One of the questions I get most often from people is about discipleship within God’s word. People are hungry and thirsty for Truth and righteousness. They want to know that they are in alignment and their life connects with what the Bible says. So we are going to cover some examples of discipleship that you can easily connect with in the Bible.

Barna and The Navigators partnered together to determine what discipleship looks like today. According to the study, they found that the majority of Christians experience some form of relational investment in spiritual growth, 2 out of every 5 (39%) Christians aren’t engaged in any form of discipleship at all and 56% of Christians tell Barna that their spiritual life is entirely private.

The Ultimate Discipleship Examples – Paul, Barnabas, and a Timothy

“Every Believer should have a Timothy, a Barnabas, and a Paul”. Those words my pastor spoke and have echoed in my head for nearly a decade.

These 3 men are the perfect examples of discipleship. Over the years, as a growing Christian, I can see how life-transforming relationships with like-minded believers have been instrumental. When a person invested their time and energy into me and I was willing and ready with a teachable spirit, I saw the fruit of their sacrifice. Real growth occurred in some incredible ways. And hear me with humility when I say, I can acknowledge how I have also been a part of others’ transformations in the same way. I believe that in discipleship, it isn’t enough to be seeking a Paul, a Barnabus, and a Timothy, we have to be intentional in maintaining these types of relationships in the body of believers continuously.

Let’s dive deeper into the purpose of each one of these men, according to what we know from Scripture.

Paul on Discipleship

The man that wrote the majority of the New Testament. He represents a mentor and leader in life. This is the person who comes alongside, but just ahead of you to disciple you in life. Paul is someone who has traveled further down the road of faith than you. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they have been Christians longer, but are more mature in Spirit. I have met many people who grew up in the church, and would be considered elders in age, but have never operated or experienced the move of God by way of signs and wonders. Older does not equate to maturity when it comes to faith. They should be someone who’s walked faithfully with God long and far enough for you to profit from his (or her) wisdom, experience, and study of God’s Word, etc.Important things about Paul and Discipleship

A title is not required, but I want to caution you about this. When selecting a mentor, discipleship coach, or leader, it is important to use discernment. Look for the fruit of the Spirit. You shouldn’t have to look hard. The fruit of the Spirit (Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) should be evident. If there has been no growth and maturation over time. Also, we should be cautious of the zealous, self-appointed pastor, prophet, or apostle. Titles don’t always correlate to good leadership. They may attend every service, Bible Study, and seminar that the Church offers. Let’s be reminded of the scripture: “For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones.” Matthew 24:24

Being a Paul may be difficult if you are a new believer yourself, you may not have years of tested faith, but you can look to be a leader. Remember that game as a kid, “Following the Leader” It only requires you to be 1 step ahead of the follower. Find someone that is also new and walk with them.

Discipleship and Barnabas

Examples of Discipleship in BarnabasThis one encourages you and holds you accountable in your faith and life. This looks like a mutual friendship. In the book of Acts, Paul, and Barnabas traveled together side by side. Barnabas was a key person in Paul’s life, especially at the beginning of his walk with Christ as he introduced Paul to the Christian community. Their relationship then became one of mutual encouragement, ministry, and accountability.

There are women in my life that I discipled for years who have gone from being a Timothy in my life to becoming a Barnabas to me. And while I can still disciple them in some ways, they also minister to me in many ways. Our relationship is a blessing to the both of us consistently.

Timothy on Discipleship

This is the one that you help guide along the road of faith and life. They are generally someone who has not traveled as far as you have in your walk with Christ. There should be evidence of an eagerness to grow in his relationship with Christ and is humble and teachable enough to receive what you have to share and to interact with you on the things of faith and life. This “mark of a Timothy” should not be ignored just for the sake of having a Timothy. We cannot drag people on this Christian journey. There are many immature Christians out there who could use guidance but don’t have a teachable spirit. Many initially present themself as someone wanting to learn but not willing to go through the process. They want a fast track to a title, deliverance, or blessings. These are NOT Timothy, they are distractions. There are plenty of Timothys out there, save your time and energy for them.

Timothy - Discipleship example

Timothy, Paul’s “son in the faith,” as Paul called him, was humble, teachable, and eager to know, love, and follow God through Jesus Christ. So too, a “Timothy” shouldn’t expect to only receive guidance and wisdom from his “Paul,” but should plan on becoming a Paul himself one day so he can begin the whole process over again with another man. This is a process in a man’s life that ought to last a lifetime and be produced, reproduced, and multiplied over and over again throughout the man’s lifetime, as well as in the lives of the men he invests in.


Discipleship – How The Christian Faith Has Been Passed Down

We are Christians today because those who went before us were faithful to this process. And this is why we started R.E.A.L. Discipleship Academy. We desire to Reach, Equip Achieve, and Liberate the Christian community so that Truth will forever be circulated throughout the generations, not only through us, but that we would forever see the fruit of our disciples leading and growing others to do the same

We should always remember that there is more to learn and grow. We need to be Paul, Barnabas, and Timothy and we need to have a Paul, Barnabas, and Timothy. Such people in our lives are gifts from God. And we have the blessed opportunity to be such a gift to other men.

Practical Points

  • Who is your Paul? To whom are you a Paul? What do these relationships look like?
  • · Who is your Barnabas? To whom are you a Barnabas? What do these relationships look like?
  • · Who is your Timothy? To whom are you a Timothy? What do these relationships look like?

If you struggled to answer any of these questions, begin praying for God to bring people into your life who will invest in you or who will be open to you investing in them.


Heavenly Father, I thank you for mentorship, fellowship, and friendship. God, I appreciate the relationships you have entrusted me with and I thank you in advance for those that you will send me in the days and years ahead. God, help me to make myself available to those that you have called me to on assignment. Lead only the teachable person to me that is willing to receive and help me to have eyes to see the true Barnabas around me. I bind up distractions sent to keep me from purposeful relationships. I desire to steward my time well. Help me to invest in the right people. Lord, deliver me of any fear of being wronged by others because of my past disappointments. Help me to understand that some relationships are lifelong, but others will be short and for only a season, both are good and valuable. Lord, please heal my heart so that I can be and find the right Paul, Barnabas, and Timothy, and forgive me where I have not stewarded these relationships as you desired. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Suggested Reading: 2 Timothy 2:2; 1 Timothy 1:2; Acts 13