Although Jesus sometimes dealt with individuals, in the book of Acts, there are only two examples of individuals becoming disciples. In Acts 8, Philip leads the Ethiopian eunuch to the Lord, and in Acts 9, Saul is converted on the road to Damascus through Jesus' supernatural intervention. Other than that, all the examples given show either households or groups of people becoming believers/disciples. For example, Cornelius and his household became believers; in the city of Philippi, both Lydia and her household and the Philippine jailer and his household found the Lord.
many other cultures, the group is more important than the individual. It is
only here in the West that we have such an emphasis on the individual. This
would certainly have been so in New Testament times. The word oikos usually
translated household, implied much more than the nuclear family. It would have
included the household servants and their families as well as the extended
is the modern day equivalent of oikos? I think it is the individual plus
their sphere of influence — their friends and families, the people they work
with, the ones they interact with on a daily basis.
In our Christianized church culture, we are very satisfied when a single person commits to Jesus. Our expectation usually ends there. We do not anticipate groups of people finding Christ. We are content to fish with a rod and line rather than expecting an abundant catch.
There are a number of strategic reasons why this happens which we will examine in future posts.