Getting to Know the Disciples • part 1

When I think about the twelve disciples whom Jesus chose early in his ministry, I often put them high on a pedestal (with the exception of one because of his deceit at the end of those three years spent with Jesus). I picture them as godly men who gave up their former lives, the only lifestyles they’d known thus far, to follow their Savior and lead others to a life eternal with the Heavenly Father. Men who had a passion for the Lord and were willing to risk their lives so that all would come to know him.

And, while all that’s true, I’m quick to remember that Jesus chose the commoner, the uneducated, the tax collector, the less-than-perfect one. God can use us, no matter our social status or wealth or academic background or past sins. 

I feel like I mostly know the disciples collectively. I’d like to work on that this year. Conveniently, Jesus chose twelve disciples. This year, I plan to pick a disciple each month and dig a little deeper with Scripture and other readings. Want to join me in some fun family ways to learn about God’s chosen circle of disciples? 

Let’s investigate these guys and draw closer to God while reading His word. I won’t try to list Scripture for each disciple, as that’s an easy task with online help or a Bible index. Search for each disciple’s name individually for that month, but also look for the word “disciple” in Scripture, because they are often spoken of as a group.

Let’s get to know the disciples this year. Here’s a list to get through the first half of the year, and I’ll post again later for the next half of the year. Happy learning!

JANUARY • Matthew

Jesus chose Matthew, a tax collector, even though in those days, tax collectors were often thought of as dishonest, greedy, selfish, cheating individuals. After reading about Matthew, talk with the kids about honesty and integrity. Talk also with the kids about making false generalizations. Ponder this question – Was EVERY tax collector dishonest? What if some of the tax collectors were men of integrity and people judged them wrongly? 

Memorize this verse: 

A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. 

Proverbs 22:1 NIV. 


Philip was one of the first followers of Christ, and seemingly first on his agenda was to tell someone he was close to about Jesus. His heart for evangelism began practically before he “punched the clock” as a disciple! Ask the kids if they’ve told their friends about Jesus. Talk about friends and family members that you’d like to share more openly about your relationship with Christ.

Memorize this verse: 

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 

John 8:12 NIV 

MARCH • Nathanael

Nathanael, the friend Philip quickly sought to introduce to Jesus, also went by the name Bartholomew. Jesus’ words about Nathanael point to Nathanael’s longtime love of God. Jesus’ words interestingly point out that Jesus saw Nathanael under a fig tree. Snack on biscuits and fig preserves while reading about Nathanael in the Bible. The words are sparse about him specifically, but treasure the ones that are there. 

Memorize this verse: 

The Lord your God is with you, the mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. 

Zephaniah 3:17 NIV

APRIL • Judas

Not much is known about Judas Iscariot’s background, nor his calling by Jesus, but the betrayer is well known because of the actions he took for a handful of silver. Read the crucifixion story with the kids this month. Ponder what might have caused Judas to become such a traitor. Greed? Jealousy? Selfishness? Arrogance? It’s hard to imagine someone spending three years of intimate time with the Savior and yet giving into such deceit, yet, in what ways do we carry out similar actions? 

Memorize this verse: 

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. Isaiah 26:4 ESV

Isaiah 26:4 ESV

MAY • Andrew

Andrew, like some of the other disciples, was a fisherman by trade. Go fishing as a family sometime this month and take along a picnic lunch. Talk about what Jesus meant when he told his disciples he would make them “fishers of men.” 

Memorize this verse: 

And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19 ESV

Matthew 4:19 ESV

JUNE • Peter

Peter, Andrew’s brother, may best be known for walking on water to Jesus. Plan a family trip to the ocean, lake, or swimming pool for summer fun and retell the story of Peter’s water-walking adventure. 

Memorize this verse: 

Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” 

Matthew 14:33 NIV

Tune in again in July, and we’ll learn about the next six disciples, although the Bible has much less to say about some of the others. 

Until then, get to know this bunch and talk about what lessons you can learn from each one. 

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 

2 Timothy 3:16-7 NIV

Family Bible Study: Getting to Know the Disciples @jlavenderwrites #family #Bible #parenthood

5 thoughts on “Getting to Know the Disciples • part 1

    1. I’ve always wanted to know more about the disciples. Can you just imagine spending that kind of time with Jesus, in His inner circle? Wow! It does make me create lots of “stories” in my head of what might have happened! Great lessons from these mighty men that Jesus chose!!


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