A Brief History of Discipleship The Apostolic Fathers

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Youssry Guirguis


The Church Fathers’ writings are a valuable resource for grasping the development of discipleship in the early centuries of the Christian Church. The Apostolic Fathers understood discipleship differently from the way we understand it today. They understood the word discipleship to mean not merely lip service, but rather living the truth. They believed that suffering and martyrdom were basic ingredients of Christian discipleship. They further perceived discipleship to mean an imitation of Christ in the life of the believer, and they stressed this with regard to humility, persecution, and suffering. The Apostolic Fathers spoke frequently of disciples and the life of discipleship, and they revealed the earliest attitudes about the concept of discipleship in the Church following the passing of the apostles. This paper delves into first-century AD discipleship, tracing it from Clement of Rome to Papias of Hierapolis (AD 35–163).


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