As we study 1st Thessalonians I’d like to introduce you to some Bible study methods I’ve found helpful in my own study. One would be noticing what I call “insight words.”
In reading 1st Thessalonians chapter 1 I noticed two words that focus on the same thing, “imitators” and “model.” Verse 6 says, “You became imitators or followers of us and of the Lord.” Verse 7 says, “You became a model or example to all believers.”
Notice how Paul referred to himself and his teammates in verse 5: “You know how we lived among you for your sake.” You could put it this way: Jesus is the great example, having lived His life entirely to please His heavenly Father. He had followers, some of which became imitators of Him and thus examples for others to follow. Over time some of those followers would become models or examples for others to follow.
Since we now only have written records of how Jesus lived among men it’s helpful to have mature followers of Jesus model for us how to live Christ-like. 1st John 2:6 says, “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” 1st Peter 2:21 says Christ left you “an example, that you should follow in his steps.”
A church’s strength is seen in the number of believers who walk as Christ walked, following exemplary leaders and maturing themselves so they become models for others to follow.