“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.”Romans 8:29
One of the passages I memorized as a young boy was Matthew 28:19-20: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.”
I really didn’t understand this passage, which is referred to as the Great Commission, until I studied Greek in seminary. There I learned there was only one verb in that verse for us to follow—an imperative meaning we must do the action of the verb. Our commission given to us by Christ is to make disciples. The other verbs in the English translations are participles ending in “ing,” which tell how the action of the verb is completed.
So in order to make disciples as we are going through life, we are to invite people to become followers of Jesus (making disciples), then by baptizing them, and then teaching them to follow the teachings of Jesus (the Bible).
One of the major goals of studying the Bible individually or in a group is to understand the truths in the Bible and apply them to our growth into Christlikeness. John the Baptist said this about Jesus in John 3:30: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”How do we allow Jesus to increase in our lives? The answer is found in Romans 12:3: “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by
the renewing of your mind.”
How are our minds transformed? Paul gave us the answer in Colossians 1:9-11: “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
Paul’s prayer for disciples is that we will be filled with the knowledge of His (God’s) will for our lives. When we learn something, Paul also prayed that we would gain wisdom and understanding. When we have an understanding of God’s will, we can begin to live out God’s will in our lives, which pleases God. At that point, our lives will start bearing fruit.
Before we realize it, we have become more like Jesus Christ. These are the things that will happen in our lives when we study God’s Word. My prayer is that each and every Christian will be involved in both individual and group Bible study so that you can become more like Jesus Christ.
Dr. Bob Cullen
Growing in Faith Class
Bob and his wife, Joy, were commissioned as First Baptist Dallas missionaries during the church centennial Anniversary. They served in Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia for 36 years. They have four children, eleven grandchildren, and their seventh great-grandchild on the way.