The word I mean.
Disciple is. Obviously.
But not discipleship.
Is that significant?
The Cambridge online dictionary describes the 'ship' suffix as...
having the rank, position, skill or relationship of the stated type
So a lord has the rank or position of lordship.
Scholarship denotes the skill of scholars.
Membership refers to the relationship of members.
So what does discipleship mean?
Is it a rank or position? Well that's not really how we use it. We usually just call someone 'a disciple' if we want to refer to their position.
Is it a relationship? Well maybe. Discipleship might occasionally describe how we relate to the lordship of Jesus. Very occasionally.
But most often we use 'discipleship' to refer to the skill of being a disciple. It's disciple-craft. It's the art of following Jesus.
And my question is just this - why talk about the craft of following Jesus? Why not just talk about following Him?
Or to speak more literally (the greek 'mathetes' is where we get the word 'mathematics' - it's about knowledge) - why not just talk about learning from Christ. We're not primarily interested in the craft of learning from Jesus. Shouldn't the focus be on the actual learning/following/walking/obeying?
We could study disciple-craft all we like. We could be extremely knowledgeable in the art of discipleship and actually never be a disciple.
So maybe we should forget about discipleship. Maybe we should just be disciples.
Or have I just shot my mouth off in total ignorance / irrelevance?
There's always that....