What Is a Disciple?

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What Is a Disciple?

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Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words describes a disciple as “not only a pupil, but an adherent…spoken of as imitators of their teacher.” Disciples did not simply acquire knowledge from their teacher; rather, they learned to be like him.

This fits with what we read in Scripture. Christ tells those who would be His followers, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed” (John 8:31 John 8:31Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed;
American King James Version×
). Those who follow His word as a way of life are His disciples—that is, true Christians. Paul, a disciple of Christ, urged the Corinthians to “imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1 1 Corinthians 11:1Be you followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
American King James Version×
).

Ultimately, however, we must remember that we are disciples of God and not of man. We can follow the example of others so long as it agrees with the example of Christ, but our goal must always be to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18 2 Peter 3:18But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
American King James Version×
).

For more information, please read our booklet The Church Jesus Built .