A definition of discipleship

A definition of discipleship:


From the words of Jesus Christ, a disciple is one who:


Puts Christ first before relationships, self, possessions and convenience


Luke 14:26,27;33 If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple… In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

Abides in and obeys the Word


John 8:31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.

Loves one another


John 13:34,35 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

Bears fruit (Christ-like character and ministry)


John 15:8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.


This prayer from Paul summarizes his thoughts concerning what a disciple should “look like”:


Colossians 1:9-12 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you b to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.


Some attributes of a disciple from the words of Paul:


A disciple:

  • Seeks to glorify Christ — Col 1:10; Ro 15:5,6; 2 Thess 1:11,12
  • Has spiritual wisdom to know, understand and obey the will of God – Col 1:9,10; 4:12
  • Seeks to know and love God better – Col 1:10; Eph 1:17
  • Seeks to know God’s calling, inheritance, power and love – Eph 1:18; 3:17,18
  • Is growing in godliness/sanctification – 1 Thess 5:23
  • Is blameless/holy – 1 Thess 3:13
  • Is pure/righteous – Php 1:10
  • Is strengthened by the Holy Spirit for endurance, patience, joy, thankfulness, faith and hope – Col 4:12; Eph 3:16,17; Rom 15:13
  • Serves and ministers, motivated by faith, love, hope and a spirit of unity – Col 1:10; 1 Thess 1:3; 3:12; 2 Thess 1:11; Rom 15:5
  • Shares their faith actively and is concerned for the spread of the Gospel – Philemon 1:6; 2 Thess 3:1,2
  • Shares in the ministry and supports its leaders – Eph 6:18-20; Heb 13:17,18 (though Paul probably didn’t write Hebrews)