Seven Key Discipleship Passages Study Guide: Introduction
The Motive: Followers of the Lord Jesus Christ need to develop certain relationships in order to mature in their faith.
There are seven key passages of Scripture that provide Divine insight into those relationships.
Truth is an essential building block in our growth as Christians. A New Testament pattern of interacting with the Truth is first:
Learning the Truth (deepening our understanding by first private meditation/study and then public interaction/discussion);
then Living the Truth (determining what we can expect of God and what He expects of us, and then applying it in our daily lives);
and finally, Loving others with the Truth (developing others in their relationship with God by helping them apply Truth to their needs).
The Master Plan: The basic idea is to learn each passage so well that it becomes part of our lives and then we can pass it on to others. It usually takes a couple of weeks to grasp the meaning of the passage and its implications for our lives. So, the idea is to meet twice to discuss each passage: the first week to raise questions and thoughts for further study, and the second time to share conclusions and applications from your study. After the first session, you’ll receive a study guide with some additional resources for the second week. It can take much longer than a couple of weeks to integrate a passage into our values and actions, depending on our desire and how closely our beliefs, values, and actions match those mandated in Scripture, but the sooner you start, the better. At the end of each session, you should be applying the Truth to your life, and able to pass it on to someone else in either helping them get established in their faith, or in assisting their growth, or in ministering to others. Go make reproductive disciples. (See Matthew 28:19-20)
The Method: Devote some quality time each week (ten minutes a day or an hour a week, at a minimum) learning all you can about the passage and its implications for your belief system and life. The best way to learn is to ask questions about the verses, and then try to answer them, first on your own, and then with others. Ask: Who? What? When? Were? Why? and How? as you read. To whom is the passage written? What idea was the author trying to get across to his readers? What did he expect them to do with the information? How should they do that? What will happen if they do or don’t? Why did the Holy Spirit include it for us today? How does this work today? And so on.
Write out the verses, one phrase at a time, and try to figure out how the phrases are related. Look up words you’re not sure of in a dictionary, or any other study aids you have. But make sure you are focusing on what God has said in the verse, not what some other verse says or what someone else says about it. Ask God to give you insight into what it means and how He expects you to respond to it. You will learn some additional study techniques along the way, but asking questions about the verse is the best technique for studying the Bible. Bring your unanswered questions to the discussion and be prepared to share some of your answers.
The Passages (It would be a really, really good idea to memorize these verses as you go along):
1. Your relationship with God in Salvation - Ephesians 2:8-10
Focus: the assurance of salvation by grace through faith, and how to share the good news with someone else.
2. Your relationship with the Word of God - 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Focus: convinced of the absolute necessity of the Bible for life and growth, we’ll learn five ways to integrate it into our lives (Quiet Time-QT).
3. Your relationship with God the Father in Prayer - Philippians 4:6-7
Focus: stimulating communication with our heavenly Father, by understanding the Biblical principles and methods of prayer.
4. Your relationship with the Holy Spirit of God in Sanctification - Romans 12:1-2 (study supplement: Romans 8:8-17)
Focus: developing a Biblical understanding and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit in our lives, to draw on His power to live fruitfully and faithfully.
5. Your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ - 2 Corinthians 5:9-10
Focus: trusting and submitting ourselves to His perfect Lordship, so we’ll learn how to experience His perfect will in our lives.
6. Your relationship with Other Believers - Hebrews 10:24-25 (study supplement: Acts 2:41-47)
Focus: obeying Biblical commands to interact with “one another,” we’ll reap the blessings of Biblical relationships and fellowship.
7. Your relationship with Non Believers - Romans 1:16-17 (study supplement: John 4:1-42)
Focus: seeing Jesus share the gospel at the water cooler, we’ll be motivated to sensitively share God’s love (and our testimony) with others.