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Twelve Ordinary Men
By John MacArthur
Small Group Study Guide
Lesson 1
Common Men, Uncommon Calling
1. “When Jesus chose the twelve to be His official representatives-preachers of
the gospel who would carry both His message and authority,” He did not choose
any religious leaders. Instead He chooses common men. Do you think Jesus still
calls ordinary men to be part of His official representatives? Why?
2. “Many Christians become discouraged and disheartened when their spiritual
life and witness suffer because of sin or failure.” Can you think of a time when
you felt discouraged in your Christian walk? What happened?
3. Jesus spent the whole night in prayer before a major decision about His
disciples. Can you recall a time when you really prayed for God’s guidance about
a situation? What was the result?
4. John MacArthur points out 5 areas of difficulties that the apostles had in their
_____They lacked spiritual understanding
_____They lacked humility
_____They lacked faith
_____They lacked commitment
_____They lacked power
Rate yourself in each of the areas above on a scale from 1-5, 5 being the
hardest. Which area seems to be the hardest area for you? What can you do
about it?
Reflection Question
If God can use fisherman and tax collectors to change the world, can he use
you? What stands in His way?
Lesson 2
1. Jesus changes Simon’s name to Peter or Rock. It appears that this may be a
nickname, a name that Jesus wishes that Peter would be more like or should be
more like. If Jesus had a nickname for you, what do you think it would be? (Ask
your wife or friend for a hint) Why would He choose this name for you?
2. Leadership: Men are leaders! God made us leaders of our homes, our families
and spiritual leaders of both family and church. The author points out three
natural leadership characteristics in Peter. Rank yourself in strongest to weakest.
What can you do to make your weakness your strength?
3. What difficult circumstances have helped shape your faith?
4. Jesus taught Peter submission, restraint and humility. Who do you submit to?
How do you show restraint? What about your pride?
Reflection Question
Peter was transformed through submission, restraint, and humility. Which one
will you let transform you today?
Lesson 3
1. Andrew’s first act after seeing the Messiah was to go find his brother. It seems
his excitement helped persuade Peter to go also. Do you have family and friends
that need Christ? How is your excitement level?
2. Andrew is said to be “interested in the individual.” Does this style of
evangelism suit you? Why or why not?
Why does it seem to be effective?
3. Andrew saw the value of insignificant gifts. Can you remember a time when
God used a small “insignificant gift” to bless you? (So little to accomplish so
4. The book states that Andrew had a servant’s heart. Do you know somebody
who labors inconspicuously in the background? What part of that service can we
Reflection Question
Jesus was training the disciples for leadership roles. In the end, they all held
important roles in the early church. For what leadership role is Jesus training
Lesson 4
1. James is said to be the disciple of Passion or Zeal. This “son of thunder”
nickname seems to fit his personality well. What areas of your life are you
passionate about?
2. John MacArthur spends some time retelling the story of the Samaritan culture.
Who in today’s world do you think is most like the Samaritans? Do you see
them as outcasts?
3. Jesus asked James and John if they were ready to drink from the same cup as
Him. To what “cup” was Jesus referring? Have you ever suffered for your faith?
4. James was first to die for his faith. Would you be willing to die for your faith?
How do you know?
Reflection Question
“James is the prototype of the passionate, zealous, frontrunner who is dynamic
strong and ambitious.” How can you be more passionate today?
Lesson 5
1. John MacArthur states that John “learned love” from Jesus and that love is a
learned behavior. Who have you learned love from? Who is a good example of
love in our society?
2. John is also the apostle of truth. Does it seem strange that truth and love can
be embodied in the same apostle? Why?
3. John was imbalanced. He could not balance truth and his love for God. Do you
ever find yourself in this situation? Know the truth and uphold it in love.
4. “Suffering is the price for glory.” “Suffering is the prelude to glory.” “Our
suffering is the assurance of glory.” All these are statements from the book. John
suffered as an older man not martyred like the other disciples. This was a
different kind of suffering. Have you considered what type of suffering the Lord is
asking you to go through?
Reflection Question
John 1:14 “Jesus was full of grace and truth.” As His disciples we also must be
full of grace and truth “in balance.” How will you do that today?