Bill Mounce

For an Informed Love of God


μαθητής means “disciple.”

“The μαθητής whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ ” (John 21:7).

Mounce's Expository Dictionary (abridged): 

Noun: μαθητής (mathētēs), GK G3412 (S G3101), 261x. In general μαθητής means a “learner, disciple.” (1)  John the Baptist had a loyal following of disciples who remained near him during his imprisonment (Mt. 1:2) and later buried his body (Mk. 6:29). (2) The most frequent use of μαθητής refers to Jesus’ twelve “disciples.” Typically in the Jewish world, a disciple would voluntarily join a school or otherwise seek out a master rabbi; however, Jesus seeks out and chooses those whom he wants as his disciples (Mk. 1:17; 2:14; Lk. 5:1–11; cf. Mt. 4:18–21). (3) μαθητής also refers to the wider circle of adherents to Jesus’ message. Their lives are to be characterized by renunciation (Mt. 23:7–12), humility (18:1–4), poverty (29:23–30), readiness to suffer (10:17–33) and, most important, faith in Jesus (18:5; Jn. 2:11; 6:69; 11:45).