The Greek word for disciple is “mathetes” (the a is pronounced as in father, both “e’s” are pronounced as in “they.”) It is the word from which we get “mathematics.” We normally understand it as a “learner.” Yet, the focus is more specific. Generally speaking, mathematics is the science of numbers. I was never very good at math, but when I needed to get through College Algebra, I sat down and studied. I couldn’t quite grasp all the dynamics of absolute value, integers, primary numbers, or irrational numbers. But with time, I learned and ended with a good grade in the course. I had to learn how to study! I learned that I had to focus, clear my mind of distractions, and patiently stay with a paragraph until I understood the concept well enough to vocalize it myself. Mathematics is not just about numbers. It’s about relationships between numbers. It deals with quantities and magnitudes. It really is all about relationships.

A math deals with the relationships between quantities and magnitudes, Jesus deals with the relationships between man and God and man with others. Numbers are just the substance of the science you must understand them before you will ever grasp the relationships between them. Mathematicians give their lives to learn more about the relationships so that we can apply them in ways that changes the world. E=MC(squared) is a powerful mathematical formula that has had profound impact on the world. Numbers represent the content, relationships bring meaning and understanding.

The Corpus of Mathematics is numbers. The Corpus of Christianity is the Bible, the Inspired Scriptures. But it’s not just the information, but the content, that matters. Jesus once confronted the Scribes of His day who spent their lives studying the scriptures, without grasping the relationships. In John 5:39-40, he said to them, “You study the Scriptures carefully. You study them because you think they will give you eternal life. The Scriptures you study give witness about me. But you refuse to come to me and receive life.” The entire Body of Biblical Literature speaks of Christ. The life and teachings of Jesus make up the content of a disciples life. Even when he studies the Old Testament it reveals Christ. We must give attention, clear away distractions, focus our energies on Christ. That’s what true Discipleship is all about. Paul exhorted his young disciple to “study To show yourself approved unto God, a workman who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Just as one studies long division, one must “rightly divide” (understand) God’s word, and reflect on the relationships, in order to grasp truth that will have a powerful impact on our own lives, as well as the world.