Resources for Discipleship

MXPLY is committed to equipping regular, everyday Christians with discipleship resources for personal growth and disciple-making.

It is all about equipping you to help someone grow spiritually as you meet with them to read and discuss the Bible together—resources, strategy, and tools for one to one Bible reading discipleship.

It is all about equipping you to help someone grow spiritually as you meet with them to read and discuss the Bible together—resources, strategy, and tools for one to one Bible reading discipleship.

Discipleship guides are complete studies or resource sets that you can use for a study or to help an individual or group grow in Christ. These guides are free to download and use. Send a message to request resources for a particular topic or issue.

Discipleship guides are complete studies or resource sets you can work through with others for a group study or to help an individual grow in Christ. These guides are free to download and use. Send a message to request resources for a particular topic or issue.

Discipleship references are tips or information dealing with a particular topic that you can use to “brush up” your own knowledge or pass along to someone you are discipling or helping to grow.

Discipleship tips or information dealing with a particular topic that you can use to “brush up” your own knowledge or pass along to someone you are discipling or helping to grow. You will also find guidance, strategy, and tips for how to go about making disciples.

Recommended Short Reads

A list of articles and posts that are selected for recommended reading because they are faithful, exceptional, informative, and helpful. A link to each short read is included with a summary, introduction, or short description.

Latest Posts

Acts 18 and the Work of Ministry: Support it, Prepare for it, and Do it

The work of ministry is a task for every Christian. The work of ministry is not just the pastor’s job—the pastor’s job is to equip the church to do ministry: And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up… Keep Reading

An Unexpected Way to Find Gratitude and Thanksgiving to God

Since trusting in Christ during my early adult years, I have spent the rest of my life accepting what the Bible teaches about the value and sanctity of human life[1] at face value without much reflection. Don’t get me wrong: I recognized that human life is valuable and I have always taken life-and-death situations very seriously.… Keep Reading

Check Yourself: Testing Your Theology

Everyone is a theologian. No one is a theological blank slate. Since theology is the study of God (the process—doing theology) and expressing those thoughts (the product—theology proper), even an atheist who says “there is no God” is making a theological statement. Christians have the duty of being healthy theologians (Matthew 22:37; Romans 12:2; John… Keep Reading

Why Do Good Things Happen to Bad People?

In Truth in a Culture of Doubt, Andreas Köstenberger, Darrell Bock, and Josh Chatraw provide a concise explanation of the interaction between evil, the wickedness of sin, the cause human suffering, the holiness of God, and how God is good to us when we don’t deserve it. “According to the Bible, people hurting others for… Keep Reading

The Six Steps of Bible Interpretation

The process of studying the Bible according to the author’s original intended meaning is often referred to simply as interpreting the Bible literally. Mike Stallard notes that the method for this type of literal interpretation is called the grammatical-historical method of Bible interpretation: “In modern times, evangelicals have spoken of literal interpretation as grammatical-historical interpretation… Keep Reading

The Difference Between Appropriately Interpreting an Allegorical Passage and Inappropriately Allegorizing

History is littered with ill-advised and unhelpful attempts to “discover” allegories in the Bible. By and large, attempts to manufacture a formal allegory from a biblical text have fallen out of fashion. However, even as we may not be tempted to set out to allegorize portions of Scripture, we are apt to fall into the… Keep Reading

How Jesus Prepared the Disciples for Ministry at Pentecost and After (A Comparison of Matthew 10 and Acts 1-8)

There is a great deal of similarity (or, perhaps more precisely, correspondence) between what the disciples were taught in Matthew 10:1-33 and what they experienced in Acts 1-8. To Help Get your Bearings, Here is a Quick Summary of Acts 1-8 Acts 1: Jesus teaches the disciples for forty days after the Resurrection and before… Keep Reading

Is it Possible to Understand the Bible with any Degree of Certainty?

In literary and academic circles, it is not uncommon to encounter the claim that one can never be certain about the proper interpretation of a written text. According to their thinking, since no understanding of a written text can be held with certainty, all interpretation should be held at a provisional level (temporary and likely… Keep Reading

A Model for How to Teach About Jesus From the Old Testament (Matthew 1-2)

In Luke 24:19-27, we see Jesus explaining the gospel. One of the things that makes this passage interesting is that he teaches about himself from the Old Testament:

And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it

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“What Are You Made Of?” What it Means to be Human.

Before stating what it means to be human, it should be noted by whom we are made. God made us. “God rules the world because he made the world. Like a potter with his clay, God fashioned the world into just the shape he wished, with all its amazing details. He made it, and he owns it.”[1]

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:11 ESV)

God made us to know Him, to love Him and to be known and loved by Him. All people are sons and daughters of Adam and Eve; we are made by God.

“then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” (Genesis 2:7 ESV)

The question that this post seeks to answer is not how did God make man? or for what purpose did God make man? Instead the question pursued here is what is a human made of—what is our essence?

The Essence of Man is Two Distinct Elements: Body (Material)

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What We Believe: The Gospel

What one believes drives what they do—that is an unavoidable fact of life.  We may not even be aware of all the beliefs that we have, but behind each of our actions there is a motivating belief.  This post is part of a series featuring foundational truths that Christians believe so that we can have those truths in the driver seat of our lives.  To that end, this resource features sections describing What We Believe—each with a corresponding description of What We Do. The topic for this issue is the gospel and it is available as a free digital booklet (PDF).… Keep Reading

Help for the “I’d Like to Read This Commentary, but I Don’t Understand Some of the Technical Terms it Uses” Problem

When studying the Bible with someone, it is often helpful consult a Bible commentary, book, or essay that is intended for an academic audience or that uses technical language. The advantage to using theological terms—and this is exactly why writers use them—is that they efficiently convey an idea with precision. Instead of saying “reading a meaning into a text that is not present or intended in the text,” a writer can simply refer to that idea by using the word eisegesis. Once you know what the terms mean, it actually makes for easier reading.

The problem is that such words are rarely used by your average layperson. All those unfamiliar words can make what should be a help (commentaries, books, and articles) become a barrier to understanding. However, the answer is not to abandon the rich help of commentaries and the like. Instead of throwing your commentaries in the trash, there are a couple of resources that can help you make sense of those theological terms and make the most out of your study aides.

Stark’s Glossary of Theological Terms

Stark’s Glossary of Theological Terms would be my first recommendation for anyone trying to familiarize themselves with the Keep Reading

The Author Determines the Meaning: Now, What Do I Do About It?

The previous post describes why we should not just read the Bible for how it makes us feel or “what it says to me.” If that is true, how should I read the Bible, what do I do about it?

Commit to an Author-Determined Approach to Meaning

We do not read the Bible to see a reflection of ourselves in the text; we read the Bible as a window through which we discover God’s truth about the universe, ourselves, and Him. “[When reading the Bible] the goal is to arrive at the creative intention of the original author contained in the words of the text…the meaning of the text is what the author consciously intended to say by his text. Thus, the meaning of Romans is what Paul intended to communicate to his readers in Rome when he wrote his letter.”[1]

Who is the Author of the Bible?  God is the ultimate author; and He appointed human authors.

God inspired a variety of human authors over a period of approximately 1500 years who wrote as thinking, feeling human beings to convey His message. God superintended over the process so that as the human author expressed God’s inspiration in their Keep Reading

Does it Matter ‘How’ I Read the Bible?

I think it safe to assume that we are in agreement: we want to read the Bible, understand it correctly, live it out, and teach others to do the same. You are reading a Bible interpretation guide, after all. 

However, when discussing the topic of how one should read, study, and interpret the Bible, a question commonly comes up: “What’s all the fuss? Can’t I just read the Bible and be happy with what it says to me or how it makes me feel?” I understand the sentiment, but there are a few reasons that we can’t be satisfied with that approach to reading the Bible.

Reason #1: I Don’t Get to Determine What the Bible Means; Meaning is Determined by the Author

Who or what determines the meaning of a text? The author, the text itself, or the reader? The author is the one who has constructed an intelligent thought (who has constructed the meaning) and conveyed it through inanimate objects (paper, ink, or pixels on a digital display) in order to communicate meaning to an audience. Meaning is created and determined by the author. In the case of the Bible, God has inspired multiple authors over a Keep Reading

One-to-One Bible Reading Guide, Part IV: Advice Specifically for Churches and Organizations to Start a One-to-One Bible Reading Discipleship Ministry

This article provides additional guidance specifically for churches that want to start a one-to-one Bible reading discipleship ministry. Unlike other articles in the one-to-one Bible reading guide series, what follows focuses on practical, organizational steps a church can take to start a one-to-one Bible reading discipleship team.

To see the theological basis for one-to-one Bible reading discipleship, see One-to-One Bible Reading Guide, Part I

To see how to start a one-to-one Bible reading meeting, see One-to-One Bible Reading Guide, Part II

To see some resources to use in a one-to-one Bible reading meeting and a model meeting schedule, see One-to-One Bible Reading Guide, Part III.

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One-to-One Bible Reading Guide, Part III: Resources for a Successful One-to-One Bible Reading Ministry and How to Structure a One-to-One Meeting

This article will cover resource strategy and resource lists that are helpful for one-to-one Bible reading ministry. If you have not yet, I recommend reading Part I: What is One-to-One Bible Reading and Why Commit to this Particular Method? and Part II: How to Start a One-to-One Bible Reading Discipleship Ministry from this One-to-One Bible Reading series.

Strategy: Read Books of the Bible in Context.

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One-to-One Bible Reading Guide, Part II: How to Start a One-to-One Bible Reading Discipleship Ministry

This article explains how to start a one-to-one Bible reading meeting, how to prepare for the meeting, and some other helpful tips for success. If you have not read Part I of this One-to-One Bible Reading series, you can read that here.

Step 1: Pray

“Prayer is addressing God, in words, where you are communicating your heart and desire; knowing all the while that He orchestrates all things from the greatest to the smallest. He exists, is personal, and changes lives — he uses prayer in a secondary cause sort of way where He changes things.” —David Helm, OnetoOne course at Covenant Life Church

The first step in this personal ministry of the Word is prayer. I recommend praying for the following:

  • that God would accomplish His work in His people (and all people) through His Word and that He would use your effort to grow His Kingdom
  • for God to give you a desire to help followers of Jesus grow
  • to identify specific people with whom you might read the Bible
  • that God would give you confidence and boldness to get started

Step 2: Invite

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One-to-One Bible Reading Guide, Part I: What is One-to-One Bible Reading and Why Commit to this Particular Method?

Before spending time on the practical and tactical details of starting a one-to-one Bible reading ministry, it is important to establish the principles and convictions that motivate us to the particular method of one-to-one Bible reading. Before talking about the how of one-to-one Bible reading, we need to discuss the what and the why.

What Would a One-to-One Bible Reading Ministry Look Like?

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