In the Bible, these two words refer to the same group of people.
Scripture does not give us the authority to invent our own definitions of the words "disciple" and "Christian" (even though most people do it). So this group of studies looks at the definitions the way the Bible gives them. Though the different articles look at the data from different "directions," the conclusions are always the same, for Scripture is quite clear in this matter. The only requirement is that we be willing to accept what Scripture says, the way Scripture says it.
This section includes a look at both what a disciple believes, as well as what he does. It looks at the impact that Jesus has on both the mind (thoughts, heart, values, etc.) and the actions of a person, when that person becomes truly "saved."
Merely having the correct definitions of these words does not guarantee that a person is a follower of Jesus. (See the other sections related to becoming a disciple and living as a disciple.) Note also that a false definition of "Christian" tends to go along with a false definition of "church." (See the "Disciples & the Word 'CHURCH' " section for this issue.)
The word "Christian" occurs only three times in the New Testament. Here we look at these three passages, and see that the Bible does not use the word "Christian" the way most people use it today.
The apostle Paul defines the "good news" about salvation, and has some strong words about anyone who might preach something different. How does your "good news" compare with Paul's?
This title is written from the perspective of someone who isn't a disciple. Such a person would consider the radical changes that occur in a disciple's life to be a bit too "radical" or "fanatical" for him. On the other hand, for the disciple, it's the way of life he's learned from his Master, Jesus Christ. To him, it's "extreme" only in the sense that being a follower of Jesus impacts all of life. [This outline is a compilation that includes most or all of the New Testament passages that contain the word "disciple," and which also have a context that describes the characteristics of one.]
Just four short sentences; but a reminder of a fact that so few pay attention to.
Though the world may view following Jesus as "extreme" (see the above article), the disciple will call it an "adventure." This is a series of four articles (or "lessons"): (1) what a disciple is, (2) how a disciple lives, (3) the disciple as a "hero," and (4) you must decide if you want to become a disciple. These lessons are rather long and are perhaps best if used as the "notes" or "study guide" for a series of talks or discussions.
The "Christianity" of the Bible is not a religion; it's a relationship. It's a friendship with God himself. Once we become friends with God, we will want to become "religious" - but our definition of "religion" will be radically changed from what it had been.
The Bible says...
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. (1 John 3:2-3)