Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Religious Education, PhD

First Advisor

John B. Youngberg

Second Advisor

Robert M. Johnston

Third Advisor

Marion J. Merchant


Concomitant with increased concern for church growth in the 1950s was a new awareness of the importance of discipleship. From the days of Jesus to the present, the concept of discipleship has changed greatly. The problem of this investigation was to identify a Biblical concept of discipleship.

It was hypothesized that the relationship of Jesus with His Heavenly Father was the model for Jesus' discipleship with the Twelve apostles and other disciples. The primary objective was to identify principles form this Christ-centered discipleship that could provide a theoretical framework for Christian religious education.

The historical development of the Rabbinic schools revealed a marked departure in Rabbinic discipleship from that of the OT. Moreover, Hellenistic educational practices exerted great influence on Rabbinic schools for more than three centuries. A lexical study of selected Hebrew and Greek terms demonstrates nuances and other significant meanings in words used for discipleship during the pre-Chrisitan era.

The Servant Songs of Isaiah revealed four principles of discipleship that Jesus fulfilled as reported in the four Gospels. These four principles of the Servant in the Servant Songs of Isaiah are (1) Divine call, (2) commitment, (3) suffering, and (4) glorification. The relationship of the Father to His Son, Jesus, was the paradigm of the relationship of Jesus to His disciples. He commanded them to follow this same pattern of discipleship.

The above four principles were conclusively manifested in the discipleship of the Apostles after Pentecost. The coming of the Paraclete is the fulfillment of the promise of Christ to the Twelve including later disciples that He would remain with them through the Spirit until His second coming. This thesis concludes with several suggestions for their implementation in Christian religious education and recommendations for future study.

Subject Area

Religious education--Biblical teaching


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