28 October 2014
Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1
Although this first verse of chapter 11 sums up the thoughts of chapter 10 in a succinct way, it is appropriate that it begins chapter 11. It is a good transition to the points that are ahead as much as it is a summary of the points which have already been made. As noted in the previous evaluation, there is nothing wrong with Paul asking others to imitate him. This is especially so because he follows up the thought immediately with “just as I also imitate Christ.”
Paul’s example is Christ. As this is so, then those who have learned from Paul can rightly use his example as one to emulate. He is an example within the church of Christ who is over the church. He isn’t asking for eyes to be on him, but rather he is noting that his actions are in line with the expectations of Christ. And throughout his writings, it is Christ whom Paul both explains and exalts. In Philippians 2, he writes these words about Christ to the church –
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11
He is the Head of the church and the fulfillment of Scripture. And though He is the first example to the church, Paul is an example within the church. In other words, Paul’s ministry included outreach to those outside the church for evangelism and those inside the church for doctrine and edification.
Life application: Until the epistles were written, there was only verbal instruction and emulation of the conduct of the apostles and other disciples for believers to follow. Now, with the Bible complete, we have what we need to understand both in the example of Christ and how to be obedient to it. Further, we have the conduct of the apostles recorded – when they were in line with the truth, when they failed and were rebuked for it, etc. If we study the Bible, we will be able to develop a proper understanding of how to conduct our own affairs in the presence of our glorious Lord.
I am so grateful to You for Your word, O God. I don’t need to trust the nutty ideas of people, I don’t need to follow the newest fad or fashion in order to be accepted, and I don’t have to worry if I am right with You or not. Because of the Bible, I have all the information I need to have a right relationship with You and to know what is and what isn’t acceptable. I pray that those around me will come to read, study, and cherish Your word, just as You would have them to do. The world would be a whole heap more wonderful if this would happen! Amen.