Bible Study Lessons

The Twelve Disciples: Part 1


Have you ever forgotten a small but critical step of a project? Christy hadn't been working at the beauty shop long, but she was friendly and competent so her boss started having her help clients on her own when things got busy. The first few days went without a catch and her boss began giving her slightly more complicated jobs. The next day someone wanted a style Christy had only watched someone do. But, she got to work - washing, drying, coloring. That's when everything went wrong. As Christy began to take the foils out, the client's hair came out with them. The problem was simple - she had forgotten a small but very important step. The solution, as you can imagine, wasn't so simple. In Mark 3:13-15 Jesus calls twelve men to be His disciples. Instead of a long list of complicated instructions, Jesus gives them three simple things to do. Learn about their call and what it means for you as you study the passage.



Ask the Lord to give you understanding and wisdom as you study His Word so that you can live for Him today.

Read Focus Verses

Read Mark 3:13-15 and notice what Jesus does in these verses.


Read these verses in the context of the verses around them, Mark 3:7-19, to better understand what is happening.


Who is the "He" in these verses?


Where does this story occur?


What does Jesus do after He goes up into the mountain according to verse 13?


In the end of verse 13, what is the response to Jesus' call?

How Many?

How many did Jesus select for this special role?


What was the first entry in the job description for these men?


What is the second thing Jesus selected these men for?


Verse 15 tells us the third responsibility of these men. What is it?

Keywords - Jesus Christ

Marking the words referring to Jesus continues to show us how the whole story in Mark centers in Him.

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Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ

Mark the words referring to Jesus in Mark 3:13-15.


Just Before

Luke 6:12-16 tells us what Jesus did before He called the twelve.


What did Jesus do just before He called the twelve?

Making Decisions

How should knowing that Jesus Himself, the perfect God-man, prayed before making a decision like this impact and instruct us?

Called to Come

Today's passage tells us that Jesus called these men, and then it adds that they came to Him. Are you obeying Jesus' calls to you through His Word?


How does Jesus calling the men to physically come to where He was on the mountain serve as a picture of the spiritual call He was giving them?

Initial Call

In Mark 1:16-20 we see Jesus' previous call to four of these disciples.

Two More

John 1:43-50 tells us how two more of the twelve first joined the crowd that followed Jesus.

A Brief Account

Mark 2:14 briefly recounts the initial calling of another of the men Jesus chose.

Jesus' Call

What did Jesus first call these people to do?

Forsake and Follow

What is the original two-part response of these people when Jesus first called them?


In John 15:8-16 Jesus reminds His disciples of the call He gave them.


How does John 15:8-16 expand our understanding of what it means to be a disciple?

First Things First

The first of the things Jesus called these twelve to do in a special way was to be with Him. We see that the twelve are with Him in a special, different way than the rest of the crowd in Mark 4:10.

Promise and Warning

Jesus explains to them further what discipleship means and gives them promises and warnings in Mark 8:34-38.


What does Jesus teach us about discipleship in Mark 8:34-38? What warnings and promises does He give?


In Mark 9:33-37 Jesus challenges their (and our) view of discipleship.

Humble Like a Child

What does Jesus say about discipleship in Mark 9:33-37?

Staying with Him

Mark 11:11 shows us that the twelve were staying in Bethany with Jesus that final week before His death and resurrection.

The Last Supper

In Mark 14:10-31 we find out that one of them is a fake, and then we see the twelve sharing the most important meal of the Jewish year with Jesus. Notice the warning Jesus gives them.

The Fake

Who do we find is not the real deal?


What warning does Jesus give them after the meal? How did they respond?

Darkest Hour

We see them with Jesus in His darkest hour in different roles in Mark 14:32-50.

First Responsibility

How does knowing from today's passage that their first responsibility was to be with Jesus help us understand the seriousness of their response in these verses?


Thankfully, that isn't the end of the story for the twelve. Notice how God features them in Mark 16:1-20.

With You

When they could no longer be with Jesus physically, Jesus promised to always be with them in Matthew 28:18-20.

With Me Again

Consider Jesus' promise in John 14:1-6.

Coming Again

Would the disciples be with Jesus again physically after He went to heaven according to John 14:1-6?

With Jesus

What are some of the reasons you can think of that God wanted the disciples to be with Jesus? There are some reasons for Jesus' sake and lots of reasons for their sake. (Bonus: There are a few reasons for our sake, too - think about who wrote what we know about Jesus.)

Second Part

The second part of the disciples' commission was to preach. We read a little about the first time Jesus sent them out to preach without Him in Mark 6:7-13. Notice that the third part of their commission is also fulfilled in this trip.

Go and Preach

In Mark 16:15 we see the commission to preach repeated.


Jesus says more about how this will work in Acts 1:7-8.

All Through

We see the Apostles fulfilling these commissions all through the book of Acts. This video gives us a short summary of a part of that story.


Judas Iscariot was a traitor - a convincing fake who turned against Christ. This left a hole - there were only eleven of twelve left. We see Judas replaced in Acts 1:15-26.

Permanent Honor

We see that the twelve apostles will have a distinct and permanent honor in the New Jerusalem as told in Revelation 21:10-14.


How will God honor the twelve apostles eternally according to Revelation 21:10-14?

With Christ

Even though our situation is a little different than the twelve disciples Jesus chose in today's passage, we find in Galatians 2:20 that Christians today are still to be with Christ.


Colossians 3:1-4 reminds Christians that their place is still with Jesus even if they aren't yet physically with Him.


Philippians 3:20-21 explains this as a matter of citizenship.

Strangers and Pilgrims

In 1 Peter 2:11-12 we see what a Christian's status on earth is.


1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 comforts Christians that someday they will be with Christ physically - forever.

A Christian's Place

Where is "home" to a Christian?


What relationship do Christians have to earth if their home is heaven?


Think about what it would be like to be living in a country that was at war with the country of your citizenship. How would that perspective change your life? How does this illustration God gives us help us understand how Christians should live on earth?

Beautiful Feet

In Romans 10:13-17 we see more about a Christian's call to share the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ.


What does God think of those who share the glorious news of Jesus Christ according to these verses?

The Power of God

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 clarifies what this should and shouldn't look like.


How should and shouldn't a Christian share the gospel?

Working with God

This is a work Christians do with God as we see in 1 Corinthians 3:5-11.

Honorable Work

What would you think about the most important person in the world asking you to help them do their most amazing task? How should that inform a Christian's view of getting to share the gospel?

Love and Fear

Notice what Jude 1:20-25 says about witnessing.

Different Ways

What does Jude 1:20-25 teach us about witnessing? What different ways can the same gospel be shared with different people? Where do Christians get the strength and motivation to tell people about the Lord Jesus?

Bright Reward

Daniel 12:3 promises a bright reward.

Rewarded for Eternity

What does Daniel 12:3 say about the reward for those who turn others to the Lord?

Once More

Read Mark 3:13-15 once more in light of everything you've seen in your study.


What are some of the things these three verses teach us about discipleship?

Part 2

Don't forget to check out the study plan for the next four verses, "The Twelve Disciples: Part 2," which introduces us to the twelve men Jesus chose.



Have you left everything - your own efforts to get to heaven, your own plans for your life, your own views on how things are or should be - by repenting of your sin and trusting in Jesus Christ alone for salvation so you can follow Him and be His disciple?

With Jesus

If you're a disciple of Jesus how can you spend more time with Him in His Word and in prayer starting today?

Spreading the News

If you're a disciple of Jesus, how will you be faithful to His call by telling someone this week about the love and salvation He offers them? Be specific.



We hope this study plan has helped you understand the special role and calling of the twelve disciples and has challenged you to be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.


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