Bible Study Lessons

The Cost of Discipleship


It was a moment of decision. Would John Huss, the popular Bohemian preacher, stand with Christ in the face of death? As the council questioned him, he stood firm. When they sentenced him, he didn’t flinch. But when their mocking persecutions began, he couldn’t help replying with the thoughts on his mind. Huss’s persecutors put a scornful crown on his head. When Huss saw it, he said, “My Lord Jesus Christ, for my sake, did wear a crown of thorns; why should not I then, for His sake, again wear this light crown...? Truly I will do it, and that willingly.” When they chained him to the stake before lighting the fire around him which would claim his life he said, “My Lord Jesus Christ was bound with a harder chain than this for my sake, and why then should I be ashamed of this rusty one?” What could inspire a man still in middle-age to cheerfully suffer and die for the sake of the gospel? Study Mark 8:31-38 to answer this question, see how Christ suffered, and how he calls us to suffer for His sake so that we can follow Him and enter into His glory.



Ask the Lord to give you understanding as you study His Word and to increase your love and dedication to the Lord Jesus through it.

Read Focus Verses

Read Mark 8:31-38 and notice what theme stands out to you.


What theme stands out to you as you read these verses?

Keywords - Gain and Lose

Marking the words gain and lose (and related words if you'd like) will help you see this as part of the theme of these verses.

Gain and Lose

Gain and Lose

Mark the words gain and lose in Mark 8:31-38.

Keywords - Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ continues to be the main character of the Gospel of Mark. Marking His Names and the references to Him (like He and His) helps you follow Him through the book.

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Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ

Mark the names of and references to Jesus Christ in Mark 8:31-38.


The verses right before today's passage give context for today's verses. Read Mark 8:27-30 to find out where Jesus and His disciples are and what they've just been saying.


Where are they?

Just Said

In your own words, what have they just been discussing?

Just So You Know…

What does Jesus tell the disciples in the first verse of today's passage?

Peter's Response

What was Peter's response?


How did Jesus rebuke Peter in verse 33?


What did Jesus do in verse 34 before He continued teaching?

If You Will Follow Me

In verse 34, what does Jesus say those who want to follow Him must do?

Loss and Gain

What does Jesus say in verse 35?

For Whose Sake?

For whose sake are Christ's followers to be willing to lose their lives if they want to save them?

The Value

What does Jesus emphasize as most important about a person in verses 36-37?


What warning does Jesus give to those who are tempted to be ashamed of Him?

Coming in Glory

According to the end of verse 38, how will Jesus come when He returns?


A Second Time

Today's passage is the first of three times recorded in the Gospel of Mark that Jesus tells the disciples what was going to happen to Him at the end of His earthly life. The second is found in Mark 9:31-32.

A Third Time

The third of these explanations is in Mark 10:33-34.

What Does He Say?

What did Jesus say was going to happen to Him?


It wasn't until after Jesus had risen again that the disciples understood what Jesus said in today's passage as we see in Luke 24:1-8.

Crucify Him

Mark 15:12-27 tells us what kind of death Jesus died.

On a Cross

How did Jesus die?

Why the Cross?

Jesus died on a cross. In today's passage He tells Christians to take up their cross. Why a cross? What does it mean? This article gives some more insight into this reality that is now a symbol for so much.

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The Connection

Hebrews 12:1-4 makes sure we don't miss the connection between Jesus' action and the action He tells us to take to be His followers.


What does Hebrews say motivated Jesus to take up His cross?


In what ways does Hebrews 12:1-4 urge us to look to Jesus' example to help us as we take up our cross?

Crucified with Christ

Galatians 2:20 helps us understand part of what it means to take up our cross and follow Christ.

Crucify the Flesh

Galatians 5:24 shows how it impacts a Christian's relationship to the old, sinful nature inside of them.

Already and Continuing

Romans 6:6-13 adds to our understanding.

Take up Your Cross

According to these verses, what does it mean for a Christian to take up their cross and follow Jesus?

From God

Just a few verses ago, Peter made a faith-filled confession of who Jesus is, which Jesus praised as coming from God. Read Mark's account of it in Mark 8:27-29.

Like Satan

Then, in today's passage, who does Jesus say Peter was being like in what he said to Jesus in verse 32-33?


The Jews only highlighted the passages about Christ's glorious healings and second coming while ignoring the passages about His suffering and death. Even in Luke 24:19-27 after Jesus' resurrection the disciples didn't understand God's plan despite everything Jesus had told them about it.

God's Way

How can this help you think properly about God's promises when He isn't keeping them in a way that makes sense to you?

Suffering with Him

2 Timothy 2:11-13 talks about suffering like Christ.

The Fellowship of His Suffering

Notice what Philippians 3:8-14 says about it.

Able to Help Us

Hebrews 2:18 tells us how His sufferings help us in ours.

Suffering: Part of Life

Just like Peter didn't think Jesus should have to suffer, many people today say that Christians shouldn't have any trouble and pain in their lives. How can you use today's passage and the other verses you've looked at to answer this false idea?

The General

How do these verses show us that Jesus isn't like the boss in the padded office who won't do anything he expects of his people, but more like the general who goes first leading his forces into battle?

Faith to Fear

How can Peter's statement of unbelief and fear right after one of faith and confidence in God help us remember to stay on our guard against sinful thoughts even when we've been doing well?


In John 15:18-21 Jesus explains why Christians face suffering for His sake and the gospel's in this life.

Because They Hate Christ

Why do Christians face persecution and hatred - in big or small ways - in this life?

Treasure in Heaven

In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus gives us very practical advice for how to stay focused on eternal life instead of temporal, earthly life.

What Does God Think?

A few chapters later in Matthew 10:24-33 Jesus tells us more about how to have an eternal perspective that allows us to think rightly about persecution for His sake.


How do these passages challenge our perspective and help us think rightly about the relative value of temporal earthly life vs. eternal spiritual life? How does this help us think rightly about persecution and trouble for Christ's sake?

Jim Elliot

Jim Elliot was a good example of this kind of thinking. He died bringing the gospel to the Aucas which inspired thousands to bring the gospel to others around the world. He famously wrote: "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." His daughter, Valerie, shares her perspective on his life and death in this short video.

The Value of a Soul

The first verse of the beautiful hymn, "O Teach Me What It Meaneth," reflects on the question Jesus asks in today's passage - What is more valuable that your soul? O teach me what it meaneth, That cross uplifted high, With One, the Man of Sorrows, Condemned to bleed and die! O teach me what it cost Thee To make a sinner whole; And teach me, Savior, teach me The value of a soul!

To Save a Soul

Thinking about the value of a soul and what Jesus Christ gave - His own life - to save yours, how much is it worth to tell someone else about the gospel which can save their soul?

A Warning and a Promise

In today's passage Jesus warns those who are tempted to deny Him to avoid persecution. In Revelation 3:5 He makes a promise to those who confess Him even in trial.

The Promise

What promise does Jesus make to those who overcome?


Today's passage doesn't end with suffering. Notice what Philippians 2:5-11 says.

His Saints

The coming glory isn't just for Christ, but for His people with Him as we see in Jude 1:14-15.

Suffering Then Glory

2 Thessalonians 1:3-10 specifically relates suffering for Christ's sake and coming with Him in glory.

No More Suffering

In Revelation 21:4-5 Jesus promises that there will be no more suffering in eternity.


What comes after suffering for Christ's sake according to these verses?

Not Worthy to Compare

That's what Paul was taking about in Romans 8:18.

Thinking About It

How can this perspective and God's promises help us overcome when we suffer for Christ's sake?

Once More

Read Mark 8:31-38 once more now that you have studied it.

In Your Own Words

In your own words, what does today's passage say?

Taking Action

What action do you think you are supposed to take based on Jesus' words?


For Me, For You

Have you ever stopped to think what Jesus went through to save you? How would that help you think properly about suffering for His sake?

Saving a Soul

Is there someone you've been afraid to tell about salvation through Jesus Christ because you don't know what they'll say or do? How does reflecting on the value of a soul and what Christ did for yours change your perspective on the situation? What will you do about it?

Verses for Overcomers

Choose 3-5 verses or passages that you read today as verses you'll turn to when you go through difficulties because you're a Christian so that you can encourage yourself to keep going and not be ashamed of Jesus.



We hope this Bible study has helped you understand Christ's example and call, and has challenged you to follow Him no matter the cost.


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  1. Suzy Mawuli Ayittah

    Hi . Henry please I glad about the study but am finding it difficult to do the IBS myself how

  2. Suzy Mawuli Ayittah

    Thanks alot for this studies it has help alot God bless you .l hope to get more

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