Looking for fresh Bible class material for the new year? I’d recommend Portraits of Discipleship by Heath Rogers.
Jesus calls us to follow Him and to become His disciples, but what does it mean to be a disciple of Christ?
Jesus is open and honest about the demands of discipleship and calls upon men to count the cost to make sure they are willing to meet the demands (Luke 14:25-33). We cannot truly call ourselves “disciples” today if we are not meeting the demands the Lord set forth in His word.
Our Lord is the Master Teacher. He employs illustrations in His teaching, making use of common items to better explain spiritual realities. The image of a shepherd looking for his lost sheep, a sower going forth to sow seed, a blind man trying to lead another blind man, or a camel going through the eye of a needle, made effective teaching tools.
There are times when Jesus spoke plainly about the demands of discipleship. However, the Lord also makes use of various illustrations to emphasize particular responsibilities and blessings of discipleship. In looking at the illustrations used by the Lord and His apostles, we gain a better understanding and appreciation of what it means to be a true disciple of Christ.
To that end, Rogers offers 13 lessons creatively organized by “relationship” over the course of 81 pages:
1. What is Discipleship? – The Disciple’s Identity
THE DISCIPLE’S RELATIONSHIP TO HIMSELF
2. An Athlete – The Disciple’s Commitment
3. A Soldier – The Disciple’s Battle
THE DISCIPLE’S RELATIONSHIP TO HIS LORD
4. The Potter and the Clay – The Disciple’s Transformation
5. The Vine and the Branches – The Disciple’s Dependence Upon Christ
6. A Child of God – The Disciple’s Security
THE DISCIPLE’S RELATIONSHIP TO HIS BRETHREN
7. A Member of the Body – The Disciple’s Place
8. “My Brother’s Keeper” – The Disciple’s Support
9. A Servant – The Disciple’s Greatness
THE DISCIPLES RELATIONSHIP TO THE WORLD
10. Strangers and Pilgrims – The Disciple’s Walk of Faith
11. Salt and Light – The Disciple’s Influence
12. An Apologist – The Disciple’s Answer
13. Fishers of Men – The Disciple’s Task
The workbook is attractively arranged throughout with a Personal Notes/Commentary column on nearly every page. Each of the 13 chapters features between 10 and 20 thorough and challenging questions for personal reflection or group interaction. Each lesson contains a balance of fresh Biblical insight, abundant references to Scripture, and practical investigation into some of the most challenging aspects of hearing and following the Lord.
One of the most appealing aspects of this new resource from One Stone Press is the cutting-edge nature of its production. The workbook is available in traditional print for $8.49, but the digital options are fantastic:
- A single-user workbook PDF ($9.95) allows the convenience of being able to study the material anytime, anywhere on your personal e-reader.
- A congregational-use workbook PDF ($29.95) authorizes the congregation to share the electronic file of the workbook with its members and make multiple printed copies for class use.
- PowerPoint lesson slides ($19.95) can be purchased for each of the 13 lessons so that the teacher is freed from the burden of slide preparation, allowing more time to study the material.
- An answer key PDF ($1.99) provides the authors’ answers to the questions of each lesson in the workbook.
Put all these pieces together, and Portraits of Discipleship is a great resource to inspire faith-building and kingdom-impact for the Lord. “The disciples were first called Christians” in Antioch (Acts 11:26), but they continue to be desperately needed. From this point forward, I will highly recommend it for adult Bible classes, teenage studies, or personal devotional use.