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Philippians 3:17 Paul’s fellow-imitators

22-03-2023 - Posted by Hans

Become imitators together of me, brethren, and be noting those who are walking thus, according as you have us for a model.

As often in his letters, Paul also calls here to imitate him (1Cor.4:16; 11:1). Such a statement can easily be misunderstood, as if Paul were declaring himself the standard of faith. That is of course not the case. In 1 Corinthians 11:1 he writes, “become imitators of me, even as I am of Christ.” That is, we would imitate Christ, as Paul imitated Christ.

How can we imitate Christ? For we are on earth while He , resurrected and glorified, is in heaven. Well, Paul is the logical link in that. For he was called and taught by Christ from heaven. Through Paul’s example and model, we imitate Christ! That is (literally!) so much higher than following in Jesus’ footsteps here on earth (cf. 1Pet.2:21). We know and partake of a living Christ (:10)!

Paul calls on his readers to become fellow imitators of him and also points out those who “are walking thus.” He refers to “ us for a model” and in any case refers to Timothy (1:1; 2:20) and undoubtedly also to Epaphroditus (2:25,29). In the walk of these men was demonstrated what had just been brought forward. One goal: to know and make known Christ Jesus!