Paul writes, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase” (1 Cor. 3:6). In other words, Paul had a role to play, and another individual named Apollos had a role to play, but it was God who empowered these two and is generally responsible for the fruit at the end of the day. But how does God cause this “increase”?
Other religions and denominations acknowledge the gorge between humanity and divinity. As a means to connect the two, each propose a contact point to bring the divine and human together. For some, it is through human works and ritual. For others, it is through objects and actions of meaning. Even within Christianity, some forms of contact points are through the medium of water, others of bread and wine, and yet others through a form of worship. Some encounter God through dreams, others through music, and still others through tangible objects.
Hebrews 4:12 records, “For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Unlike other books, the Bible is not read merely for information. This living and powerful Book is the disciple’s source of spiritual life and power. It is not when the Bible is carried in the hands, read with the eyes, studied with the mind, or even memorized by the brain that we encounter divinity; but the true contact point between divine and human occurs when the heart hears the voice of God and obeys with its entire will. The encounter is then when disciples experience the power of conversion through the Word. Just as metal swords cut through human flesh, the Bible cuts through the inner ways and thoughts of humanity in a manner that only the divine can do.
The discipleship process must be saturated with the Word of God. There are different types of Bible studies. One type is original Bible studies, in which the individual discovers the truth through their own search. The second is baptismal preparation studies to start their formal discipleship with Jesus. The third is discipleship studies after baptism that continue to support their beginning stages of training. And last is practical training to give Bible studies to others, continuing the discipleship process.
While the four types of Bible studies given to new disciples are vital altogether, the most important contact point happens during their Bible study time alone to connect with God.