Key Passage: “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Last time, we said that the aim of discipleship is to develop a personal walk with the Lord that transforms us into His nature. Many evangelical churches emphasize the importance of personal discipleship, as well as meeting in discipleship groups. Sometimes though, the discussion can get off track. Verse 16 helps us examine the accountability of discipleship.
Meeting to discuss personal opinions or feelings about what we’ve read is fine for a book club, but somewhat dangerous when that book is the Bible. Part of being “train(ed) in righteousness” is submitting our opinions and feelings to the authority of God’s Word. We come to erroneous conclusions when we’re not accountable to Scripture – despite the sincerity of our group.
Jesus gives us an example of the accountability of discipleship. In Mark 8:27, He asked the disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” A few of them offered opinions they had heard. Then Jesus asked, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Christ.” Jesus immediately confirmed Peter’s answer without acknowledging the wrong opinions that had been shared. Next, Mark’s account tells us that Peter rebuked Jesus for saying that He must suffer rejection and die. Jesus then rebuked Peter, saying, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interest, but man’s” (Mark 8:33). On the surface, it may seem that Jesus’ response was harsh. But Peter’s opinion was based on emotion rather than on the very words of Christ.
We, too, need to guard against interpreting Scripture by how we feel. We need to examine our emotions under the teaching, reproof, and correction of God’s Word. Are you also willing to submit your personal interpretations of Scripture to God? Will you ask Him to show you what opinions need correction? Pursuing a personal walk with the Lord that transforms us into His nature is easier with the encouragement of other believers. But as mature Christians in discipleship groups, we’re accountable to guide discussions to the truth of God’s Word. Remember, biblical discipleship is the result of continual submission to the Word of God.