Imitate God & Godly Leaders

“Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”

1 Corinthians 11:1

In studying leadership in scripture you have to confront this troublesome little word ‘imitate’.

Mimētḗs (Strongs 3402)

the root of the English term, mimic, “one who imitates, emulates” – properly, the positive imitation that arises by admiring the pattern set by someone worthy of emulation, i.e. a mentor setting a proper example. 3402 /mimētḗs (“emulator, imitator”) is always used positively in the NT (seven times) – of followers of Christ emulating a God-approved example. The supreme model is God Himself (see Eph 5:1)

I was surprised by the 5 uses elsewhere of mimētḗs, three of them clearly imitating a leader and 1 Thess 1:6 even differentiates imitation of God with imitation of leaders … I always thought it meant we are to imitate Paul in the same way he imitated Christ … perhaps that is what I wanted it to read like … but all these verses are quite clear … imitate Godly leaders – mimic their pattern of life. Personally, I would prefer not having the burden of others imitating me but the scripture says what it says! It even shows the corporate mimicking of one city church with other good (better) examples of city churches …

 “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”  1 Cor 11:1 Imitate a leader.
 “For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.  Therefore I urge you, imitate me.” 1 Cor 4:15-16 Imitate a leader.
 “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.” Eph 5:1 Imitate God.
 “You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.” 1Thess 1:6 Imitate God. Imitate a leader.
 “For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thess 2:14 Corporate imitation of a church in a city of other churches in a region.

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