Boyd’s Bible Dictionary:

Concise Bible Dictionary:

This word signifies strictly “a learner” or “pupil.” The Pharisees had such, whom they taught to fast (Matt. 22:1616And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. (Matthew 22:16); Mark 2:1818And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not? (Mark 2:18)). John the Baptist had disciples, who likewise fasted (Matt. 9:1414Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? (Matthew 9:14); Luke 5:3333And they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink? (Luke 5:33); John 3:2525Then there arose a question between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purifying. (John 3:25)). The Lord Jesus had His disciples: the apostles whom He chose to be with Him are called His “twelve disciples” (Matt. 11:11And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. (Matthew 11:1)); but in other places the term is applied to all who followed the Lord, many of whom “went back and walked no more with him” (John 6:60-6660Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? 61When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? 62What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 63It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 64But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. 65And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. 66From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. (John 6:60‑66)). When great multitudes followed the Lord, He turned to them and bade them count the cost of really following Him. Such an one must hate (in comparison with Christ) all his natural relations and his own life also. He must take up his cross and follow Christ, and he must forsake all that he had, or he could not be His disciple (Luke 14:26-3326If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 31Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26‑33)). On another occasion Jesus said to the Jews that believed on Him, “If ye abide in my word, ye are truly my disciples” (John 8:3131Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; (John 8:31)). It was true association in heart with a rejected Christ (Matt. 10:24-2524The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. 25It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? (Matthew 10:24‑25); John 15:88Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. (John 15:8)).

From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

There were several places within the Temple area where doctors of the law met their disciples. One of these places was in the cloisters described in the note on Matthew 24:11And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple. (Matthew 24:1) (#704). Another was in the synagogue which was in the Temple enclosure. After service the doctors admitted any who wished to converse with them on matters pertaining to the law. There were also other places resorted to for a similar purpose; and Lightfoot declares that it was not impossible for Jesus to have been in the great Sanhedrim itself.
There is no reason to suppose that in the conversation which Jesus held with these learned men there was anything like controversy. He simply followed the custom of the time, which allowed anyone who chose to question the doctors on any points on which they desired information.

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