January 07, 2016

Making Disciples

Discipleship is a word used on the religious landscape and it’s a goal for people of faith. Mentoring on the other hand is a buzzword heard in the world and seems more easily accomplished. Reading the definitions it occurs to me that many of us may be better suited to mentoring than to making disciples. As defined by Webster’s, discipleship is, “one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another [Jesus]; and mentoring is, “to advise or train.” However, Jesus didn’t commissioned the 11 disciples to be mentors, the Great Commission is to make disciples. Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt 28:18-20 NIV).


Steve Corey said...


-----The RSV has “…go and teach all nations…” But I loved the insight you made from the dictionary. So I looked up the Greek word in that passage. It is the verb form of the same root used to speak of the twelve disciples throughout the gospels and Acts. That felt better. I guess like your Not Inspired Version my Right Sometimes Version wasn’t translated by the completely discipled.
-----Also greatly interesting, I found that this word root is used only in the gospels and in Acts. Many theologians like to yodel about Paul’s theology being a different one than Jesus’ theology. I am surprised I haven’t seen them make big hay of this for their destructive fires. Oh yes, now I remember. They so greatly bore me I don’t read their garbage. So really, I don’t know if they’ve made hay of it or not, and I don’t care. But still, it is interesting. John didn’t even use the word in his letters in all the times he addresses “the fathers” and “little children”.
-----Of the eighteen different translations in my Bible software, only the New Living Translation and the Living Bible use the English word “disciple” beyond Acts. Both use it at I Cor 9:5 and Galatians 6:13, while the Living Bible uses it once more at I Cor 11:24. Both of these versions should be dismissed outright as being of any use for what Greek stands behind the English, for they’re interpretations more than they are translations. At Galatians 6:13, for instance, as translated Paul writes, “…that they may glory in your flesh.” But the New Living Translation interprets it as, “…so they can brag about it and claim you as their disciples,” and the Living Bible interprets it as, “…in order that they can boast that you are their disciples.” As for I Corinthians 11:24, where the Living Bible reads, “…and gave it to his disciples,” there is no Greek. It’s a mere insertion. The only real Greek standing behind “disciple” as actually translated only once in all the versions available for my perusal this morning is “apostoloi”, the plural dative of “apostolos”, which of course you recognize as “apostles”.
-----The numerous occurrences of “teach” and “teachers” in the epistles are nearly always translated from the Greek “didasko”, for, well, “teach“. On the other side of this “teaching” action there seems to be “imitators” rather than “disciples“. I find this very interesting. And as yet, I don’t quite know what to think about it. But over the months to come, I am going to start digging. “O LORD, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.” (Ps 131:1) Yah, right! It’s just too curious to leave alone.

Love you all,
Steve Corey

Gail Marvel said...

Great descriptive re-titling of our respective Bibles! I’m anxious to hear what you learn about disciple and making disciples…and if it has any relevance to what church leaders are promoting today. Go get’em…