What does the Bible say about discipleship?

19 Essential Scriptures on Discipleship

The Bible is filled with scriptures on discipleship – it’s one of the primary reasons we believe so strongly in the power of discipleship. In this article, we’ll share 19 different scriptures on discipleship that demonstrate the value and importance.

We’ve organized these verses into several categories and provided a bit of commentary, but many of these verses speak for themselves. Many of these verses help show that life-on-life missional discipleship, the kind that Jesus himself demonstrated, is more than just a Bible study (although Bible study is certainly part of discipleship). 

Let’s get started:

Scriptures About Making Disciples

Some of the most famous scriptures on discipleship are all about making disciples. This is where it starts – when we believe the good news we are called to share the good news with other. Wherever we live, work, and play, Jesus calls us to teach the Gospel and make disciples.

Matthew 28:18-20And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 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 follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

Roman 10:14-15How then are they to call on Him in whom they have not believed? How are they to believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? But how are they to preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written: “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!!”

Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

If you’d like to learn more about this topic, check out our Biblical guide to making disciples.

Bible Verses About Training Disciples

Discipleship starts with making disciples, but we cannot forget about the importance of also training disciples. Jesus calls us to help others grow, to train them so that they may be “complete in Christ” and capable of sharing their knowledge with others.

It is important to remember that for both making and training disciples, it is not up to us alone. In fact, we should be completely dependent on the power of the Holy Spirit to make the Good news come alive to others so that they may be saved and made whole.

These discipleship scriptures emphasis the importance and provide guidance on training disciples:

Colossians 1:28-29We proclaim Him, admonishing every person and teaching every person with all wisdom, so that we may present every person complete in Christ. For this purpose I also labor, striving according to His power which works mightily within me.

Luke 6:39-40And He also spoke a parable to them: “A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit?  A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.

1 Corinthians 2:3-5And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

For more on this topic, checkout our Biblical Guide to Training Disciples.

Scriptures on Discipleship: Sharing the Truth We Have Learned

A major component of making and training disciples is passing on what you have learned. This, of course, starts with you learning and growing in the truth. 

In fact, we define life on life missional discipleship in this way: “Laboring in the lives of a few with the intention of imparting one’s life, the gospel and God’s Word in such a way as to see them become mature and equipped followers of Christ, committed to doing the same in the lives of others.

2 Timothy 2:1-2You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful people who will be able to teach others also.”

Titus 2:3-5Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.”

Psalm 78:2-4I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known,  that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.

Discipleship doesn’t end when we have learned something, but rather we commit to sharing what we have learned with others. We are called to share with our community members, our peers in the church, those who are younger than us, and especially the next generation.

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Scriptures on Discipleship: Equipping

When a disciple joins a discipler, they typically have a goal in mind. They should seek to grow in their faith, but also seek to be equipped and enabled to do good works and make disciples themselves.

The verses below show how Scripture and discipleship is a powerful tool for equipping. Joshua, for instance, was a disciple of Moses. When Moses passed away, God called Joshua to lead the people into the promised land. Joshua had been equipped by Moses, he had spent significant time under his guidance and, most importantly, had the law (the Scripture) from Moses.

Joshua 1:5b-7Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17All 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.”

These scriptures on discipleship remind us of the importance of equipping your people so that they can do good works and, if necessary, replace you. The best leaders make themselves redundant, so equip your people so they can lead their own discipleship groups.

Discipleship Scriptures About Accountability

Discipleship is also about people helping other people in their faith, and that means we need to encourage each other and push each other towards growth.

In the scriptures on discipleship below, you can see how important it is that we encourage one another and help “sharpen” each other in our faith. You can also see an example of how Jesus would often pull his disciples to the side, partly for rest but also for the chance to have open and honest conversations.

Hebrews 3:12-14Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end…

Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.”

Mark 3:7Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea.”

Some people today have an overly simple and even unhelpful definition of accountability. Biblical accountability may include calling someone to repent from sin, but it can include far more! Learn more in our article about a better definition of accountability.

Open Bible - scriptures on discipleship

Scriptures that Help Define What It Means to be a Disciple

We have an entire article that answers the question, what is a disciple? One of the definitions we provide came from Dr. Michael Wilkins and said, “Discipleship is the ongoing process of growth as a disciple; becoming like Jesus in every area of life.”

The following scriptures on discipleship help provide depth and examples for the definition of disciple. As a disciple, we are simply followers of Jesus, seeking to imitate him.

Matthew 16:24-25Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

John 8:31-32So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly My disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

John 13:34-35I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples: if you have love for one another.

John 15:8My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

1 Peter 2:21, 25For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps…For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.”

As you can see, disciples follow in the footsteps of Jesus. As we seek him out, he works in our hearts and enables us to produce fruit, love others, and understand the truth that sets us free. We have seen these distinctive qualities develop time and time again, as people engage in life-on-life discipleship they start to grow, to produce fruit, and to live more fulfilling lives.


As you can see, the Bible has a lot to say about Discipleship. There are many more things we can learn from the Scriptures on discipleship, which is why we provide an in-depth training experience. 

If you or your church are interested in launching a discipleship movement, then check out our 2.5 year training process we have provided all over the world.