Difference Between Disciple And Follower

Everyone believes in something – an idea, a person, or a thing. Throughout history, people have had faith in something that has kept humanity alive.

Authors and historians have used multiple words and pronouns to describe these people and communities. Two of such pronouns are Disciple and Follower.

Disciple vs Follower

The main difference between Disciple and Follower is that Disciple learns from a teacher and then moves on to spread his learning. On the other hand, a Follower merely believes in an idea. In other words, a Disciple tries to teach other people about a theory, but a Follower does not.

Disciple vs Follower

A disciple is a person who adherently believes in a teacher and his philosophical ideas. This massive faith leads a Disciple to spread his master’s ideas into society.

A Disciple tries to reach more and more people and extend his knowledge to provide a different perspective for the communities.

A Follower is a believer of an ideology, a person, or a group. A Follower follows an idea, but his belief doesn’t force him to expand his master’s learning to other people. A Follower might not want to spread the idea because he doesn’t see himself fit to do it.

Comparison Table Between Disciple And Follower

Parameters of ComparisonDiscipleFollower
DefinitionA person who learns from a teacher and then spreads his learningA person who follows an idea, person, or group
AimTo aim of a Disciple is to relieve people from their miseryA Follower aims to make his life easier by following specific ideas
EtymologyOriginated from the Latin word discere, which means “learn.”Originated from old English word folgere meaning “attendant” or “follower.”
Relation with The BibleOne of the twelve sincere followers of ChristNo significant relation to The Bible
Frequency of modern useThe word Disciple is less used than the word FollowerPeople use Follower more than Disciple

What is Disciple?

A Disciple is a person who aims at learning from his teacher and then tries to spread his knowledge. The motive of a Disciple is to extend his master’s thoughts to other people and help them live a better life.

A Disciple experiences the urge to salvage the broken lives of people by teaching and talking with them about the methods and ideas of his master.

The word Disciple originated from the Latin word discipulus, meaning “learner,” and the old French word deciple. Further etymology suggests that discipulus developed from the Latin phrase discere, meaning “learn.”

Some also say that Disciple originated from the Greek word mathetes which meant “apprentice” or “pupil.”

The word Disciple is related to the Bible and Christianity as it was used to refer to the most dedicated followers of Jesus Christ. According to the Gospels and Acts, a Disciple was one of the twelve members who worshiped Jesus Christ wholeheartedly and wanted to be like Him.

Disciples were not mere followers who liked the preaching of Christ, and they were extraordinary people who wanted to give all they had to Christ and follow Him through good and evil and hope to become like Him one day.

What is Follower?

Followers are beings that like and believe in an idea or person and try to follow them. A Follower is attracted to a particular ideology because he admires those thoughts and finds them appealing.

He aims at applying these ideas in his life to make it more suitable according to his desires.

The word “Follower” was derived from Middle English words folwer and folwere, which mean “attendant.” The roots of words folwer and folwere are related to the Old English word folgere, which means “servant” or “retainer.”

In the modern sense, the word Follower is used to describe a person who follows a specific social media account or feed. But in the more traditional sense of the word, a Follower was a person that believed in something and (literally) followed it.

Sometimes, this faith becomes enormous, and the Follower starts to believe in that idea completely. At this state, the Follower stops thinking about him and starts to spread that idea.

However, most commonly, the Follower’s belief is limited to the fact that he is doing everything for himself and doesn’t aim at providing that knowledge to other people because he doesn’t have utter faith in that idea.

Main Differences Between Disciple And Follower

  1. A disciple is a being who first learns from his master and then aims at spreading his learning. On the other hand, a Follower follows an idea, person, or group.
  2. A Disciple aims at relieving other people from their misery by enlightening them from his knowledge. On the other hand, a Follower aims at making his life easier using the ideas he learns.
  3. Disciple was derived from the Latin word discere (meaning “learn”), whereas Follower was derived from the Old English word folgere (meaning “attendant” or “retainer”).
  4. Disciple was used to refer to one of the twelve most dedicated followers of Jesus Christ. On the other hand, Follower is a general word with no special relationship with The Bible.
  5. In modern times, the word Disciple is less used than Follower.


In the modern sense, the line of difference between the words Disciple and Follower has vanished. Both of the words are interchangeably used, not to say that Follower is more used than Disciple.

This obscurity arises from the belief that being a Disciple and being a Follower is the same thing. However, in the traditional sense, both of the words hold different meanings and therefore should be used in suitable places and never in the place of another.

To summarize, a Disciple first learns and then shares his findings into society to benefit them as he feels a sense of duty. But, on the other hand, a Follower believes in the ideas that can help him and don’t urge him to spread his knowledge with other people.


  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=S8C4AwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=disciple&ots=Oj8HCKequJ&sig=Ii7x6UYQah4_tWJrAulj3sG8qPU
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749597899928327
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