“so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.” 1 Thessalonians 1:7 (NASB)
Last time, we discussed ways to become an example for others to follow. We learned that the Greek transliteration of the word example is typos or tupos, and that it meant “a visible scar, marked by repeated strokes.”
Many of you wrote to thank me for digging into this word.
Ok, only one. One person told me they appreciated me digging so deep into this passage.
To that I say: HOLD ON!
If you thought the last post was deep, buckle up! We are digging even deeper today into the meaning of tupos!
According to The Complete Word Study Dictionary, a more focused definition of tupos from 1 Thessalonians 1:7 is a prototype or pattern1 to be followed. A prototype is an original model on which something is patterned. A type is a model of some reality that is yet to appear.
Okay, here we go! It’s about to get deep! But stay with me, this is interesting stuff!
In scripture there is a thing called typology, which is a special kind of symbolism. (A symbol is something that represents something else.) We can define a type as a “prophetic symbol” because all types are representations of something yet to come.
For instance, a type (tupos) of Christ is a person, object or institution that serves as a shadow, that points forward to the true substance. Adam was a type or figure of Christ.
Back to Thessalonica. The young believers there became examples, but of what or whom? Paul perhaps?
“PATTERN YOURSELVES after me [follow my example], as I imitate and follow Christ (the Messiah).” 1 Corinthians 11:1 AMP
Now, I am no theologian, but I think the conclusion we can draw is this: Become an example of Christ for others to imitate and follow. Be a type of Christ that points to the true substance of Him. You have Christ in you (Colossians 1:27), let Him shine through in all you do. Be an example of Jesus that points others to Him.
Recently, I made new curtains for my dining room. I used the old drapes as the pattern for my new ones. I had to carefully follow my pattern so the new curtains would fit properly.
Jesus and His ways are the pattern we follow for our lives. We must constantly look to our pattern (which we imitate) to become examples for others.
If you are thinking “No way I can be an example of Jesus! I’m not good enough!” remember this:
We are His typos, corrected not with old fashioned white out, but by the cleansing, crimson blood of Jesus. We have been washed white as snow. Sure, we’ll have a few bumps and scars along the way. Those bumps and bruises will become a testimony of the grace of Jesus in our lives.
Look to Jesus.
Follow His pattern of love, mercy, obedience and faithfulness.
Be an example and point others to Him.
Grace be with you,
1 5179 to strike, smite with repeated strokes. A type, i.e., something caused by strokes or blows.
(III) A prototype, pattern.
(B) Figuratively an example, pattern to be imitated, followed (Phil. 3:17; 1 Thess. 1:7; 2 Thess. 3:9; 1 Tim. 4:12; Titus 2:7; 1 Pet. 5:3). A type as a model of some reality which was yet to appear, a prototype of that which was yet to be developed and evolved, e.g., the ordinances and institutions in the OT were, in their inward essence, types of the NT. The first era serves as a type of the second
Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.