It is a great help to have a mentor, someone who will lead in discipleship. ”Disciple” comes from Latin, according to most on-line dictionaries. I like this from Etymology Dictionary:
disciple (n.)Not only “to learn”, but “to grasp intellectually, analyze thoroughly,” when it comes to being Christ’s disciple because we need to thoroughly analyze what we read and hear, as the Bereans did:
Old English discipul (fem. discipula), Biblical borrowing from Latin discipulus "pupil, student, follower," said to be from discere "to learn" [OED, Watkins], from a reduplicated form of PIE root *dek- "to take, accept" (see decent).
But according to Barnhart and Klein, from a lost compound *discipere "to grasp intellectually, analyze thoroughly," from dis- "apart" (see dis-) + capere "to take, take hold of" (see capable). Cf. Latin capulus "handle" from capere
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (Acts 17:11 KJV)
Once we do intellectually grasp that the Bible is God’s word, we can understand that it is also a guide to interpersonal relationships. The Bible tells us how to treat people, even beyond Christ’s commandment:
Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:36-40 KJV)
An excellent example is in a letter from a mentor to his student:
Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity. (1 Timothy 5:1-2 KJV)
Here Paul instructs Timothy how to treat old men, young men, older women and young women. In another training letter, Paul instructs Titus as to how these people should act, too:
That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, (Titus 2:2-7 KJV)
All of that is good advice when it comes to interpersonal relationships – but Paul adds a preface:
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: (Titus 2:1 KJV)
My challenge is not only to intellectually grasp that the Bible has foundational teachings regarding how to get along with others, but requires that I apply these teachings to my daily life. I need to develop a willingness to understand others, to reach for these high standards Paul set down as examples for the young Christians he mentored. Especially in our congregations. We are blood kin – the blood of Jesus Christ shed for our redemption. Much, much more important.