Discipleship: What Does it Look Like Today?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, December 7, 2014 0 comments

by Preston Hunteman

A disciple by definition is one who follows a given teacher. In antiquity, if a 13-year-old Jewish boy wished to be a Rabbi one day, he had to become a disciple of a current Rabbi. It was the Rabbi’s choice to accept or decline the disciple. If the young boy was accepted then he would literally follow his Rabbi everywhere all day, from the time his Rabbi rose till the time he went to sleep.

Today, disciples don’t follow their teachers everywhere, at least not to my knowledge. That would just be uncomfortable in today’s world. Often the disciple will meet with his teacher regularly. The disciple needs to see what he is being discipled for. As the common phrase goes “actions speak louder than words.” When the disciple hears what the teacher says and then see the teacher exhibit that action or behavior, the underlying message will stick more readily with the disciple. Ultimately Proverbs 27:17 rings true, and that when the teacher and the disciple are together they will sharpen each other.

Growing up I was a disciple. I was blessed with a handful of wonderful mentors and teachers who took it upon themselves to train me. Each of my mentors had a different teaching style but I believe they worked together to help me create my views. Let me give you a very simple example of how I was discipled. I have been learning Biblical Hebrew for over 5 years now, and thus far I have found each of my Hebrew teachers write their Hebrew letters slightly differently. If you were to compare my Hebrew letters before I was being tutored and what they look like now, you will find some of my Hebrew letters are very similar to those of my teacher. I picked up on how my teacher wrote her Hebrew letters and I in turn tried to mimic that style.

In today’s world, discipleship is greatly needed. Matthew 28:18-20 holds what is commonly referred to as the Great Commission. In that chapter of Matthew, Jesus is telling His disciples to go forth and make disciples. The one thing Jesus did not say was, “Make disciples until such and such year A.D.” This command was given with the context of an ongoing effect. The teaching styles vary from teacher to teacher, but the concepts are the same. Discipleship is a growing experience, which will take time. In Luke 6:40 it says, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” I believe that everyone is a disciple and a teacher. We are all being taught and we are teaching all of those who watch us.