Imitators Not Just of Paul But Also of Other Exemplary Believers

November 11, 2011

Together, the verb μιμέομαι (“to imitate”) and the noun μιμητής (“imitator”) occur ten times in the NT:

KJV 1Co 4:16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.

SCR 1Co 4:16 παρακαλῶ οὖν ὑμᾶς, μιμηταί μου γίνεσθε.

BGT 1Co 4:16 Παρακαλῶ οὖν ὑμᾶς, μιμηταί μου γίνεσθε.

NAU 1Co 4:16 Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me.

KJV 1Co 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

SCR 1Co 11:1  μιμηταί μου γίνεσθε, καθὼς κἀγὼ Χριστοῦ.

BGT 1Co 11:1  μιμηταί μου γίνεσθε καθὼς κἀγὼ Χριστοῦ.

NAU 1Co 11:1 Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.

KJV Eph 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

SCR Eph 5:1  Γίνεσθε οὖν μιμηταὶ τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὡς τέκνα ἀγαπητά•

BGT Eph 5:1 Γίνεσθε οὖν μιμηταὶ τοῦ θεοῦ ὡς τέκνα ἀγαπητὰ

NAU Eph 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;

KJV 1Th 1:6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:

SCR 1Th 1:6 καὶ ὑμεῖς μιμηταὶ ἡμῶν ἐγενήθητε καὶ τοῦ Κυρίου, δεξάμενοι τὸν λόγον ἐν θλίψει πολλῇ μετὰ χαρᾶς Πνεύματος Ἁγίου,

BGT 1Th 1:6 Καὶ ὑμεῖς μιμηταὶ ἡμῶν ἐγενήθητε καὶ τοῦ κυρίου, δεξάμενοι τὸν λόγον ἐν θλίψει πολλῇ μετὰ χαρᾶς πνεύματος ἁγίου,

NAU 1Th 1:6 You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit,

KJV 1Th 2:14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:

SCR 1Th 2:14 ὑμεῖς γὰρ μιμηταὶ ἐγενήθητε, ἀδελφοί, τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν τοῦ Θεοῦ τῶν οὐσῶν ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ• ὅτι ταὐτὰ ἐπάθετε καὶ ὑμεῖς ὑπὸ τῶν ἰδίων συμφυλετῶν, καθὼς καὶ αὐτοὶ ὑπὸ τῶν Ἰουδαίων,

BGT 1Th 2:14 ὑμεῖς γὰρ μιμηταὶ ἐγενήθητε, ἀδελφοί, τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν τοῦ θεοῦ τῶν οὐσῶν ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, ὅτι τὰ αὐτὰ ἐπάθετε καὶ ὑμεῖς ὑπὸ τῶν ἰδίων συμφυλετῶν καθὼς καὶ αὐτοὶ ὑπὸ τῶν Ἰουδαίων,

NAU 1Th 2:14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews,

KJV 2Th 3:7 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;

SCR 2Th 3:7 αὐτοὶ γὰρ οἴδατε πῶς δεῖ μιμεῖσθαι ἡμᾶς• ὅτι οὐκ ἠτακτήσαμεν ἐν ὑμῖν,

BGT 2Th 3:7 Αὐτοὶ γὰρ οἴδατε πῶς δεῖ μιμεῖσθαι ἡμᾶς, ὅτι οὐκ ἠτακτήσαμεν ἐν ὑμῖν

NAU 2Th 3:7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you,

KJV 2Th 3:9 Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.

SCR 2Th 3:9 οὐχ ὅτι οὐκ ἔχομεν ἐξουσίαν, ἀλλ᾽ ἵνα ἑαυτοὺς τύπον δῶμεν ὑμῖν εἰς τὸ μιμεῖσθαι ἡμᾶς.

BGT 2Th 3:9 οὐχ ὅτι οὐκ ἔχομεν ἐξουσίαν, ἀλλ᾽ ἵνα ἑαυτοὺς τύπον δῶμεν ὑμῖν εἰς τὸ μιμεῖσθαι ἡμᾶς.

NAU 2Th 3:9 not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example.

KJV Heb 6:12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

SCR Heb 6:12 ἵνα μὴ νωθροὶ γένησθε, μιμηταὶ δὲ τῶν διὰ πίστεως καὶ μακροθυμίας κληρονομούντων τὰς ἐπαγγελίας.

BGT Heb 6:12 ἵνα μὴ νωθροὶ γένησθε, μιμηταὶ δὲ τῶν διὰ πίστεως καὶ μακροθυμίας κληρονομούντων τὰς ἐπαγγελίας.

NAU Heb 6:12 so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

KJV Heb 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

SCR Heb 13:7 Μνημονεύετε τῶν ἡγουμένων ὑμῶν, οἵτινες ἐλάλησαν ὑμῖν τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ• ὧν ἀναθεωροῦντες τὴν ἔκβασιν τῆς ἀναστροφῆς, μιμεῖσθε τὴν πίστιν.

BGT Heb 13:7 Μνημονεύετε τῶν ἡγουμένων ὑμῶν, οἵτινες ἐλάλησαν ὑμῖν τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ, ὧν ἀναθεωροῦντες τὴν ἔκβασιν τῆς ἀναστροφῆς μιμεῖσθε τὴν πίστιν.

NAU Heb 13:7 Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.

KJV 3Jo 1:11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.

SCR 3Jo 1:11 ἀγαπητέ, μὴ μιμοῦ τὸ κακὸν, ἀλλὰ τὸ ἀγαθόν. ὁ ἀγαθοποιῶν ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐστιν• ὁ δὲ κακοποιῶν οὐχ ἑώρακε τὸν Θεόν.

BGT 3Jo 1:11 Ἀγαπητέ, μὴ μιμοῦ τὸ κακὸν ἀλλὰ τὸ ἀγαθόν. ὁ ἀγαθοποιῶν ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐστιν• ὁ κακοποιῶν οὐχ ἑώρακεν τὸν θεόν.

NAU 3Jo 1:11 Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.

These references show that Paul is the only person whom the Holy Spirit inspired to write statements that directly command other believers to be imitators of the same person (Paul) who wrote those commands to them (1 Cor. 4:16; 11:1).

Nevertheless, the writer of Hebrews and the apostle John also do command believers to be imitators of other believers (explicit [“whose faith follow”] – Heb. 13:7; implicit [“follow . . . that which is good”] – 3 John 1:11).* Because these statements are not directives commanding believers to imitate just Paul, we should conclude that we are to be imitators not just of Paul but also of other exemplary believers.

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*Although Hebrews 6:12 is not a command to believers, the purpose subjunctive (“that ye be . . . followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises”) also instructs believers to be imitators not just of Paul but also of other exemplary believers.

Rajesh

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