Monday, April 2, 2007


Greek Word Pronunciation: mim-ay-TACE
Strong’s Number: 3402
Goodrich/Kohlenberger Number: 3629
Key Verse: “Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children …” -- Ephesians 5:1

Originally, mimetace suggested an attempt to ape someone else’s behavior. (Our English word “mimic” is a transliteration of this word.) In the Septuagint, the word is found only in the Apocrypha, and, on the whole, the idea of imitation is foreign to the Old Testament, with there being no thought that we must imitate God. Secular usage was sometimes in a negative sense, for weak or unoriginal copying.

In the New Testament, mimetace is used only in a powerful, positive sense, with an ethical concept. It is a call to reproduce in our own life those godly qualities that result from salvation and that we see in others. The verb form, mimeyomai, and the noun form preceded by the verb “be,” are used in exhortations and commands, and are in the present tense, suggesting a continuous practice or habit. The noun and verb forms appear a total of 10 times in the New Testament.

The King James Version almost always translates the word as follower, but imitator is a stronger translation. The NIV and NASB use imitator more often. We are to imitate (1) Paul's teachings, just as he imitates Christ [1 Corinthians 4:16, 11:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:7, 9; Ephesians 5:1]; (2) Paul by welcoming the Word of God in the midst of opposition [1 Thessalonians 1:6]; (3) other churches [1 Thessalonians 2:14], as the Thessalonian church imitated the churches at Judea who remained faithful through suffering; (4) faith of other believers [Hebrews 6:12 and 13:7]; and (5) what is good [3 John 11]. In Philippians 3:17, there is a compound use of this word, found nowhere else in Greek literature: “Brethren, join in following my example …,” literally “be ye fellow imitators.”

Mimetace teaches that what we become at conversion, we must diligently continue to be thereafter. It is a quality we are to develop as a matter of obedience.

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