Dare to Disciple: Practical Steps to Mentoring Believers/Program 2

By: Dr. Robby Gallaty; ©2010
Some basic steps for reading, understanding, and applying your learning from the Bible. As we do, we’ll discover that the Bible is not a scary book, but rather a sacred book with words to guide our lives every moment of every day.



Announcer: What do you think is the main thing, the number one thing that Jesus wants every Christian in America, Canada, Central America, South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Philippines and Australia, to do. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples.” What is a disciple? How do you make a disciple?

My guest today who will tell us is Robby Gallaty, a man who pastors a church of 3,200 members, and has four morning services, yet personally disciples seven or eight people each year. They, in turn, have gone on to disciple. Now, if you have never discipled anyone, is it really possible you could do this? What are the practical things you need to know? Today you will find out on this special edition of The John Ankerberg Show.

Ankerberg: Welcome to our program. We’re talking about Jesus’ Great Commission, His command to every Christian who’s listening right now, that we’re to go and make disciples. How do you do that? We’re talking about the practical aspects of actually doing this. And I know folks around the world are watching right now. We’ve heard from folks in Tehran, Iran, from Hong Kong, Singapore, from India, across Europe, down into Africa, the Philippines, and South America. And this is for Christians around the world. We’ve all been given this command by Jesus to go and make disciples. And we’ve invited one of the premier Bible teachers to share with us, how do you do this on a practical basis? How do you choose somebody to meet with? How do you invite them into this process of growing in the Lord? What do you say? What do you do when you meet with them for the first time?
And, Robby, I’m glad that you’re here. Let’s kind of rehearse what we said last week and then move on. We want to talk today about, what is the role of the Bible in making disciples? But, let’s start again, with folks that missed last week. How do you start this whole process in terms of first of all getting in the game, and then what do you do?
Gallaty: Yeah. After you get into the game, and after you realize, okay, God’s commanded me to go make disciples. He’s going to be with me, because He’s promised in the Great Commission to be with me when I make disciples. You’ve prayed about who you should meet with, you’ve asked them the question, “Would you be interested in meeting in a discipleship group, to read the Bible, to pray, to memorize scripture, to hold each other accountable – which I said last week is an important part of discipleship. And accountability is just you giving the right to people to ask you the tough questions. We need that. John, you need that, I need that, as a pastor. We all need that. Then, you realize, okay, I’ve got to pick a few people, narrow it down to maybe four or three total in the group.
Now, after you do that, okay, what do we study? Where do we go from here? And I think it’s important for the believer to remember, it’s the Bible that is the foundation to discipleship; it’s actually the bedrock for everything we do. I’m reminded of a couple of scriptures: 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is breathed out by God, profitable for teaching, for correction, for reproof, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be competent, fully equipped for every good work.”
Ankerberg: Yeah, that says it in a nutshell, right there, what the Bible is solid for.
Gallaty: Yeah. It’s going to do the work for us. So, when we get into the word, the word’s going to work for us. Hebrew 4:12 is another one: the Bible is like a two-edged sword. The word goes out, it pierces even to the division of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it discerns the thoughts and the intentions of our heart. So, we know these verses. I mean, another one, Isaiah 55:11, “As my word goes forth, it will accomplish all that I intend to accomplish, it never returns void.” So, now that we know the Bible is the bedrock for everything we do., how do we study the Bible? Why do we study the Bible?
Ankerberg: Yeah. And I think we’ve got to, we’ve got to… let’s back up one more step, too. As we study the Bible, people say, “Well, where do you meet with these folks,” okay?
Gallaty: Um-hum.
Ankerberg: And we started talking about that last week, and I would say that we need to encourage folks, meet where it’s possible to meet, where it’s easy to meet. Most business guys have lunch with other businessmen.
Gallaty: Yes.
Ankerberg: Okay. Or could have lunch with somebody else, it’s just part of your schedule. Doctors have a unique schedule, they can meet with other doctors, nurses with nurses, schoolteachers have their own routine. And there are time-slots in the day, where it’s possible to meet with another person. And that’s where I’d advise folks to gravitate toward those spots. You’re not talking about meeting at church, you can meet at the hospital, you can meet at the university, you can meet at school, you can meet at Starbucks, you can meet at different places and invite folks, “We’ll meet there at least once a week, maybe more, and we’ll talk about the things of God. We’ll keep each other accountable.”
Gallaty: Yeah. I’ve had guys meet at the bookstore, I’ve had stay-at-home moms meet in their house. They put the kids in one room and they study together. And so, it’s important to pick a place. It’s important to pick the same place as well, so you can get into the routine of staying at the same place. Another thing we didn’t say, which I think is important to say, men need to disciple men and women need to disciple women. That’s just the golden rule. And so as you continue to pray about who to meet with, keep that in your mind, in the back of it.
Ankerberg: Yeah, and don’t break that rule. Don’t think that you’re the exception that can break that rule.
Gallaty: Yeah, absolutely.
Ankerberg: Yeah.
Gallaty: One of the questions people ask me, John, is this, “Why is the word so important? Why should you read the word? Why should I meditate on the word?” When I used to train in the world for this no-holds-barred kind of fighting, I don’t know if you’re familiar with this, where they get these guys in a cage and they just duke it out. Now, this was obviously before Christ, so in the world I used to do this. And one of the things is I would train at a rigorous rate. And I would eat six times a day., I would be in the gym in the morning, I’d be in the gym in the evening. And the last thing that I wanted to put in my body was a candy bar or an ice cream sundae. And the reason was, I didn’t want something bad to go in my body because I realized what I put into the physical body was going to manifest itself in my appearance.
Well, the same goes for the word. As we put into our spiritual body manna from God or the bread of God, or the word of God, it begins to work in our life. In Matthew 4:4, Jesus is in the wilderness with the devil. And the devil is tempting Him in the very first temptation, after Jesus had fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, he says, “Turn these stones into bread.” Now, Jesus, in His humanity, is hungry. And he’s really tempting Him at this point. And Jesus responds and says, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Now, if you would have known your Old Testament like the hearers did in that time, you would have reverted all the back to Exodus 16. Immediately that would have come to mind. And in Exodus 16, it’s the account of Moses leading the children of Israel from bondage to the Promised Land. Now, we know as they were travelling they started to complain, they started to grumble, and God says, “Okay, I’m going to give you provision for the physical body. I’m going to give you manna. Every day you wake up, manna’s going to come on the ground. And there are two stipulations: one is you have to physically go out and gather the manna – in the rain, in the snow, in the wind, in the heat, if you don’t feel like it, if you don’t like to do it, you still have to do it. And the second thing He says is this, when you gather the manna, it’s only going to be good for that day. So yesterday’s manna won’t be good for today, today’s manna won’t be good for tomorrow.
Now, Jesus equates the bread to the word in the New Testament. And I think we can make two parallels, John. The first is this: we need to physically spend time in the word. Maybe when we don’t feel like it, we don’t have a desire to do it, it’s cold outside, it’s raining outside. We need to physically, every day, have a quiet time with the Lord. And then secondly, our spiritual food intake, spiritually, is only good for today. So, yesterday’s intake of the word is not going to help me today, tomorrow’s intake of the word is not going to help me for tomorrow. And so, the idea is, every single day we have to get in the word. Now, the problem is this: we have some believers who are trying to make it off of Sunday’s sermon. And it’s just not going to happen in the discipleship process.
Ankerberg: Yeah. It’d be like asking some people, “Listen, I tell you what, you eat on Sunday and I tell you what, skip all the next days of the week, and we’ll see you next Sunday and you can eat some more.” People don’t eat that way, they eat three times a day. And here’s something I want to tell the folks. This book you wrote, “Hear God Speak, Hearing From God,” okay, I love this little deal, you got the chair there, and you can just see yourself sitting in that chair and saying, “I want to hear you speak, God.”
Gallaty: Yeah.
Ankerberg: And when you open the word of God, by yourself or with your friend, okay, the thing is, you will find that God does speak to you. Now, we’re going to make this book available to everybody who purchases our two programs that we’ve done, our two series that we’ve done here, with you, as a free download at our website, alright, “Hear God Speak.” And it’s a tremendous book. But I want folks to get the idea here, Robby, that when you meet yourself with the Lord, how much time do you spend each day with the Lord?
Gallaty: Yeah. A personal quiet time should be at least 20 minutes, maybe 30 minutes, and that’s just a rough estimate. You’re probably like me, there have been times when I’ve met 20 minutes with the Lord and I’ve gotten so in the word, and God begins to speak to me and begins to pour Himself upon me, and begins to show me things in the text, that it ends in an hour or maybe two hours before. But, I would say it has to be a regular time with the Lord. It should be a habit in our life. Now, what’s the best time to do that? A lot of people say, “Pastor, you should meet in the morning” or some people may say, “Robby, should we meet in the evening?” And my answer to that is this: whatever’s the best time for you.
Ankerberg: Right.
Gallaty: I personally like to do my quiet time at night. In the morning, very early, I’m not really good in the morning. But at night, I’m really productive. I’ve been through the day, and every time before I go to bed, I spend time with the Lord every night.
Ankerberg: Yeah. And let’s talk about, how do you get started actually getting something out of the word of God?
Gallaty: Yeah. I was flying back on the plane these past few semesters, as I’m finishing my Ph.D. at New Orleans Seminary. And being in Chattanooga, I’m forced to fly once a week back then, and now once a month. And in the plane, I have a passenger who’s stuck next to me. And so what I decided to do is make that time productive, and started an informal survey with the passenger. Now the neat thing is, they can’t go anywhere. And so, I began to ask them the question, I said, “Why don’t people read the Bible today?” And then the second question I follow it up with is, “Why don’t you read the Bible today?” And, John, I got all kinds of answers: the Bible’s too old, it’s archaic, it’s not relevant, it’s written by guys who are dead, it doesn’t mean anything. But the most important or the most prominent answer was this: it doesn’t mean anything to me, or I don’t understand it. And what I’ve realized is, people really won’t read the Bible unless they read with a purpose. If you’re like me, in the beginning I would start off every year reading through the Bible in a year. You get excited in January. You start through Genesis and you’re full steam ahead. You get to Exodus and you’re full steam ahead. And then you hit Leviticus and you come to a screeching halt.
Ankerberg: A flat tire.
Gallaty: Yeah. I mean it’s like, what is God saying through this? What I realized is if we could teach people to read with a purpose, they’re more likely to read.
Ankerberg: Um-hum.
Gallaty: And that’s what I talked about in the book.
Ankerberg: How do you do that? So, just spell it out.
Gallaty: Well, what I’ve come up with is a system called “hear,” which is the name of the book. It’s the acronym HEAR – Highlight, Explain, Apply and Respond. And so what you do is you take a journal. I like to encourage people I’m mentoring to take a journal. And on the left side of the page, you write the acronym H E A R. You have to have a regular Bible reading time. I used to read like this when I was a new believer, I call it the OPRA method, where you open the Bible, you point, you read and you apply. OPRA – Open, Point, Read and Apply. And you say, “God, this is for me today.”
Now, you would never do that in the real world with physical food. I mean nobody just opens the cabinet – maybe college students do, I don’t know – but nobody really opens the cabinet and says, “I think I’ll have this for dinner tonight.” Normally we have a plan. And the same thing goes with the word. We should have a regular reading plan. There are many plans out there. I have one in the book, but there are many plans out there to read. A regular, systematic reading plan through the Bible.
And when you get to the letter “H,” what you do is you highlight a scripture. And so as you’re reading through the Bible, let’s say you’re reading through John 1, and you read through the Bible and whatever verse comes off the page, I don’t encourage people to write down a lot of verses, just write down one, maybe two. And let’s say John 1:1 comes off the page, “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God,” and you may even pick up verse 14, “And the word became flesh.” Now we know he’s talking about Jesus here. And so you highlight that verse, highlight it, you write it out in your journal.
Then you get to the “E.” The “E” is the explanation part. And this is where you begin to wrestle with the text. You engage the text and you ask the text questions, like this: What did the author intend to mean in this text? What was the Holy Spirit’s intent in writing this? And basically what you do is you come to the point where you write what they say.
Now, it’s just a side-note, it’s important for us to have a study Bible at this point. It’s important for us to have commentaries that could be available to us or the internet. There are many different websites today that can help you understand the context of the passage.
Ankerberg: Alright, hold that thought, we’re going to take a BREAK and when we come back, we’re going to talk about the different Bible translations that are out there, because right at this spot, people say, “Which Bible is the best Bible to use?”
Gallaty: Yes.
Ankerberg: Okay. So, folks, hang on and we’ll talk about the different Bible translations when we come right back. Stick with us.

Ankerberg: Alright, we’re back and we’re talking to Robby Gallaty, one of our premier Bible teachers in our country. And we’re talking about the practical things that you do when you disciple someone else.
Look, folks, I want you to listen here, okay, and don’t tune this out. Don’t just say, “This is for somebody else. This is for the pastor, this is not for me.” Jesus commanded every one of us, as Christians, to go into the world and make disciples. And we’re talking about your neighbor; we’re talking about a friend at church; we’re talking about somebody at work; we’re talking about somebody at school; and that you can do this.
One of the biggest decisions of my life was to finally say, “Okay, Lord, I don’t think anything will happen if I do this. But you have commanded me to go, and I am going to go and I’m going to try this,” okay. And I have been amazed at how God has intervened and how God has worked with me and how God has used the scripture. It’s like once you start this thing, Jesus is right in the middle and He’s right there. And things start to happen that you had no idea would happen. It’s the real God working in your life and in the friend that you’re discipling.
Now, we said we would talk about the question people ask all the time: Which is the best Bible translation, Robby? If I’m going to use the Bible, if I’m going to study the Bible, what should I use? And let’s talk about the different ones. Let’s start with, first of all, you have the old King James, then you got the New King James, you’ve got the New American Standard Bible, you got the NIV – New International Version – and you got the New English Version, and then we’re going to finish up with the Message and Living Letters or the Living Bible, okay?
Gallaty: Yeah.
Ankerberg: So, let’s go through that. What is the value of each of these and what’s the difference?
Gallaty: Yeah, they’re on a sliding scale, John, basically. On the far left we would have the literal translations. That would be the popular ones we’re familiar with: the King James Version would be the closest to the original Greek, along with the New King James and the New American Standard. And so, as a person is reading through this Bible, they can know that the translators have decided to keep the original language intact. As we move further along the parallel, or further along the line, we get to the dynamic equivalent…
Ankerberg: Um-hum.
Gallaty: Which would be the NIV version, the New International Version. And basically what that is, is the translators have taken the Greek, internalized it, and put it back on the page in a way that’s easy for the reader to understand.
Ankerberg: Right.
Gallaty: As we go further along on that line, we get to the paraphrase. It would get closer to the Living Bible or the Message, which is a popular Bible.
Ankerberg: Um-hum.
Gallaty: And that is that the translator has internalized it and written it in a way that maybe doesn’t even resemble the original Greek. But the idea is he’s giving it in a way that’s accessible to the audience. The one I use is the English Standard Version. And the reason I use that, it’s in between the dynamic equivalent and the literal. When I was memorizing scripture, it was difficult for me to memorize in the New American Standard, and the reason is, the New American Standard was wooden, it was structured. It was closer to the Greek, and as I was trying to internalize the word, it was hard to regurgitate.
Ankerberg: Yeah. I’ve had the editors of all those translations on the program. We had them all on one program together, okay? And I remember the fact is that the New American Standard Version folks said, “Look, what we try to do is give you the exact English word to the Greek word as close as we could get, okay? And so, it’s, every word is like that. The problem is when you put all those words into a sentence, it gets wooden.
Gallaty: Yes.
Ankerberg: Okay? And that’s the problem. NIV tried to smooth that out, so that they would get,… They had one committee that gave you the exact, and then they had another committee that tried to take that and smooth that out and tried to make it accessible to us in our language.
Gallaty: Yes.
Ankerberg: Okay? And this is what you have going in these Bibles. Now, people say, which one then, should I use?
Gallaty: Yeah, great question. And my answer to them is this – the one you read. It doesn’t matter what translation you use, as long as you read it. Now, obviously you’d probably want something closer to the literal….
Ankerberg: Right.
Gallaty: …if you’re a deep Bible student of the word, if you’re an expositor or someone who’s looking to understand the word.
Ankerberg: Or have them both. You can have some of the paraphrases or the ones that make it dynamic for you right now in our language. But you still want to get back to “What does the word actually mean? What are some of these specific words? Is that the exact meaning?” So, you’re going to probably want to have both in your hands that you read at the same time.
Gallaty: Yeah, absolutely. But the important thing is you want to have a translation that you’re comfortable with, and one that you read….
Ankerberg: Right.
Gallaty: …throughout the time. Let’s get back into the method of how to do it.
Ankerberg: Right.
Gallaty: Because I really think it’s good to know how to read the word, but people fail when they realize they’re reading without a point. And so the HEAR method is good. What I like about it, John, it’s duplicatable: it’s easy to duplicate. And after I explain it, I want to show you how it works in the process of discipleship.
Ankerberg: Yeah.
Gallaty: So, the “H” is “highlight.” You highlight a scripture. And we used John 1:1, “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God, and the word became flesh.” Then we did the “E,” which is the “explanation.” What does this mean? Why did the Holy Spirit include this passage? And you might write something like this, “If God is the word, and Jesus was in the beginning with God, therefore, Jesus is God.” Pretty simple. I mean, you’re not trying to write a seminary paper here, just really simple.
Ankerberg: Um-hum.
Gallaty: The “A” is the crux of the system; it’s the heart of it. The “A” is the “apply.” What does the word mean today? Or better yet, really a good question is, how does this text apply to me? And so you may write, based on John 1:1, “If Jesus Christ is the word, then every time I read the word, I spend time with God.”
The “response,” the “R,” is the last part. And that is, now because of what I’ve just read, what do I do? This could be a prayer or it could be a response. And so what I would write on this is something like this, “If Jesus Christ is the word, then I need to spend time in the word as I spend time with the Lord. “Lord, help me to be a student of the word.”
Now, imagine if you did this every single day. And so when you meet in a discipleship group with me, for the first month we do this every day. And I check the guys every time we meet together. When I started the process, I had three original guys at my former church, and we would meet. Two of the guys were passionate about it; they were excited about it; they did it every day of the week. They brought it in, and we looked at it.
But there was one guy who didn’t get on the bandwagon. He grew up in church; he had a dad who was a deacon. He knew about the word, didn’t really have a close relationship with the Lord, but had read the word all his life. And he came in and he said, “Ah, I don’t really want to do that.” And so after two or three weeks, I said, “Jason, why don’t you try it for a week. If you don’t like it, and at the end of the week, then if you tried it and you didn’t do it, then maybe you can say, ‘I tried it, I don’t like it.’” That week, John, he came in, I’ll never forget. He had his notebook open, and before we can even eat, he sat down and he said, “Guys, let me share with you, what God spoke to me this week.” And I thought to myself, he got it. If he can do it, then anybody can do it.
Ankerberg: Yeah, and I love these times when they share, because the things they share also speak to me when I’m listening. I don’t know about you, but I tell you what, it goes both ways.
Gallaty: Yeah, absolutely. And not just reading the word, but memorizing the word.
Ankerberg: Yeah. How do you memorize scripture? What’s the thing that you’ve found as you’ve become a Christian? How did you get into memorizing scripture?
Gallaty: Yeah. I got into memorizing scripture because David and Brother Tim told me that’s what you’re supposed to do: memorize scripture. Sadly, what I’ve realized in churches today, are believers who don’t memorize the word. There are a ton of believers who know about the word, but they don’t really understand it.
Ankerberg: Why should they memorize it?
Gallaty: I think they should memorize scripture because the word is living and active. It helps us with issues in our life. The Bible said, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” And so, when you speak the word to people, how many times have we been in situations where we wish we had something to say to another person, and the word of God comes to mind? Now, the Bible’s promised to give us remembrance of the things we’ve studied. Remember, Jesus said, “I will give you remembrance of what you have in your time of need.” Now, I know the Lord speaks to us without the word sometimes, but He’s promised to speak to us through the word, and He’s promised to bring to remembrance what we’ve considered to remember.
Ankerberg: I love your teabag illustration, okay. The cup of water is you and the Bible is the teabag, and if you put the teabag into the water, the water starts to turn colors and it gets saturated with the stuff that’s in the teabag.
Gallaty: Right.
Ankerberg: Alright. And if you come to that enough, finally the whole cup of water will get saturated. And if you start to read the word of God and you memorize it, the fact is, it’ll get into your life. And it’ll be there, it will change you, it’ll start to transform you. Paul says, “Renew you mind.” And it’s by reading the word of God.
Now, folks, these are just some practical things that we want you to understand in terms of how you understand the word of God, how you disciple somebody else. Now, we’re going to turn the corner next week, and we’re going to talk not only about the Bible, but we’re going to talk about how you use prayer in discipling people. How do you pray? How does God answer prayers? We got some great illustrations for you about how God has miraculously, how God has wonderfully, answered prayers of simple, common lay people, when they believe the word of God and they pray on that basis. So, we’re going to talk about that next week. I hope that you’ll join us.


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