A Biblical Theology of Discipleship: Methods (Pt. 2)

26 Mar

Modeling

Discipleship is not merely about teaching, but also about modeling what it looks like to live out the doctrines of Scripture.  What does it look like for a man to love his wife as Christ loved the church?  How about for a woman to submit to her husband?  How do you put spiritual gifts to use in the church?  What does it look like to be a good steward of my finances?  How should I relate to people who live outside of the kingdom of Christ?

These are all questions that flow out from the teaching of Scripture, and all pertain to life and ministry.  And notice the word that is repeated numerous times: look.  Modeling is showing other believers what it looks like to live in light of God’s works and ways.  Modeling reveals godly character, as well as various forms of ministering to those inside and outside the church.

The goal of modeling is imitation.  Paul, in writing to the churches, tells them to:

Join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. (Phil. 3:17)

I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.  I urge you, then, be imitators of me. (1 Cor. 4:15-16)

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. (1 Cor. 11:1)

In addition to this, Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy give thanks to God for the way in which the church of the Thessalonians became imitators of them (and of the Lord), and then became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.[1]

Modeling is a vital component of discipleship.  This will look different in personal settings than in communal, but generally speaking, it involves bringing a disciple into one’s life.  A disciple has to see how others live, lead, love and minister in order to imitate these things.


[1] 1 Thessalonians 1:4-7

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