As a born-again Christian with fifteen years of experience in the Christian Ministry, I have a deep appreciation for the disciples that left their normal life and decided to follow Jesus. I always read about them in the Bible and pray to be like them, and always follow the teachings of Jesus. As I have been reading the Bible, I have noted that the word disciple is mentioned several times, which has made me question, “How many times is disciple mentioned in the bible?”
The word disciple is mentioned in the Bible 261 times. This word only appears in the New Testament in the gospel books and the book of Acts only. However, the number of times the word is mentioned can vary, but not less than 260 times, depending on the version of the Bible.
In this article, I invite you to join me as we get deeper into the topic of the mention of disciples in the Bible. We will also uncover answers to questions such as the meaning of Disciple according to the Bible, the book and verse where the word disciple is first mentioned, and whether s disciple is the same as an apostle. We will also get to learn different Bible verses about discipleship, so read till the end.
What Is a Disciple according to the Bible?
According to the Bible, a disciple is someone who follows the teachings of Christ Jesus and then gives their imitation of Jesus as a model for those around them to follow. In John 13:34, Jesus gives the true definition of a disciple while giving his commandments. The Bible mentions that Jesus said that he has given the commandment of loving one another as He loves us, and by doing so, other people will know that we are His disciples. Jesus does not say that we should just love one another, He commands that we love one another as he loves us. Therefore, a disciple is Jesus’ self-referential. A disciple is a person who understands the teachings of Jesus, follows them, and then leads a righteous life like the one Jesus led.
What is the origin of the word disciple?
The word “disciple” came from the word mathētḗs, a Koine Greek word which means someone who follows the education of another person. Biblically, it means someone who is linked with a person who has a specific set of understanding. For example, the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ were associated with their master, who knew the will of God for human beings. In English usage, this word came from discipulus, a Latin word which Biblically means a learner.
What is the first mention of Disciple in the Bible?
The first book and verse where the word disciple is mentioned is in Matthew 8:21-22. These verses teach about the cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. The Bible implies that one of Jesus’ disciples asked Jesus to go bury his Father before he could follow him, but Jesus told him to let those who are dead bury the dead. Many people believe that Jesus was showing that for one to be His Disciple, one had to let go of worldly things. One is expected to sacrifice their worldly life and start leaving in a Godly manner.
Examples of Discipleship in the Bible
John 8:31 says that those who abide in Jesus’ teaching are the true disciples of Jesus Christ.
John 13:34-35 says that Jesus said those who love others as Jesus loves his people are his disciples.
Matthew 28:19 says, go to all nations and make disciples by baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 10:1 says that Jesus gave His disciples power over unclean spirits and diseases.
John 15:8 says that God is glorified by proving to be Jesus’ disciples.
Matthew 16:24 says that Jesus said that anyone who wants to be Jesus’ Disciple must deny themselves and follow Him.
Matthew 11:1 says that Jesus gave instructions to his disciples and left them to go teach and preach.
Luke 14:26 says that those who go to Jesus and don’t hate their life are not His true Disciple.
John 4:2 says that the disciples were baptizing though Jesus was not.
Matthew 13:10 says that the disciples asked why Jesus teaches in parables.
How Many Apostles are mentioned in the Bible?
There are 25 apostles mentioned in the Bible. These apostles are as follows. First, Jesus Christ is the first apostle in the Bible. According to Hebrew 3:1, the Bible implies that we should fix our thoughts on Jesus because he is acknowledged as the apostle and high priest. Jesus then chose the twelve apostles, whose names are indicated in Mathew 10:2. They are said to be the apostles of the Lamb. The 14th apostle is Mathias, who replaced Judas, who failed as an apostle. According to Acts 1:26, the Bible implies that Mathias was added to the eleven apostles.
After this, the Bible mentions other apostles who are said to be ascension apostles because they were called after Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven. The first apostle is Paul, who, according to Galatians 1:1, was sent by God the Father and Jesus Christ. The other apostles are Barnabas (1st Corinthians 9:5-6), James (Galatians 1:19), Andronicus and Junias (Romans 16:7), Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25), Silas (1 Thessalonians 1:1,2:6), Timothy (1 Thessalonians 1:1, 2:6), and Apollos (1 Corinthians 3:22). Also, the Bible mentioned two other apostles in 2 Corinthians 8:23. However, their names are unknown.
Is a disciple the same as an apostle?
No, according to theologians, a disciple is not the same as an apostle. An apostle Biblically means God’s messenger, while a disciple Biblically means a learner. A disciple is someone who learns under a rabbi. They are expected to follow the instructions and imitate the rabbi. Whereas an apostle is someone who has been appointed to be God’s envoy. An apostle is someone who has been given a special mission to proclaim the word of God and bring up new communities of believers.
In the Bible, the 12 disciples of Jesus are also referred to as apostles. They are said to be disciples because they associated themselves with Jesus Christ as their rabbi or master and learned about the teachings of God from Him. Then after they were ready, Jesus appointed them as apostles and gave them a mission to go to all nations, teach the word of God and baptize people to be believers of God.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.