According to Jesus, true disciples abide in His Word. John 8:31-32 states, “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The New American Standard Version of the Bible translates verse 31 as “…abide in my words…” Real disciples abide in Jesus’s Word. To abide means to remain in, to be connected to, and to be fully immersed in something. Abiding in God’s Word means that we are fully committed to and fully immersed in the Word. It is the hallmark of discipleship to be a receiver and doer of God’s Word.
James echoes this sentiment, in James 1:22-25, where we are exhorted to be “doers of the Word”. James explains that those who are doers of the law of liberty are the ones who are blessed in all that they do. This concept of blessing for obeying God’s Word is contained in other passages like Joshua 1:8 and Psalm 1. Jesus in Matthew 7 emphasizes the importance of hearing and obeying God’s Word: In verses 24-27, Jesus says that when we build our life on both hearing and practicing His Word, we are wise and the life we build will stand against all the storms of life. Growing disciples receive the Word and do what it says.
In 2 Timothy 2:15, the Apostle Paul instructs his mentee Timothy on what it means to be a true workman for God. He says, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” Correctly handling the word of truth implies how we interpret it and the way we teach it and the way we live it out. The Greek verb is orthotomeo. This term literally translates “cut it straight”. As a tentmaker, Paul had to cut canvas and sow fabric according to a pattern. Believers are to “cut straight” the Word of God in their interpretation, application, and teaching of Scripture. Like workmen, who are approved by God, disciples of Jesus, abide in His Word through the disciplines of Bible intake and application. When we have a good heart to receive the Word, a humble spirit to apply the Word and a loving attitude to share the Word, then we are abiding in it and truly disciples of Jesus.