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Introduction - Raising the Standard

a practical Christian discipleship course.

Introduction and Contents

Many times I have wondered what it must have been like in ‘Barny’s Bible class’ at Antioch. The class began in

Acts 11:22-24. The need for it arose when people tuned in to the Good News about the Lord Jesus and then turned to the Lord themselves.

Barnabas saw evidence that God was at work in the lives of these people (verse 23). His task was then twofold. Firstly, he encouraged them in their new-found relationship with God, and secondly, he helped them in evangelism among the people around and about them (verses 23-24).

Their class continued for more than a year. Barnabas brought in a young teacher called Saul (later Paul) and the two of them schooled the believers in Christian truth and Christlikeness (verses 25-26). As they raised the standard for Christ, so they raised the standard of Christian living. The Lord gave them great success. The people of Antioch could clearly see the difference between those in the class and those not in it. The students were so much like Jesus Christ and so taken up with His teaching that those who knew them called them ‘Christians’.

This practical discipleship course has developed from material originally compiled for weekly study classes led by Brenda and Colin Salter for Redruth Baptist Church, Cornwall, England. It is offered here with the prayer that you will be able to grow in your Christian walk and witness as you follow these directions to the Lord Jesus, His word and His will.

Discussion Guides.

We have been offering suggestions for group discussion at the end of every

section, since the 2010 edition of Raising the Standard.

1. Readers should look carefully at what the Bible passages quoted

actually say. What is their simplest meaning?

2. Readers should ask what the passage meant to those people who

were the original receivers of it. How does the first century

context influence the meaning of the words and events?

3. Only then should readers try to apply the passage to their own

lives in their twenty-first century context. Always ask 'How must I live to please


Placing the way we currently live our own lives alongside what God is

teaching us through the Bible (God’s own word), comparing the two,

and then changing our lives to be more like what we learn we should

be, is a great way to progress in Christian discipleship. Please study the Bible passages referred to in the text. This book is not a substitute for the Bible, but rather a signpost to it.

Discussion Guide on the Introduction (above):

Read Acts 11:19-30.

1. Why do you think Jerusalem’s church leaders sent Barnabas to

Antioch when they heard that so many people had become


2. As a person begins the Christian life (a life to honour Jesus Christ)

what kind of things may they have to learn to do or not to do?

3. What do you think Barnabas meant when he “encouraged them all

to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts”? verse 23.

4. Why was such encouragement necessary?

5. Give some suggestions as to why the Believers were called

Christians in Antioch?

6. The last four verses show those new Believers in Antioch

responding to a need elsewhere. In what way does becoming a real

Christian influence how we use our money?


- all 60 lessons, divided into 10 sections:

The Master’s Instructions about Himself

1. God the Father

2. God the Son

3. God the Holy Spirit

4. The process of Christian growth

5. Worshipping God

The Master’s Instructions about the Gospel

6. Why do we need it?

7. What is it?

8. How should we respond to it?

The Master’s Instructions about the Christian Life

9. Receiving and relying upon the Holy Spirit

10. Learning to please God

11. Learning to confess sin

12. Learning in fellowship

13. Learning how to pray

14. Learning how to learn

The Master’s Instructions about Everyday Life

15. Living as a Christian at home

16. Living as a Christian at work

17. Living as a Christian child

18. Living as a Christian husband and father

19. Living as a Christian wife and mother

20. Living as a single Christian

21. The Christian attitude to money

22. The Christian attitude to time

23. The Christian attitude to sickness

24. The Christian attitude to other people

25. The Christian attitude to the future

26. The Christian’s attitude to his/her own abilities

27. The Christian’s attitude to his/her own body

The Master’s Instructions about Specific Christian Problems

28. How to overcome temptation

29. How to know God’s will for your life

30. How to pray

31. How to fight the spiritual battle

32. How to lead another to Jesus Christ

33. How to grow through problems - Joseph

The Master’s Instructions about Christians Together

34. Born into the family of God

35. Brought up in the family of God

36. Becoming what God wants me to be in the body of Christ

The Master’s Instructions about the Bible

37. The authority of God’s word

38. The value of God’s word

39. Ways of studying God’s word

Mark’s ‘Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ’

40. The place of Jesus Christ

41. The purpose of Jesus Christ

42. The prayer life of Jesus Christ

43. The miracles of Jesus Christ

44. The message of Jesus Christ

45. The man Jesus Christ

46. Jesus taught the sinfulness of man

47. Jesus taught the sufferings of the Son of Man

48. Jesus taught the resurrection

49. Jesus taught the coming of the Son of Man

The Life and Ministry of Peter

50. Starting off with Jesus

51. Stepping out with Jesus

52. Seeing who Jesus is

53. Slipping back from Jesus

54. Struggling to stay with Jesus

55. Sorry, then sent by Jesus

56. Speaking out for Jesus

57. Stepping out for Jesus

58. Suffering for Jesus

59. Still learning while serving

The End Matters

60. One final request directly from me to you

- your personal commitment.

Originally published by Kingsway Publications, Eastbourne, England 1987.

Printed in Khartoum 2001 in English, reprinted 2010 with added Discussion guides.

Reprinted in Juba 2018 in English.

Printed in Arabic 2006, reprinted in 2008 and 2018.

Printed in Dinka Padang 2007.

To freely download please click the book cover here or (for the English language) at the top of the article.


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