The Christian life is a life of discipleship. The contemporary call to discipleship is often spelled out in terms of rigor and self denial, and well it should be. After all, it was the Master himself who said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). The call to discipleship, then, involves a call to take up an instrument of death, the cross, and follow the master to Jerusalem, as it were.
But we must also note that the Master spoke about discipleship in other terms as well. On many occasions he used rural, agrarian imagery to envision for people a life of discipleship. Indeed, in Matthew 11:25-30 he spoke about discipleship as an invitation to rest, to take upon ourselves his yoke and learn from him.
The word “disciple” is the English term typically used to translate mathetes, which itself is an important Greek NT word often referring to a “student,” “pupil,” “apprentice,” or “adherent.” Generally speaking, when Jesus uses mathetes in the Gospels, it has connotations both of “learning” and “following.” Indeed, Jesus suggests that a committed disciple is one who reflects on His teachings and seeks to consistently implement them in his or her life (John 8:31-32). A disciple is also someone who, in light of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), desires to help others come to know the Master and live out his teachings as well. Therefore, since discipleship is a good lens through which to view the whole of the obedient Christian life, we have decided to start this second track with another important article along these lines.
The goal of this first track, then, is to contribute to the discipleship process of a young believer by orienting them to the basic doctrines and ideas of the Christian faith. We will read articles on discipleship, the importance of the Bible, the triune God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, Man and Sin, Salvation, Christian growth, Satan, the church, and the end times. It should be mentioned that the articles used for the various tracks are culled from material already on the website. This means that we may use article 3 in a six-part serieses on prayer as one of our articles. We will attempt to indicate where this is the case so that the reader can look at the series as a whole if they so wish. Also, the articles were written by at least six different people, so the student is afforded a nice variety in perspective and writing style.
The way to use the material is straightforward and easy. First, read the synopsis of the article and then the article itself. The synopsis is designed to orient you to the lesson and should not be skipped. After reading the lesson and thinking about it, go ahead and answer the various questions assigned to that article. This may be done in a group or one your own.
For the most part, the questions are fairly straightforward, though they will require some thought. Do not be concerned if you cannot answer every question. Some will be straightforward “content” questions, some will be “synthetic” (or understanding) questions, and some will be “applicational” questions. Give it your best shot and enjoy the material. Our prayer is that the Lord will use this material to encourage you in a life of discipleship and that you, in turn, can minister to others, enabling them to live an obedient life for the Lord (John 14:21). Finally, any suggestions you have on how to improve the material would be greatly appreciated.