God’s Word is the heart of discipleship. If we want to follow God faithfully, we must learn His Word. We must be faithful students. We should cherish the Word, submit to it, honor it, and fearfully respect the author of it. We should treat it like no other book on earth, because it is “living and active” (Heb. 4:12). It is inspired by the Holy Spirit, and it has the power to change us when we read it.
No man or woman can be a faithful disciple of Jesus if they are not lifelong students of the Bible. We must be in the Book, and the Book must be in us. There is no other way to become a strong Christian. And I have never known a strong Christian who didn’t regularly wear out their Bible. If you want to be an effective disciple maker, encourage your disciples to become so voraciously hungry for Scripture that they can’t live without it.
When I was 18, I visited a woman named June Leverette at her home in Atlanta. She was a member of my church and she invited me to have a conversation about how to go deeper in my relationship with God. When she opened her Bible, I was shocked because I had never seen so many markings and handwritten notes.
June had underlined verses on every page, some in black, and some with yellow, blue, or pink highlighters. She had obviously poured over every page, and the Teacher—the Holy Spirit—had revealed special truths to her as she studied. Just looking at June’s colorful, dog-eared Bible that day inspired me to become a faithful student of God’s Word. Today, many decades later, many of the pages of my Bible resemble hers.
June did not just enjoy her Bible; she treasured it. It was like an antique box full of priceless, jewel-studded heirlooms. Through her reading and study, she mined nuggets of gold and silver and precious stones, and those costly revelations became hers. June imparted that love of Scripture to me—and today I inspire my disciples to embark on their own excavating adventures, digging in the Word for life-changing insights. My life has become an adventure of discovery. I want to see Jesus come alive in every page of the Bible.
If you have this same voracious appetite for Scripture, your disciples will too. But you must cultivate that hunger first. The apostle Peter said:
“Like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord” (1 Pet. 2:2).
Peter could not have coached his followers to fall in love with Scripture unless he was in love with it himself. But he knew the Word. He had poured over the scrolls; he also heard the Master quoting it constantly. The Word was in him, and he passed it down to his spiritual son, Mark (1 Pet. 5:13). And Mark gave us the Gospel of Mark, which is based on Peter’s personal testimony of Jesus.
When I begin discipling new believers, I always encourage them to study the Gospel of Mark first because it is refreshingly simple. It is the shortest gospel and the most fast-paced account of Jesus’ life. The word immediately appears in it about fifty times, because Mark emphasizes the actions of Jesus more than His teachings. I have read it countless times, perhaps more than any other book of the Bible, because it vividly portrays the life of the Savior with powerful simplicity. Because I tasted of this “milk” of the Word, I have been able to share it with many others.
Don’t Ever Become an Exploiter
If you are going to be a healthy mentor, you must allow God to burn out of you all wrong attitudes of leadership. You must become a true servant. Only those who have a heart of humility can lead others in a Christlike way.
Humility is a requirement for all who make disciples. But how do we have acquire it? It is not the norm in the church today because we are so programmed to love the big performance. I believe the most vital thing we can do is to prioritize “the” one over the crowd.
The apostle Paul preached to crowds, of course. But he spent most of his time with his disciples and he gave special attention to Timothy. The result was that Timothy carried Paul’s heart. Paul said of him: “I have sent to you Timothy…and he will remind you of my ways” (1 Cor. 4:17). Crowd ministry is necessary and can result in changed lives. But you will make the most lasting impact if you reproduce yourself in the one. Then, when you die, the next generation will carry on.
For more information, or to order Lee Grady’s book, Follow Me, visit mycharismashop.com.
J. Lee Grady is an author, award-winning journalist, ordained minister, missionary and director of The Mordecai Project, an international ministry that confronts the marginalization of women globally. He is the author of several books, including 10 Lies the Church Tells Women and Set My Heart on Fire. For most of his adult life, he has invested much of his time mentoring and discipling young Christians. He and his wife, Deborah, have four daughters and three grandchildren.
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J. Lee Grady is an author, award-winning journalist and ordained minister. He served as a news writer and magazine editor for many years before launching into full-time ministry.
Lee is the author of six books, including 10 Lies the Church Tells Women, 10 Lies Men Believe and Fearless Daughters of the Bible. His years at Charisma magazine also gave him a unique perspective of the Spirit-filled church and led him to write The Holy Spirit Is Not for Sale and Set My Heart on Fire, which is a Bible study on the work of the Holy Spirit.