By Bobby Harrington
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness … 2 Timothy 3:16
The Word of God is living and active; by it we encounter Jesus and learn to form our lives around him
Discipleship is to form our lives around Jesus as Lord. This means that discipleship is first and foremost about how we live. Are we truly following Jesus, being formed by Jesus, and faithful to the mission of Jesus? Too many people have made discipleship about knowledge of the Bible. And that is it; they equate discipleship with education. But the focus of discipleship is practical and life oriented, on how we live every day.
But at the same time we do not go too far away from study because discipleship requires knowledge of Jesus and his ways. Jesus’ Lordship is expressed when we carefully follow the teachings of the Bible. The apostle Paul described it this way in 2 Corinthians 10:5 …
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Notice that last phrase, “we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” If obedience to Jesus Christ is our goal, then it requires a certain way of thinking. In Romans 12:2-3, the apostle Paul puts it this way:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
“Transformation,” Paul says, is first grounded in “renewing the mind.” So knowledge is not the focus of discipleship, but it is vitally important. How we think is the biggest determiner of how we live. Understood properly, it is impossible to overstate how important it is to get people into the Bible.
Discipleship requires a manual and the most basic manual of all is the Bible. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 describes the place scripture is to play in the life of a disciple.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
According to this passage, and commensurate with countless others, scripture finds its origin in God. It is God who inspired and “breathed into” it. God speaks to us through the human authors who wrote the Bible. Consequently we must be very careful to teach those we are discipling to follow the teachings of the Bible.