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Articles

Be a Good Example

Paul wrote three letters to young preachers: two to Timothy and one to Titus. These letters form sort of a textbook about the work of preaching. One point of emphasis in them is the importance of every Christian being a good example.

Elders must be good examples. The first qualification is “above reproach” (1 Timothy 3:1; Titus 1:6). Additionally, “he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil” (1 Timothy 3:7). Elders lead by example (1 Peter 5:1-4).

Deacons must be good examples. They, too, must be above reproach (1 Timothy 3:10). Those chosen at Jerusalem were to be “men of good reputation” (Acts 6:3).

Preachers must be good examples. Paul told Titus, “In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us” (Titus 2:7-8).

Older Christians are to be good examples. “Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage [train] the young women . . .” (Titus 2:3-4a).

Younger Christians are to be examples. “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself to be an example of those who believe” (1 Timothy 4:12).

Even slaves were to be examples. “All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against” (1 Timothy 6:1). “Urge bond-slaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect” (Titus 2:9-10).

Each of us needs to reflect on what kind of example we are. Does my life demonstrate one who is fixed on God (1 Timothy 6:17) or one who is more focused on this world? Do my attitudes exhibit one who has been renewed by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5) or one still clinging to old prejudices and priorities? Does my appearance reflect godliness (1 Timothy 3:10) or worldly appeals of fashion and/or sensuality? Is my speech pure or that of “gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention” (1 Timothy 5:13)? Could someone describe me as “zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:14), “showing every consideration for all men” (Titus 3:2)?

Everyone exemplifies something. Be a good example.

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