Discipleship & the Dispensational Shift

Another challenge involved in studying discipleship in the Bible keeping the concept in context when dispensations shift in the Book of Acts.

We need to understand that there was a major dispensational shift (a major change in how God "dispenses" grace) in Acts 2. Christ was no longer physically present for the disciples to follow, but rather the Spirit came and thus began His dispensation during which He would guide believers (the Church), principally through the Scriptures.

This is very different than what we see in the Gospels where Jesus was physically present for one to see, learn from, and follow.

Therefore, we need to take this dispensational shift into account when studying discipleship in the Gospels and the Book of Acts. There is a big difference between Jesus' discipleship in the Gospels and discipleship as we see it in the Church Age in the Book of Acts. In the Gospels Christ was physically present with a few chosen people (not all disciples followed Jesus around physically; in fact, the majority did not). However, since Pentecost in Acts 2, Jesus is spiritually present with all true believers through His Holy Spirit.

Things that are different are not the same, and discipleship is different (to a certain extent) in the Gospels and the Book of Acts. We see a much more clear picture of discipleship in the Church Age throughout the history of Acts and should therefore follow the pattern there instead of trying to jump back a dispensation and follow the pattern found in the Gospels.