Haver is a word we Cadre missionaries love to use. It helps us understand how God designed us to live as disciples together. Here’s some background on where “haver” comes from.
Haver (ha· ver) is a Hebrew word that means friend; comrade; companion. It’s the practice of grappling in twos or threes over Scripture and talking about how to live it out together. In the First Century, both men and women wrestled together in disciplemaking friendships. The female version of the word is haverah.
A havruta, or what we call a disciplemaking learning community, supports these friendships. This was the standard learning style for teaching 12-17-year-old students in villages like Capernaum, where Jesus lived after Nazareth. Adults in the community were welcomed to join students in the bet midrash, or house of learning, whenever their jobs or life allowed them the freedom.
Get yourself a haver
Finally, the plural is haverim (ha· ver· im): learning as friends, together. It’s a learning method where teachers pass on faith instruction to groups of 2-5 students. Together, they wrestle the content as friends for both understanding and application in life, together.
The ideal way to support a disciplemaking lifestyle is through friendships (haver) linked in a disciplemaking learning community.
Lois Tverberg describes it well in Sitting At The Feet of Rabbi Jesus: “Pairs or small groups grapple together aloud over a text, earnest in their desire to dig deeper. This tradition is ancient – a rabbinic comment was made before Jesus’ time that you should ‘get yourself a haver,’ a study partner.” (Tverberg’s books and blog are a great source for understanding the cultural context of Jesus’ life and teaching.)
Want to further explore the concept of haver? Grab a friend and wrestle these passages together: