When attending Bible College or seminary, attaining a systematic and historically and theologically
thorough understanding of the Gospel is essential. Those seeking to be leaders in ministry must have solid theology and discretion, or else they risk unintentionally misleading their flock.
Knowledge is important, but the application of that knowledge is often just as important. While a Bible college or seminary can provide you with sound knowledge of the scriptures, they don’t always do as good of a job explaining the appropriate ways to share that knowledge. Many churches are full of people who love and care for one another, but that alone is not discipleship. I dare say that the
majority of churches in America struggle with being either too intellectual or too emotional. There
must be a middle ground. I have attended churches that have taught sound doctrine but have done a very poor job of making lifelong disciples. I have attended churches that performed amazing acts of love and compassion for each other, but completely neglected any presentation of the Gospel at all.
We need to connect the “knowledge” found from formal education with the “family” found in the local
church body. God created man in His image with a heart AND a mind – we must neglect neither.
Jonathan Dodson in the book Gospel Centered Discipleship says “…I’ve come to understand that
following Jesus alone is not really what it means to be a disciple…being a disciple means making
disciples….Making disciples requires not only sharing our faith, but also sharing our lives — failures
and successes, disobedience and obedience.”
However, knowledge without compassion is no more useful than a “Clanging cymbal” as 1
Corinthians 13:1 states. It is our love and compassion for people that will allow us to make disciples,
using the knowledge we have. Knowledge without love and vice-versa will not produce effective
So how do we merge the intellectual with the interpersonal components of the Gospel?
Areas for discussion:
1) Read Romans 12:4-5
For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so
we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
Some people are better at understanding theology and others are better at expressing love
for each other. What does that mean for the church? What does that mean for the church in
2) What are ways that we can ensure that we do not mislead others in understanding the scriptures?
Reading scripture regularly, reading multiple commentaries, having accountability partners to keep
each other in the Word and challenging each other and prevent complacency.
3) What are ways that we can ensure that we do not neglect loving our local church body?
Gather together with others often. Get to know individuals, but also their families. Be generous with
our time and talents. Be intentional about spending time with other people and seek the Lord for
opportunities to speak truth to others, and other times to listen and empathize with others.
Challenge: Commit to prayer this week that the Lord would give you a name of someone you know that you could start a relationship with (or build an existing relationship) and encourage them in the Gospel AND love them as Christ does. Commit to a long-term relationship so that discipleship can happen for you both.