Category Archives: New Testament

Is Our Focus on Paul Related to a Lack of Focus on Discipleship?

Here is where the word “disciple” occurs in the New Testament (NIV)

Matthew – 78
Mark – 59
Luke – 50
John – 81
Acts – 26

Here is where the word “church” occurs in the New Testament (NIV)

Matthew – 2
Acts – 19
Romans – 5
1 Cor – 22
2 Cor – 9
Gal – 3
Eph – 9
Phil – 2
Col – 3
1 Thess – 2
2 Thess – 2
1 Tim – 4
Philemon – 1
Hebrews – 1
James – 1
3 John – 3
Revelation – 12

The word “disciple” is never used again after Acts. The word “church” is only used twice before Acts.

So much of our study and teaching in Churches of Christ has centered on Paul. I think that is because we needed Paul. We needed Paul because for 200 years our discussions focused on church distinctiveness and our audience/conversation partners were people of other fellowships.

It is hard to prove much from Jesus in a discussion on how to “do church right.” You can go to Acts for that but mostly to Paul.

If Paul had used the word disciple as many times as it was used from Matthew to Acts I wonder if things would have turned out differently. I think that would have normalized it a bit more for our fellowship.

Our definition of Christianity needs to look at more than Paul. The issues we deal with in life need to be about more than church polity and getting church right. What does life in the kingdom look like? It looks like Jesus and the path to following Jesus is the path of discipleship. Jesus defines discipleship and so defines the church as the church is the gathering of disciples. You cannot have church without having disciples.

Jesus’ Teaching on Divorce in Mark 10

I have been working through Mark 10 this week. The chapter starts with the Pharisees testing Jesus on his view of the legality of divorce. It is possible given Mark 10:1 that Jesus just crossed over into Herod Antipas’ territory. Herod had divorced his wife to marry his half-brother’s ex-wife. So marriage, divorce and re-marriageContinue Reading

Prayer in the Early Church – What Were They Praying for and What Can We Learn from Them?

What can we learn from how the early church prayed? We can learn so much! As I have gone back through Acts and the Epistles I have looked for some common threads and themes that come up over and over again. Here is what I found. The early church prayed together regularly. We see itContinue Reading

Faith or Fault?

Mark 2 is full of people who found faith and people who found fault. Read all four stories in the chapter and you will see it in each one. We get to choose which one we are going to be. If you choose to live in fear you choose to be the critic. If youContinue Reading

They Wanted to be Near Jesus, Not for the Same Reason

Read Mark 2 when you have 2 minutes and look at all the people who wanted to be with Jesus. The crowds filled the house to hear him teach the word. The friends lower their paralyzed buddy. Levi goes with him. Jesus has a meal with tax collectors and sinners “for there were many whoContinue Reading

Enmeshment, Anxiety and Discipleship

There were several instances where the disciples show signs of enmeshment with each other and with others. These are times when their value gets wrapped up in the value of others. We see this in their arguments over who is the greatest in Luke 22. We see this in John 21 when Peter’s death isContinue Reading

Discipleship and Our Enemies

In Luke, Jesus gives a sermon very similar to the Sermon on the Mount that we call the Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6:17-49). One of the main points of this sermon is how we treat our enemies. We are to: 1 – Love them2 – Bless them3 – Pray for them4 – Be generousContinue Reading

Good Friday, Cross Bearing, and Following Jesus

Jesus said if we want to be his disciples we must take up our cross daily and follow him (Luke 9:23). Jesus said this while he was on his way to Jerusalem to suffer and die on a cross. Good Friday reminds us that Jesus is our leader and the leader always goes first. HebrewsContinue Reading

Discipling on the Road to Jerusalem

“Jesus set his face toward Jerusalem” – Luke 9:51 Right after Luke tells us this, Jesus called more people to follow him – while going to his death! Jesus never stopped calling and making disciples. Jesus never lost his focus. Here is what Luke tells us in 9:57-62, 57 As they were walking along theContinue Reading

Discipleship in The Beattitudes

Who should we consider to be the one blessed or favored by the Lord? The poor in spirit The mourner The meek The one who hungers and thirsts for righteousness The merciful one The one who is pure in heart The one who makes peace The one who is persecuted for being in the rightContinue Reading

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