What does it truly mean to make disciples? What does it even mean to be a disciple? There are several origins claimed for the word that our English Bibles translate as disciple, from Greek, Latin, to modern day “Old English” twists and turns to what the word means. One helpful understanding is to look at the word as a compound word, of sorts: “dis” meaning “apart” and “capare” meaning “to take, take hold of.”
A disciple is one who takes apart something until they fully understand, comprehend, and can embody that which they are a subject of studying. For the 12 Disciples, this meant for them to unpack, understand, and embrace the truth of who Christ was. This knowledge was then meant to transform more than just their understanding, but their very being. Out of this process, they were to then, as a byproduct of who they had become, continue the process and share their truths with others who would in turn unpack and take hold of the truths until they became their own.
This process is critically important to understand for two very simple reasons. First off, it is how we grow in Christ. Secondly, it was Christ’s command (or Great Commission) to us all before he ascended to heaven.