This is the third post in our series called “What Is Disciple-Making All About?” Click the links for our first two posts, regarding sharing life with others, and multiplication (scroll down to page 4).
The Great Commission (Matthew 28:16–20) is dense and brilliant in defining what disciple-making is all about, and it is in the Great Commission that we find a second characteristic of true disciple-making: it is Bible-based.
When Jesus instructed His followers to teach new disciples “all that I have commanded you,” they understood this as a call to carry on Jesus’ teachings in their new disciple-making relationships. In some ways the task was easier for them than it is for us. They had walked miles and miles at Jesus’ side. They had eaten countless meals with Him. They watched with their own eyes as Jesus interacted with enthusiastic followers and violent opponents. When they encountered all manner of life situations with their new disciples, Jesus’ disciples recalled specific instances in which He had addressed similar issues.
Yet hope is not lost for modern disciple-makers, and in some ways we have the advantage. After all, the Gospels are the God-inspired record of Jesus’ teaching here on earth. The letters of the New Testament show early (and, again, divinely inspired) application of the teachings of Christ. The Old Testament grounds and completes the picture by giving us context for what Jesus taught and practiced. We have all of this in written form, which is more stable and transferable than oral communication, and with the addition of the New Testament we have a larger and fuller body of God’s revelation to work with.
Modern-day disciple-makers honor Christ’s command to “teach them to observe all that I have commanded you” when we utilize the Scripture as the backbone of our disciple-making relationships. The Bible, containing the teaching of Jesus and about Jesus, is the content that we use, the means by which we “teach, reprove, correct, and train in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). To state this in the negative, if our disciple-making doesn’t draw its vitality and direction from the Scripture—the commands of Jesus, the living Word of God—then where, exactly, is our disciple-making vitality and direction coming from? Our own opinions? Modern cultural standards? God forbid.
Here’s a good test question: in what specific ways are you referring specific people to specific biblical passages? Encourage all of our readers by leaving us a comment.
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Each Thursday we send out our Training Resources Newsletter, which shares a new ministry tool and an encouraging story about God’s Spirit preparing someone for service.
For more information on how we can utilize the Scripture in our disciple-making practice, see Disciple-Making Training Lesson 5, Hearing and Obeying God’s Word, Part 2.