Q: #497. What are some Bible verses that say a Christian's life should be an example to others?
A: The Bible (New Testament), has a lot to say on the subject of Christian’s “living” their lives in a such a way that they will be an example to others. I cover this “in depth” in a previous study called “Are You A Stumbling Block?,” therefore, I will not go too deeply into this here (I urge you to read that study). However, in that study, I do not list the MANY verses in the New Testament which specifically tell as Christians to be an example to others, and that our lives should be worthy of being “imitated.” We will do that here.
As I have said before on this site, the primary goal of all Christians should be to become more and more like Jesus (Eph 4:13,15)(Phil 3:12-14)(2 Cor 3:17-18)(Rom 8:29). Obviously, this means that He is the #1. example to follow, and the primary person to imitate. Here are some verses which tell us to do this.
(Mt 16:24) Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me (Also see: Mk 8:34, Lk 9:23)
(Jn 13:15) For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
(Mt 11:29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
(1 Pet 2:21) For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
(1 Jn 2:6) He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
(1 Cor 11:1)(NASB) Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.
Carrying on with the last verse, as we (Christians) live lives of becoming more and more like Jesus, we should be setting an example that others can follow and imitate. Paul encourages people in several places to follow and imitate his personal example.
(1 Cor 4:16)(NASB) Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me.
(Phil 3:17)(NASB) Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.
(Phil 4:9)(NASB) The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
(Gal 4:12) Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all.
(2 Th 3:7-9)(NASB) For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, (8) nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; (9) not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example.
(Also see: 1 Th 1:6-7, 1 Cor 7:7, 1 Pet 1:15-16)
Peter tells us that “elders” should be an example:
(1 Pet 5:1-3)(NASB) Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, (2) shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; (3) nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.
And, Paul tells us that “youth” should be an example:
(Titus 2:6-8)(NASB) Young men should be an example: Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; (7) in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, (8) sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.
(1 Tim 4:12)(NASB) Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.
Finally, Jesus gives us these great verses which tell us that Christians should be a “light” to others.
(Mt 5:14-16) Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. (15) Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. (16) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Here are a few other verses on this subject: (Heb 6:12)(Heb 13:7)(Eph 5:1)(1 Th 2:14).
May we heed these verses, and realize that as we become more and more like Jesus, our lives should be an example to others of what a Christian truly is, and that we can feel comfortable with having others “imitate” our life and faith.