What is a Disciple?

7 The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.  Acts 6:7 (NASB)

This post will primarily be a Greek word study. Our primary Greek word for this study is μαθητής (mathētēs), which means “disciple.” However, it means more than that. Let us take a closer look.

While mathētēs comes from μανθάνω (manthanō), “to teach,” it means more than just being a student or leaner. Manthanō, in fact is comparable to ἐπίγνωσις (epignōsis), “a full and thorough knowledge.” In Classical Greek, mathētēs is what we would call “an apprentice,” one who not only learns facts from the teacher but other things, such as his attitudes and philosophies. In this way the mathētēs was what we might call a “student-companion,” who does not just sit in class listening to lectures, but rather, who follows the teacher to learn life as well as facts. View article →