Last night in my hermeneutics class at Bethel Seminary, I ran the basic question of my last post by my professor: “Does Jesus call all of his followers to be disciples, or can one be a true follower without accepting the invitation to discipleship?” His first response was that to be a disciple means to be a follower; he noted that one Bible translation (I don’t remember which) actually uses the word follower where others use disciple.
Exegesis is the process of understanding what the original author actually wrote. Hermeneutics, which begins with and encompasses exegesis, is the process of interpreting what the original author wrote to the original audience, and determining the significance of that for us today.
I confess that my post on discipleship is not the product of sound exegesis; in fact, I stated that in one of my subsequent comments: “My conclusions (at this point) are really based on what Jesus didn’t say as much as on what he did say.” That is hardly good scholarship.
In my defense, though I want to emphasize that the thoughts I posted were intended to generate discussion (which they did) and to serve as a hypothesis for further study. I will continue to study that hypothesis, implementing good principles of hermeneutics and, I hope, thus be drawn into a fuller realization of what Jesus both desires and expects of those who call him “Lord, Lord.”