Main Article Content
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).
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Copyright: Asia-Pacific International University reserve exclusive rights to publish, reproduce and distribute the manuscript and all contents therein.
Anyabwile, T. M. (2012). Finding faithful elders and deacons. Crossway.
Bakke, O. M. (2001). Concord and peace: A rhetorical analysis of the first letter of Clement with an emphasis on the language of unity and sedition. Mohr Siebeck.
Bauckham, R. (2007). The testimony of the beloved disciple: Narrative, history, and theology in the gospel of John. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker.
Baus, K. (1982). From the apostolic community to Constantine (H. Jedin & J. Dolan, Eds.). Crossroad.
Berkowitz, B. A. (2006). Execution and invention: Death penalty discourse in early Rabbinic and Christian cultures. Oxford University Press.
Blunt, J. J. (1856). A history of the Christian church during the first three centuries. John Murray.
Bock, D. L. (Ed.). (2006). The Bible knowledge word study: Acts-Ephesians. Cook Communications Ministries.
Byron, J. (2019). A week in the life of a slave. InterVarsity Press.
Breen, M., & Cockram, S. (2014). Building a discipling culture: How to release a missional movement by discipling people like Jesus did. 3D Ministries.
Corwin, V. (2009). St. Ignatius and Christianity in Antioch. University of Michigan.
Culpepper, R. A. (1994). John, the son of Zebedee: The life of a legend. University of South Carolina Press.
Daniels, S. (2009). Seven deadly spirits: The message of Revelation’s letters for today’s church. Baker.
Dostoevsky, F. (2008). The Karamazov brothers (I Avsey, Trans.). Oxford University Press.
Duvall, J. S. (2014). “Revelation.” In Teach the text commentary series (J. H. Walton, Ed.). Baker.
Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians. (n.d). The seven epistles of St. Ignatius of Antioch. Catholic Culture. https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=3836
Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians. (n.d). The seven epistles of St. Ignatius of Antioch. Catholic Culture. https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=3836
Eusebius. (2019). The ecclesiastical history: Complete 10 book edition: The early Christianity: From A.D. 1–324. Musaicum.
Exparza, J. S. (2009). The diaconate: A challenge from the past. AuthorHouse.
Ferguson, E. (2011). Early Christians speak. Northwestern University.
Gallaty, R. (2015). Rediscovering discipleship: Making Jesus’ final words our first work. Zondervan.
Gansky, A. (2014). 60 people who shaped the church: Learning from sinners, saints, rogues, and heroes. Baker.
Grant, R. M. (2006). Irenaeus of Lyons: The early church fathers. Routledge.
Grant, R. M. (2009). The letter and the spirit. Wipf & Stocks.
Grimm, C. L. W. (1893). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Being Grimm’s Wilke’s Clavis Novi Testament (J. Henry, Trans.). T. & T. Clark.
Guinness, O. (2003). The call: Finding and fulfilling the central purpose of your life. Thomas Nelson.
Guirguis, Y. (2020). History of Christian education: Apostolic and Greek fathers. In P. W. Kilgour & B. J Christian (Eds.), Revealing Jesus in the learning environment: Making a world of difference (pp. 119–158). Avondale Academic Press.
Hartog, P. (2013). Polycarps’s epistle to the Philippians and the martyrdom of Polycarp: Introduction, text, and commentary. Oxford University Press.
Heck, T. (1996). The New Testament Church then and now: Creative groups guide. Standard.
Hein, W. (2015). A witness in times of war and peace: The story of Gerhard Hein, a Mennonite Pastor who served in the Wehrmacht during World War II. Friesen Press.
Holding, J. P. (2008). Shattering the Christ myth: Did Jesus not exist. Xulon Press.
Holt, M. C. (2008). Martyrdom. In M. A. Lamport (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Christianity in the global south (pp. 492-494). Rowman & Littlefield.
Hudson, E. H. (1884). A history of the Jews in Rome, B.C. 160–A.D. 604. Paternoster Row.
Hull, B. (2006). The complete book of discipleship: On being and making followers of Christ. NavPress.
Hummel, E. L. (2007). The concept of martyrdom according to St. Cyprian of Carthage. University of California.
Ignatius. (1889). The apostolic fathers (J. B. Lightfoot, Trans., Vol. 2). Macmillan.
Ignatius. (2017). The sacred writings of Ignatius (A. Roberts, Trans.) Jazzybee Verlag.
Irenaeus. (1872). Five books of St. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons: Against heresies (J. Keble, Trans., Vol. 18). James Parker.
Irenaeus. (2019). Against heresies. Lulu.
Jefford, C. N. (2006). The apostolic fathers and the New Testament. Baker.
Jefford, C. N. (2005) The apostolic fathers: An essential guide. Abingdon Press.
Jones, J. C. (1878). Studies in the Acts of the Apostles. Houlston and Sons.
Jones, V. T. (2013). Discipleship: A lifelong spiritual pilgrimage: A disciple’s reflection on actively living in God’s kingdom today. Wipf & Stock.
Klassen, W. (2009). Normative self-definitions of Christianity in the New Testament. In G. F. Snyder, J. V., Hills, & R. B. Gardner (Eds.), Common life in the early church essays honoring Graydon F. Snyder (pp. 91-105). University of Michigan.
Kleist, J. A. (Ed.). (1948). The Didache, the epistle of Barnabas: The epistles and the martyrdom of St Polycarp the fragments of Papias the epistle to Diognetus. Paulist Press.
Leemans, J., & Dupont, A. (2019). Scripture and martyrdom. In P. M. Blowers & P.r W. Martens (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of early Christian biblical interpretation (pp. 417–438). Oxford University Press.
Lightfoot, J. B. (1873). Saint Paul’s epistle to the Philippians. Macmillan.
Lightfoot, J. B. (1893). Essays on the work entitled supernatural religion. Macmillan.
Lightfoot, J. B. (Trans.) (1990). The epistle of Polycarp. Athena Data Products. http://jewishchristianlit.com/Texts/NT/Lightfoot/Polycarp.html
MacArthur, J. (2007). 1, 2, 3 John and Jude: Established in truth marked by love. HarperCollins.
Masih, M. El, & Witt, D. (2013). Fearless love in the midst of terror: Rediscovering Jesus’ spirit of martyrdom with meditation of Christ and his love. Life Sentence.
McMahon, D. M. (2013). Divine fury: A history of genius. Hachette.
McNamara, D. N. (1977). Ignatius of Antioch on his death: Discipleship, sacrifice, imitation [Doctoral dissertation, McMaster University] Digital Archive. http://hdl.handle.net/11375/7937
Milner, J. (1794). The history of the church of Christ: The three first centuries. Trafford.
Mutie, J. (2015). Death in second-century Christian thought: The meaning of death in earliest Christianity. Wipf & Stock.
Papandrea, J. L. (2012). Reading the early church fathers: From the Didache to Nicaea. Paulist Press.
Pawson, D. (2012). Where has the body been for 2000 Years?: Church history for beginners. Anchor Recordings.
Pinckaers, Servais. (2016). The spiritualiity of martyrdom to the limits of love (P. M. Clark & A. Hounsokou, Trans.). Catholic University of America Press.
Piper, F. (1880). Polycarp of Smyrna. In F. Piper (Ed.), Lives of the leaders of the church universal, from Ignatius to the present time (pp. 14–21). T. & T. Clark.
Plummer, A. (1887). The church of the early fathers: External history. Longmans.
Polhill, J. B. (1999). Paul and his letters. TN: B & H.
Quasten, J., & Plumpe, J. C. (Eds.) (1946). The epistles of St. Clement of Rome and St. Ignatius of Antioch (J. A. Kleist, Trans.). Paulist Press.
Renan, J. E. (2017). The history of the origins of Christianity book V-the gospels. Lulu.
Reyes, E. C. (2018). In his name. Trafford.
Riches, J. K. (2011). Paul, grace and freedom: Essays in honour of John K. Riches. A & C Black.
Roberts, A., & Donaldson, J. (Ed.). (1885). The Ante-Nicene fathers: Translations of the writings of the fathers down to A.D. 325. The Christian Literature.
Schoedel, W. (1986). Ignatius of Antioch. Alban Books.
Shanks, M. A. (2013). Papias and the New Testament. Wipf & Stock.
Smith, W. (Ed.). (1868). The student’s scripture history: The New Testament history, with an introduction, connecting the history of the Old and New Testaments. John Murray.
Stott, J. R. W. (1992). The contemporary Christian: Applying God’s word to today’s world. InterVarsity Press.
Strobel, L. (2008). Finding the real Jesus: A guide for curious Christians and skeptical seekers. Zondervan.
Tarvainen, O. (2016). Faith and love in Ignatius of Antioch. Wipf & Stock.
Weddle, D. L. (2017). Sacrifice in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. New York University Press.
Wilkins, M. J. (1992). The interplay of ministry, martyrdom and discipleship in Ignatius of Antioch. In M. J. Wilkins (Ed.), Worship, theology and ministry in the early church: Essays in honor of Ralph P. Martin (pp. 294–315). Sheffield Academic Press.
Wilkins, M. J. (2010). Following the master: A biblical theology of discipleship. Zondervan.
Williams, H. H. D., III. (2019). Pointing to a prototype in Early Christian communities: Considering prototypical behavior in the letters which Ignatius of Antioch wrote. In J. Kok, M. Webber, & J. van Nes (Eds.), Drawing and transcending boundaries in the New Testament and early Christianity (pp.115–136). Verlag Münster.
Witherington, B., III. (1998). The acts of the apostles: A socio-rhetorical commentary. Eerdmans.