Christians today often claim to be disciples of Jesus. However, discipleship seems to involve being an itinerant.

KJV Mat 8:18  Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side.  Mat 8:19  And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.  Mat 8:20  And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.  Mat 8:21  And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.  Mat 8:22  But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.  Mat 8:23  And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.

I notice that the word "disciples" appears in the KJV only in the gospels and Acts. Did discipleship end with the end of the age in 70AD? IE: Was it not a feature of the body of Christ in Paul's paradigm?

  • 1
    Your question in the title and your two questions at the end are completely different.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Apr 14, 2018 at 13:01
  • @curiousdannii I fixed the question. Can you unkill the question? Thanks
    – Ruminator
    Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 22:16
  • @curiousdannii I guess not...
    – Ruminator
    Commented Oct 4, 2018 at 19:36

3 Answers 3


To be a disciple of Christ is to follow him; that could only be done literally while Jesus was on earth. After he ascended back to heaven, no Christian could follow him in a literal sense. Yet they continued being his disciples by continuing to follow his teachings and his ways.

A second sense of discipleship is to teach others the ways of the Great Teacher - Christ. That can only be done by those who have been taught by Christ, who have sat at his feet. Literally so while he was on earth (Mary, Luke 10:42). She was being discipled by the Lord himself, and so chose the better portion than did her sister, Martha. But after Jesus returned to heaven, discipling continued. The apostles taught pubicly and in the homes of believers, so that those ones who came under the sound of their gospel teaching became followers also. Yet not every believer is called to be a teacher, as were the Apostles. Did that prevent them from being disciples? Of course not! They were taught, and believed, and went into the world to commend Christ to others, by word and deed.

They need not leave their home village to do that, of course. They did not have to become itinerant preachers. If that was what was necessary to be a disciple of Christ, would that mean ceasing to be a disciple when thrown into prison? After all, no traveling about could be done then, and that could go on for years. Consider the apostle John, languishing on the isle of Patmos. Did his incarceration there prevent him being an itinerant disciple? Of course not! There's more than one way of following Christ's commission to "Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations... teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Mat.28:19-20). John was able to continue his ministry by writing - consider the book of the Revelation, penned by him in his old age!

Nowadays the itinerant ministry can still be done while sitting at home, using the Internet. Or it can be done over the garden fence, speaking about Christ to a neighbour. It's not location, or clocking up travel miles that makes a disciple itinerant. Discipleship has never ceased; it's just that making disciples has gone on throughout the centuries, but is not confined to personally visiting geographic locations. Since the advent of the printing press, postal systems, telephone and the Internet, it's just become a global outreach that disciples of Christ can use to share the gospel and teaching of Christ without being confined to the very limited means the disciples were stuck with in the first century.

All who follow Jesus find ways of sharing the good news of him with others; such followers tell others, and so more disciples result. It's just that discipleship, as in the gospels, has now expanded to what those first century disciples could never have dreamed of.


1 John 2:6, "He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked." As to whether being itinerant is required or not, I don't know. It seems most disciples were, as well as Paul. John was exiled and so had to remain where he was exiled. Consider that when Paul and the other NT authors wrote their letters to the churches, the entire church could not have been itinerant otherwise exhortations for the Philippians or Ephesians (for example) would not have been received by those whom Paul intended - because they would have wandered to some other land if all were itinerant.


When the Bible uses "disciple" on its own, they are referring to one who personally knew Jesus in the flesh, for whom He was his rabbi. Jesus has ascended into the heavens (While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. (Luke 24:51 (NIV))), and thus that no longer applies.

There are also disciples of John (John 3:25), and these are those who knew John in the flesh and who had John as a rabbi. Part of being a disciple was living with the master and thus living as the master lived. Jesus in his earthly ministry was iterant, and thus the disciples have to be iterant; "but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head", "Follow me;", "his disciples followed him.".

To the extent that one can be a disciple of Christ since the Ascension, this would be done by spending time with Christ in, for example, prayer.

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