“And when it was day, He called unto Him His disciples: and of them He chose twelve, whom also He named apostles” (Luke 6:13).
Many people fail to distinguish between our Lord’s disciples and His apostles. They suppose they are the same. This is incorrect, however, for our Lord had a multitude of disciples while He had only a few apostles. His apostles were chosen from among His disciples, as we learn from the above message from Luke’s gospel.
A disciple is a follower; an apostle is a “sent one”. A disciple is a learner; an apostle is a teacher. There is a great lesson here for us all to learn.
We must come before we can go. We must follow before we can be sent. We must learn before we can teach. We must listen to the Lord before we can speak for the Lord.
“Thus saith the Lord”, was the familiar phrase with which the Old Testament prophets began their messages. But at the head of the long list of Old Testament prophets we find Samuel, a young lad, saying: “SPEAK LORD, FOR THY SERVANT HEARETH” (I Sam. 3:9).
Before we can do or say anything for God, then, we must listen to God. This explains why the reading and study of the Word of God is so important.
First, salvation itself comes by hearing and believing God’s Word, especially about Christ, and His death for our sins. Romans 10:17 says: “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God”, and I Peter 1:23: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever”. Then, having been saved, we can serve God acceptably only by diligent study of His Word. Perhaps the most important passage in the Bible on this subject is II Timothy 2:15:
“STUDY TO SHOW THYSELF APPROVED UNTO GOD, A WORKMAN THAT NEEDETH NOT TO BE ASHAMED, RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH.” source