Participating in Disciple Bible Study in 1998 was one of the major life changing activities of my life. I am forever thankful that Jim Marsh led our class and took us down many great https://tbolto.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/disciples-act/paths of the Bible. It shaped me forever. Today, I am often startled when I hear so many Pastors reveal that it was the course that led them to Seminary. The 34 lessons have a structure and discipline that truly leads many folks to a life of discipleship. Can you tell I like this class? I have been especially blessed this past year to teach the course at my home church. It has been great for me. I anticipate repeating this in my life 7 or 8 more times yet.
A little history on Disciple Bible Study from Cokesbury:

In March 1986 a group of eighteen gathered in Flower Mound, TX, committed to a dream of developing a Bible study for training Christian Disciples. Together they shaped the dream into a vision of what became DISCIPLE: BECOMING DISCIPLES THROUGH BIBLE STUDY.

In July of 1989, three years after the Flower Mound gathering that gave birth to DISCIPLE, word had come across the church that lives were being changed and churches renewed. A group gathered once again and took on the challenge of providing another life-changing study. The result was DISCIPLE: INTO THE WORD INTO THE WORLD with the challenge of going deeper into the Word and out into the world.

Another three years later in December of 1992 another gathering took place and the new study took shape. Experience confirmed direction and congregations were ready to confront and be confronted by the hard words of the prophets. The result – DISCIPLE: REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE, the third study in what would become a four-phase program.

Finally, in 2001, the fourth and final study of the original DISCIPLE program was published. From Creation to the New Jerusalem – that was the promise and the vision. DISCIPLE: UNDER THE TREE OF LIFE was published and groups would study The Writings and Revelation. The journey was long and in-depth and would take congregations through the Bible twice.
BECOMING DISCIPLES THROUGH BIBLE STUDY provides an overview of the entire Bible. The next three studies deal with specific books in more detail. DISCIPLE BIBLE STUDIES have been influential in transforming the lives of 1.5 million people.

With the solid Bible teaching comes many action steps that lead us into servant-hood and missions.

From there Jesus and his followers went through Galilee, but he didn’t want anyone to know it. This was because he was teaching his disciples,
“the Human One will be delivered into human hands.”
Mark 9:30-37 – (Common English Bible)

BECOMING DISCIPLES THROUGH BIBLE STUDY is the foundation course of the DISCIPLE Bible Study program.

The program genuinely assumes that the Bible is the key to renewal in the church. It recognizes the human-divine nature of the Bible: The actual texts of Scripture were written by human beings like ourselves in their cultural settings, under the divine inspiration of God.

DISCIPLE affirms that the canon was formed as it is in order for God to speak to us. I have been thankful that BECOMING DISCIPLES THROUGH BIBLE STUDY gives equal time to both the Old and New Testament, emphasizing the wholeness of the Bible as the revelation of God. It aims at transformation, not just information, and calls on persons to submit themselves to examination by Scripture, to put themselves under the power of God’s Word, and to be changed by God’s Word. DISCIPLE invites persons to bring their experiences and struggles to the Scripture. All persons know something is amiss with their existence and yearn for the Word from God. It has been my pleasure to see many of us changed by the experience.

As many of you know, this study requires reading large portions of Scripture each week and is based on careful study and preparation. During the course of thirty-four weeks, groups move through the biblical stories of Creation to the New Jerusalem. The titles of the sessions along with theme words; theme verses; and major persons, events, and topics will set the sequence of the biblical story in the minds of the participants. The principal Scripture for each session follows the chronological movement of the biblical story. It is a blessing for beginners and experienced Bible-readers.

Our Circuit is trying to get all 4 sessions available for folks throughout the Circuit, and I am hoping to see that come to fruition. It can really change congregations, I know.

Here is a description from our 4th lesson:

God’s call and God’s covenant always go together. The rainbow is the sign of God’s universal covenant for the preservation of life. The twofold covenant with Abraham, the covenant of circumcision and of land, bound the people to God in service and enabled them to live in  peace and freedom. The covenant of Torah provided the way of living in service to God and fellow human beings through the moral and ethical law.  Jews understand they are a people chosen not for special privilege
but to transmit God’s moral law to future generations.

Here is a description from our 25th lesson:

The task of the first-generation Christians was difficult. Most of
them had not been outside their own village, and the message they  carried was hard to believe. They went first to major cities and began  their ministry there in the synagogues among Jews. Ephesians  enlarges the definition of world to mean the world of power and prejudice,  the world of hate and divisions, the world of ideas and culture  patterns, the world of intellectual struggle and spiritual conflict.

One of the things that really makes the class work is how we learn and grow and support each other. I am thankful for my original cohorts. And today, I am particularly thankful for Carol and Chris, Peggy and Mary, Karen and Pete. They have committed much time and study this year to make this change in their lives for the glory of Jesus and service in the Church. They are a blessing.


About Tom Bolton

I'm a Husband and Dad, an Enterprise Systems Manager at the City of Milwaukee, and a Disciple and Lay Servant at First United Methodist of West Allis. I love working beside young people. As I study the Bible, sometimes I feel moved to work through my understanding by writing poetry. I also am going through a process to discern my calling, and to learn more about Christian Leadership. Sometimes I just feel like writing about something that grabs my attention too.
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