Learning and Teaching by Example — Bad and Good
The priests Hophni and Phinehas taught by bad example and corrupted those who sought to serve the LORD at the tent of meeting as well as those who came to worship; therefore, God made an example of them for people not to follow. Perhaps you can think of some other examples in the Bible of people not to follow, or examples from others you know about who left a poor example. Speaking of the disobedient, the Book of Hebrews warns, “Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:11). And Peter also warned, “If he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly . . . then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment” (2 Peter 2:6).
From looking at the Bible’s use of the word “example” in the New International Version, we get some great advice when looking at people and being a people who leave good examples. Consider some of these verses:
John 13:15 — Jesus said, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”
1 Corinthians 11:1 — Paul wrote, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
Ephesians 5:1 — Paul wrote, “Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children.”
Philippians 3:17 — Paul wrote about the apostles and his missionary companions, “Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.”
1 Timothy 1:16 — Paul wrote about his previously being a bad example, “But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.”
1 Timothy 4:12 —Paul wrote what to do if we are young Christians, “Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”
Titus 2:7-8 — Paul wrote what to do if we are Christian teachers, “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.”
1 Peter 2:21 — Peter also wrote about Christ as our example, “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”