I love words. As someone who has always enjoyed writing, I value the meaning of words. I appreciate the dictionary, and I use it regularly to make sure I am using words correctly. Doing a little study, I found something in an online dictionary today that really surprised me!
There are two listed definitions for the verb form of the word “disciple”. And these definitions are listed as ARCHAIC and OBSOLETE, respectively. (No, dictionary.com, I beg to differ!) Three other online dictionaries I checked don’t even have disciple listed as a verb!
Although mostly used as a noun, “disciple” is an ACTION word, too!
To be clear, I did discover that "disciple" is not actually in the Bible as a verb, either. But its meaning as a verb most certainly does exist in scripture! Discipleship is a long-standing principal of the Christian church, and I think the most direct scriptural reference is found in what we call “The Great Commission”.
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.
The part that stands out to me is “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” The definition listed on dictionary.com as “Obsolete” is “To teach; train”. It’s sad to think that something so explicitly given as a command in the Great Commission is considered obsolete with regard to modern-day usage.
The definition listed on dictionary.com as “Archaic” is “To convert into a disciple”. This meaning runs parallel to the meaning of “To teach; train”. We are called to teach people about Jesus so they choose to follow Him, too; then we continue to teach them the truth of His Word, so they can live according to His commandments and lead others in that same knowledge.
The challenge I am giving myself today is to help promote the word “disciple” as a verb in the common English lexicon, by putting my faith into action. We are not just “disciples” (noun). We are called to disciple (verb), meaning to make disciples of others!
The most convenient opportunity for discipleship is in my own home! There are three sets of little ears there, listening for me to speak Truth. I may not be going out to “all nations”, and I may even struggle with it at my day-time workplace, but I can start at home, doing my best to teach my children all things He has commanded, the best I am able, with His help.
And as an interesting aside, I had never made the connection between the words “disciple” and “discipline” until today! “Discipline” has its roots in the word “disciple”, and it makes perfect sense now!
“Training to act in accordance with rules” is one meaning of “discipline”, and following Christ, being a disciple, takes constant training. It’s not something we finally figure out and then we move on.
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
I want to discipline myself to be a better disciple that I may disciple other disciples to have more discipline! (I almost confused myself with that one!)
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