Path for Mere Christians – Module Four
Teach them to observe all that I commanded you.
– Jesus Christ
The Purposes of Module Four
The early disciples and Apostles of Jesus Christ heard Him teach, witnessed His miracles, experienced His love, and were eyewitnesses of His resurrection. The disciple whom Jesus loved, John, wrote the following words at the beginning of his first letter: “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of life” (I Jn. 1:1). Had we lived in first-century Israel, John claims, we would have been able to hear Him, see Him, and touch Him. Today, in order to know Him, we must rely on the Gospel accounts to inform us about His life, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven.
Module Four Objectives
Recommended Yearly Schedule
How Can I Apply What I Have Learned?
|Week – Topic/Chapters
|The Life of Christ,
|To foster a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ by studying His life as presented in the Gospels and to learn how to make reproducing disciples by following the principles and methods He used in training the Twelve
Topic: Jesus’ plan for the redemption of the nations through multiplying discipleship
|The Training of the Twelve by A.B. Bruce
Summer Reading Topic: Worldview. The Universe Next Door by James W. Sire
Module Four, a continuation of Module Three, is designed to lead you to a greater knowledge of Jesus Christ in order that, in knowing Him, you might love Him supremely and, relying on His grace and power, serve Him for the rest of your life and follow His pattern of training multiplying disciplemakers to reach a lost world.
Module Four Objectives
There are four established objectives for Module Four:
- To foster a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ by studying His life as presented in the Gospels;
- To come to know Jesus as you have never known Him before and to be conformed to His image;
- To learn a chronological framework for the public ministry of Jesus in order to see the progression of His life and how He gradually and systematically trained the Twelve to take the gospel to the world; and
- To learn how to make reproducing disciples by following the principles and methods He used in training the Twelve.
Recommended Yearly Schedule
By meeting once per week, Module Four may be completed in 33 weeks, 63% of the 52 weeks each of us has been given each year. This schedule assumes a nine-month calendar and, historically, is a proven pattern for learning and growth, beginning in September and extending through May of the following year. During this period, one break occurs in the fall, two at Christmas, and one in the spring. The summers are available for further development and growth opportunities.
This pattern for discipleship should be amended according to national or local concerns.
During the orientation session of Module Four, the location of the study materials will be noted. All fifty-three chapters of The Training of the Twelve are posted online and are available for download and/or printing for free. In addition, the notes for six lectures on A Chronological Framework for the Public Ministry of Jesus Christ are available online without charge. The Training of the Twelve: Discussion Guide and Study Guide may be purchased from Amazon.
After the study materials have been introduced, the following guidelines and insights should be noted in order that each person will know how to proceed through the second half of this study for maximum benefit and impact.
- Pray before you begin each lesson. Ask your heavenly Father to speak to you and to give you wisdom, understanding, and a receptive heart so you may see Christ in new ways and learn how He trained the Twelve to take the gospel to the whole world.
- Always begin your personal study by reading the Scripture passages at the beginning of each chapter. Always remember that A.B. Bruce is offering excellent commentary on these verses but would not encourage anyone to substitute his words for God’s Word. Should you read Bruce’s book without reading and studying the accompanying Scripture references, you will miss the opportunity for God’s Spirit to speak to you in specific and personal ways. We would be wise to take note of Charles Spurgeon’s view of Scripture: “There is nothing certain under heaven but God. Uncertainty is upon all things but upon His Word.” There is a vast difference between the Bible and a book about the Bible. If the words at a subject’s table (like A.B. Bruce’s) are so delicious, imagine the words at the King’s table!
- Open your copy of The Training of the Twelve: Discussion and Study Guide and turn to the chapter you are currently studying. After reading the Scripture passages, but before you read A.B. Bruce, read through the corresponding section to understand what is coming in the book. Dr. Rae Mellichamp’s excellent outlines will provide you with an overview of each chapter and help you get the most out of your study.
- Read the assigned and corresponding chapter in The Training of the Twelve. Dr. Bruce wrote this work in 1871. A distinguished scholar and Christian leader, he left for subsequent generations a feast on the life of our Lord. So, read slowly! Meditate on the truths he presents – picture each truth as a doorway into a new room which you can explore with curiosity and fascination. Look deeply into the heart of your Savior and follow hard after Him. Investigate as a private detective looking for clues about how the greatest Person who ever lived turned the known world upside down by training twelve uneducated men. With A.B. Bruce as your experienced guide, walk into this splendid Banquet Hall and open your eyes to the many discipleship principles that have been placed on the table prepared for you by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These men are offering a feast; they wrote their Gospel accounts under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
- As you read, note the discipleship principles in each unit. In a personal journal, or in the margins of The Training of the Twelve, continue to make a list of all the discipleship principles you are discovering and learning. Again, notice how Jesus is training the Twelve and take careful notes which you can return to over and over again. What kind of men did He recruit? How did He teach them? How did He rebuke them? What kinds of things did He do with and for them? What did He do alone, and what did He do with just the three – Peter, James, and John? When was He silent, and when did He speak? By the time you finish reading all four Gospel accounts and Bruce’s work, you will have a wonderful diary of principles which you can use over your lifetime as you follow Him and minister in His name. The goal of this spiritual discipline is that you become a more effective discipler of others in the months and years to come.
- At the end of each outline in the Discussion and Study Guide are a series of questions which will help you reflect on what you have read in the Gospels and in Bruce’s book. They are intended to help you apply what you have learned in each unit and to move you to think more deeply about your own life in relation to the truths that the Scriptures teach. Allow them to have the intended effect in your life so you can mature in your relationship with Jesus Christ and honor Him in the various ways you serve Him and make Him known within your sphere of influence.
- Select a passage of Scripture to memorize that corresponds with the content of the unit you are studying. “I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Ps. 119:11).
- During and after your study of the life of Christ, ask the Lord to use you to help fulfill the Great Commission during your lifetime. Whatever you need – training, boldness, time, opportunities – He will do His work through you as you come before Him in believing prayer. Martin Luther expressed it well: “What I have in my own hand, I usually lose; but what I put into God’s hand is still, and ever will be, in my possession.”
How Can I Apply What I Have Learned?
The following are specific actions you can take to build upon what you have learned in Module Four:
- Begin praying and looking for opportunities to be trained in personal evangelism. Learn how to share your faith with your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. As you gain proficiency, add to your knowledge by studying apologetics and learning how to lovingly share your faith with atheists, agnostics, and people who embrace false religions. There are many, many tools available today. Then, ask the Holy Spirit to give you fruit, more fruit, and then much fruit (Jn. 15:2,5,8,16).
- Learn how to disciple others in the words and ways of Jesus. Go to the Orientation page where you will find our Self-Guided Courses to help you become an effective disciplemaker.
- Read quality books on evangelism and discipleship. See our Selected Bibliography for suggestions.
- Continue praying that the Lord will lead you to begin your first, or another, discipleship group. Ask Him to lead you to the people in whose lives He wants you to invest.
Module Four is specifically designed for any believer who desires to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ, a follower of His words and His ways. The primary goal is to help each person grow to maturity in Christ by building a strong biblical foundation that will endure to the end of his or her life. The curriculum is built on several classic works – the best in their fields – in order to foster personal transformation and develop ministry skills for fulfilling the Great Commandment (Mt. 22:37-40), the Great Commission (Mt. 28:18-20), and the Cultural Mandate (Gen. 1:28).
Where these works are unavailable, prayerfully consider substituting other significant books and essays that would be instrumental in establishing a biblical foundation and in shaping the lives of believers into the image of Christ.