Getting to Know the Disciples • Part 2

Back in January, I shared that I wanted to get to know the disciples more this year and suggested that you join me in an in-depth study. I picture these chosen ones as godly men who gave up their former lives, the only lifestyles they’d known thus far, to follow Jesus 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.

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. 

“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.” •Julie Lavender• @jlavenderwrites #Family #Bible

Conveniently for my yearlong study, the disciples are twelve in number. Here’s the next six disciples on my list to study. (You can find the first six in my January post.) 

Let’s continue to investigate these guys and draw closer to God while reading His word. For more information about each disciple specifically in the Bible, search for each disciple’s name individually for the month, but also look for the word disciple in Scripture, because they are often spoken of as a group.

JULY James (and John) were nicknamed “Sons of Thunder” by Jesus. Have you ever wondered why? Read about James this month and ponder his nickname. Does your family have nicknames for each other? If not, talk about what you might pick for a nickname for each family member. Give thanks to God that he knows us intimately enough to give us nicknames, if he chose to do that.

Memorize these verses: 

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 

Psalm 139:1-6 NIV

AUGUST • John, James’ brother, was one of Jesus’ “inner three,” along with James and Peter. Jesus kept these three disciples closest to him, and they often went places with Jesus that other disciples didn’t go. John is also known for outrunning Peter to get to the tomb when told that Jesus’ body was no longer there. Practice some running races in the backyard with the family, then plop down on a blanket and talk about what makes you feel close to Jesus. 

Memorize this verse: 

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. 

Philippians 3:14 NLT

SEPTEMBER • Thomas was also called Didymus. Interestingly, both “Thomas” and his Greek name, “Didymus,” mean twin. However, the Bible never mentions a twin in relation to the disciple. Unfortunately, Thomas earned another moniker, “Doubting Thomas.” When Jesus spoke to some of the disciples following His resurrection, Thomas was not with them. Later, when the disciples excitedly told Thomas about seeing Jesus, Thomas said, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe,” John 20:25. 

Are you a doubter? Do you doubt God’s goodness, mercy, miracles, signs, or wonders? Do you need “proof” before you’ll believe? Talk together as a family about “faith without seeing.” Play a blindfold, trust game by forming partners and taking turns wearing a bandana blindfold. Let the sighted person lead the blindfolded person on a walk in the yard or the house, giving verbal directions and guidance. After each person has had a turn with the blindfold, talk about trusting the sighted person for guidance. Compare the experience to trusting God’s guidance, with God’s infinite and complete knowledge. Talk about having the faith to trust God in all things, even when we lack physical proof.  

Memorize these verses: 

For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 ESV and Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. 

Hebrews 11:1 NLT

OCTOBER • Not much is known about James the Less, but most research reveals that he was called “the Less” because he was smaller in stature than the other disciple James. Though not much is known about him, his work as a disciple of Jesus must have had life-altering effects on many people during the three years of Jesus’ ministry and beyond. 

As a family brainstorm some ways to bless someone, or several someones, but plan to carry out your actions anonymously. Bless someone without any expectations of credit for your “good deeds.”  

Memorize this verse: 

But when give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 

Matthew 6:3-4 NIV

NOVEMBER • Simon the Zealot is not mentioned in other places in the Bible, except as one of the disciples. The “Zealots” were a political party during this time that was strongly opposed to the Roman government, and readers of the Word can assume that Simon turned his zeal towards Jesus when he became a disciple. Just like the discussion last month about James the Less, one can assume that Simon played big roles in Jesus’ ministry, even though none of his actions are specifically pointed out in the Bible. Find yet another way this month to serve Jesus without expecting recognition. Share groceries for a Thanksgiving meal with someone in need. And, talk about ways to be “zealous” for the gospel, telling others about Jesus at every opportunity. 

Memorize this verse: 

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. 

Colossians 3:23 NIV

DECEMBER • Thaddeus, another one of the lesser-known disciples, was called by several names. He’s mentioned only a few times throughout the gospels. However, he is credited with writing the short book of the Bible that bears his name. He implores readers to stay steadfast in the Christian faith. Though the book of Jude doesn’t specify the recipients of the disciple’s letter, only addressed as, “Beloved,” the hearers of Jude’s words must have been special to him and vice versa. Think of someone special to you. Write a letter to that person, imploring them to stay steadfast in their journey with the Lord. Encourage that person with your words to walk in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of Jesus that leads to eternal life. 

Memorize this verse: 

But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 

Jude 1:20-21 ESV

Finish out the year studying six more disciples, half a dozen men who spent intimate time with Jesus during the course of his ministry and continued to tell others about the Savior after his death and resurrection. Let the disciples mentor you from the pages of Scripture and allow their lives to help you grow closer to the Lord. 

Getting to know the disciples @JLavenderWrites #BibleStudy #Family

3 thoughts on “Getting to Know the Disciples • Part 2

  1. Love this idea, especially going through this with our children and grandchildren. What a great way to teach them about Christ, the building of His church, and how we can interact with different types of people with different abilities and personalities.


  2. Julie, I love your idea to study one disciple each month. Your activities will be enjoyable and help adults and children learn and apply scriptural truths. Excellent!


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