March 31, 2023

Maybe We Should Swap the Word Disciple for Apprentice

One of the reasons that I believe that some of the modern translations can be profitable is the fact that words shift. Conversation means talking today, and in 1611 it meant your whole manner of life.

“Disciple” isn’t in that category, though I suppose we have really begun to link that word with “Disciple of Christ” when it really means more along the lines of what we think of as an apprentice:

If we were using corresponding English words, we would call that sort of person a ‘student’ or a ‘learner’ or a ‘pupil’ or, even better, an ‘apprentice’—because an apprentice is a particular kind of learner. Apprentices associate themselves with a specific teacher over a period of time (often a master craftsman) in order to be instructed by them and to learn from them. An apprentice carpenter binds himself to a master tradesman for a period of some years, and learns from him not only the key knowledge that he requires but the practical wisdom that puts that knowledge to effective use in different circumstances. He learns not only what a hammer is and does in theory, but how to use one, and when to use one.

The Apprentice

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