click here)

Remember I am looking for what God says about discipling someone. So I will look for verses that will help me find this out. And I should have brought this up sooner, but pray and let the Holy Spirit guide. He will help illuminate the Scriptures for you. Here’s some Scriptures that seemed to answer the question for me:

Deuteronomy 6:7 (KJV) And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Leviticus 10:11 (KJV) And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.

Matthew 5:19 (KJV) Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 28:19 (KJV) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

John 14:26 (KJV) But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Acts 5:42 (KJV) And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 4:1 (KJV) Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.

5. I write down the principles I reason from each of these Scriptures.
I am supposed to disciple my children.
I disciple them by talking with them as we go about our day.
I am to teach 24 hours a day.
I am to teach the laws of God.
I am to do as God commands and teach God’s commandments.
I am to teach everyone.
The Holy Spirit will teach me.
Everyday and all the time I can teach and preach Jesus Christ.

6. Lastly, sum it all up. Write it down!

What does it mean to disciple someone? I am to teach the law of God and be an example to my children and people everywhere. I am to talk of God’s Word all day every day.

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Be Transformed Are parents called to disciple their children?

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Psalm 78:4

We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.

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