There are really only two sets of verses that use the verb “to make disciples.” The first is one we are all familiar with:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19,20
In this set of verses, the verb mathēteusate, meaning “disciple” or “make disciples” is used. The making of disciples is by means of going, baptizing, and “teaching them to observe/obey all that Jesus commanded.”
Let’s look at the second set.
“When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:21,22
In this second set of verses, the verb mathēteusantes, meaning “having made disciples,” is used. It is simply the past tense version of the verb from Matthew 28:19,20 Here though, the means by which disciples were made, was the preaching of the gospel.
It would appear as if there are two ways to make a disciple. The first is by going, baptizing, and teaching. The second, by evangelizing or preaching the gospel.
So, which is it?
Do we Make Disciples to Evangelize or do we Evangelize to Make Disciples?