Explore
Follow Us

Study Jesus first

A tip – if you’re discipling a new believer, don’t give them some kind of devotional book to teach them basic theology. And please, don’t tell them to “read through the Bible in a year.” If you think about it, it probably didn’t do too much for you, and it probably won’t do much to stir up life i…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

A tip – if you’re discipling a new believer, don’t give them some kind of devotional book to teach them basic theology. And please, don’t tell them to “read through the Bible in a year.” If you think about it, it probably didn’t do too much for you, and it probably won’t do much to stir up life in a new believer either.

Please don’t read Romans or Galatians.  It’s great theology and essential reading at some point, but first, wrestle with the question: “Who is this guy I am supposed to be following?”

The priority for a new disciple should be to study his Master.  Who is Jesus and what did he do?  What do the red letters say?

“Follow me and I will make you fishers of men,” he said (Matthew 4:19).

“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,” he said (Luke 6:27).  

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd,” (Matthew 9:36).

“Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field,” (Luke 10:2).

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me,” (John 10:27)

“Feed my sheep,” he said (John 21:17).

Jesus is a radical.  He won’t be tamed or dumbed down.  Following him is hard enough without requiring disciples to study theology.  First learn what he says and do what he says.  Then once you have that down, move on to what other people say about him.

Comments (10)

  • amen. so good! People don’t fall in love or enter into intimate relationship because of a carefully theologically sound argument…

    but when people get Jesus, wrestle with who he is, seek to obey, talk to God and have that kind of relationship…

    they become the most effective disciples.

  • We did this in Romania. When we were getting a little depressed or letting the devil bring us down on the mission field…. We just took a day to study our Jesus. We spent hours just answering the question, “Who is this Jesus living inside of me?” It was such an eye opening experience and so beautiful to discover

  • So good yet so overlooked! This should be a given yet it is something I didn’t make time for till later in my walk.

  • Or they can pray and let the Holy Spirit guide them, which is what Jesus promised and how it went for me when I came to faith at age 37. I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to wander through the Word at the prompting of the Spirit and allowing myself to be educated in God’s time and in God’s way. Unfortunately, many people do not trust the work of the Spirit despite Jesus’ clear gift to us. Fear drives it, I think. And a lack of trust/faith in the unseen.

  • Super.

    A thought I had yesterday:
    If we supposed to be greater than the ones that came before us. And we’re to train the coming generations to be greater than ourselves. Who’s raised the bar of that of the original disciples? Have we dared to challenge that? And it’s a great point – instead of being awed by Acts (which is swell) I wanna know the Guy who started it all. Be intimate with the Original.

    Thanks, Seth!

  • Funny you post this within a day of me deciding not to enroll in a discipleship program so I can simplify, slow down and simply study the Word on my own for a while. Awesome stuff you keep posting, Seth. Thanks for this.

  • Wow. I’ve recently started spending some time doing Bible study with some pre-Christians (interested seekers), and I’ve just given one of them a devotional book and was about to encourage another one to get into Romans! Admittedly there were reasons for that; one of them is leaving the country for good in a few months and I’d like her to have the opportunity to study as much as she wants before she goes and the other was asking some questions that could most easily be answered from Romans. But you are absolutely right! While we need to give some historical and theological background, the aim is and always needs to be to introduce them to a hope-giving, life-transforming person, not a dead religion or set of moral concepts. Thank you!

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Radical Living:

Receive updates on the latest posts as Seth Barnes covers many topics like spiritual formation, what if means to be a christian, how to pray, and more. Radical Living blog is all about a call to excellence in ministry, church, and leadership -as the hands and feet of Jesus.

Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



© Adventures In Missions. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy