A Method for Imitation: Learning from Paul, Peter, John, and the Writer of Hebrews
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This thesis explores how Paul, Peter, John, and the writer of Hebrews use of the imitation of Christ in their respective writings. Despite opposition from some theologians, the imitatio Christi is clearly a concern among these writers. The way in which they develop the concept provides insight into how modern developments of imitation can be ascertained. From the analysis of their use, a pattern emerged. Each author took an action of the life of Christ and focused on two areas for application for their readers: the underlying mindset or attitude (M/A) and the pattern of behavior. The action, which I label the illustrative action, is not the call for imitation but illustrates the call for imitation: the underlying M/A and pattern of behavior. The majority of the thesis applies this grid of imitation—the M/A, pattern of behavior, and illustrative action—on various passages from Paul, Peter, John, and the writer of Hebrews. Each writer, whether focused on the same or differing action, centered on the underlying M/A and pattern of behavior. Their method is instructive for modern believers. To be a disciple requires following the example of Christ. Churches must help their people understand the need and method of imitation. Therefore, through the teaching and discipleship ministry of the church, believers must be taught the way to follow Christ.