Growing Disciples Make Time for Comprehensive Biblical Learning

Growing Disciples Make Time for Comprehensive Biblical Learning

By Daryll Stanton, NDI Global Resourcing Coordinator | 18 Mar 2024

Bible Study

Since knowing God’s Word is essential to being a Christlike disciple, a fruitful discipleship journey requires Comprehensive Biblical Learning. The core principles in the new Nazarene Discipleship International (NDI) Bylaws call our attention to Jesus placing a high priority on teaching his disciples from the Scriptures. It was the knowledge of the Scriptures combined with his instructions that shaped the disciples’ knowledge of God and the work of the Holy Spirit. The Church of the Nazarene Article of Faith 4 (2017-2021 Manual) helps us understand the importance of the Holy Scriptures: “We believe in the plenary inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, by which we understand the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, given by divine inspiration, inerrantly revealing the will of God concerning us in all things necessary to our salvation, so that whatever is not contained therein is not to be enjoined as an article of faith.” Learning the Scriptures, through individual and group study, helps disciples to become more like Christ.

We uncover who God is through his Word. A comprehensive biblical learning is essential to developing Christlike disciples. To this end, our pastors preach instructional sermons on how to grow in our faith in Christ. Therefore, they preach sermons that are biblically based and nurture our people toward growth and a deeper hunger for the Bible. In addition, our pastors allow the Word of God to become the basis of all discipleship efforts. They teach our people how to study the Bible, helping understand the meaning of scriptures and their application to our lives. Our pastors strive for a balanced scriptural diet of preaching throughout the year (see Nazarene Essentials).

We promote Sunday school classes. When we study the “living and active” Word of God, we uncover who God is, how God loves, and how we are to love others. In the process, we allow God to speak to us, mold us, and sanctify us. So we promote Sunday school classes that will nurture and grow Christlike disciples. Therefore, our Sunday school teachers are prepared to teach lessons that are aimed at making Christlike disciples both in the exposition of Scripture and in the scriptural application to life. Also, our Sunday school teachers are mentored to take a personal interest in young believers beyond the classroom. They are equipped to answer questions about the Christian faith and encourage young believers to grow in God’s grace. Our Sunday school system of instruction offers programming from the cradle to senior citizens. It provides the scope and sequence of material that studies the entire Bible in an organized way (see Nazarene Essentials).

We engage in systematic study and application of the Word of God. Knowing God’s Word is indispensable to Christlike discipleship. Being actively engaged in the systematic study and application of the Word of God is a catalyst for spiritual transformation and growth. Therefore, we encourage parents and children to engage in personal and family devotional times. For younger children, story Bibles are helpful. Then, as children mature, other age-appropriate Bibles become useful tools. Churches develop small group Bible studies that encourage accountability. Our small group Bible studies provide both group and one-on-one accountability for new believers as well as accountability for disciples who are seasoned in the faith. Likewise, in our small groups, healthy relationships are developed that move beyond regular meetings to connecting with friends as a way of life. Our study groups offer a mixture of Bible study and social interaction that is essential for growth in grace (see Nazarene Essentials).

Understanding God’s mission

As we grow and learn, we begin to fully understand and obey God’s mission for his disciples to go and reach out to unbelievers with God’s love. As explained in Nazarene Essentials, our “Story-centered methods of teaching the Bible in small groups provide a solid biblical foundation for enabling disciples to learn the Bible and pass its message on to their circle of influence.” With the psalmist we may ask, “How can a young man keep his way pure?” Let us also respond to God with the psalmist’s words, “By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:9-11). When we allow the Word of God to transform us, we are modeling to others the importance of learning God’s Word. May many others be able to say with us: “You are my portion, O LORD, I have promised to obey your words” (Psalm 119:57).

It is our hope that you are already finding ways to engage in comprehensive biblical learning as you mature in your personal spiritual life as well as when you contribute to your discipleship group. Please share with us some ways your journey with Jesus is enhanced through comprehensive biblical learning. You can contact me at