Philippians 3:17
Brothers, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as you have us for an ensample.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17-21) In these verses St. Paul turns from the party of Pharisaic perfection to the opposite party of Antinomian profligacy, claiming, no doubt, to walk in the way of Christian liberty which he preached. The co-existence of these two parties was, it may be remarked, a feature of the Gnosticism already beginning to show itself in the Church. He deals with this perversion of liberty into licentiousness in exactly the same spirit as in Romans 6, but with greater brevity; with less of argument and more of grave condemnation. It stands, indeed, he says, self-condemned, by the very fact of our present citizenship in heaven, and our growth towards the future perfection of likeness to Christ in glory.

(17) Followers together of me.—The word is peculiar. It signifies unite in following me. In accordance with the genius of the whole Epistle, St. Paul offers his example as a help not only to rectitude but to unity. For the simple phrase “followers of me,” see 1Corinthians 4:16; 1Corinthians 11:1; 1Thessalonians 1:6; 2Thessalonians 3:9. In 1Corinthians 11:1, a passage dealing with the right restraints of Christian liberty, we have the ground on which the exhortation is based, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” In that consciousness, knowing the peculiar power of example, both for teaching and for encouragement, St. Paul will not allow even humility to prevent his bringing it to bear upon them. Yet even then we note how gladly he escapes from “followers of me” to the “having us for an example.”

Philippians

WARNINGS AND HOPES

Php 3:17-21 {R.V.}.

There is a remarkable contrast in tone between the sad warnings which begin this section and the glowing hopes with which it closes, and that contrast is made the more striking when we notice that the Apostle binds the gloom of the one and the radiance of the other by ‘For,’ which makes the latter the cause of the former.

The exhortation in which the Apostle begins by proposing himself as an example sounds strange on any lips, and, most of all, on his, but we have to note that the points in which he sets himself up as a pattern are obviously those on which he touched in the preceding outpouring of his heart, and which he has already commended to the Philippians in pleading with them to be ‘thus minded.’ What he desires them to copy is his self-distrust, his willingness to sacrifice all things to win Christ, his clear sense of his own shortcomings, and his eager straining towards as yet unreached perfection. His humility is not disproved by such words, but what is remarkable in them is the clear consciousness of the main direction and set of his life. We may well hesitate to take them for ours, but every Christian man and woman ought to be able to say this much. If we cannot in some degree declare that we are so walking, we have need to look to our foundations. Such words are really in sharp contrast to those in which Jesus is held forth as an example. Notice, too, how quickly he passes to associate others with him, and to merge the ‘Me’ into ‘Us.’ We need not ask who his companions were, since Timothy is associated with him at the beginning of the letter.

The exhortation is enforced by pointing to others who had gone far astray, and of whom he had warned the Philippians often, possibly by letter. Who these unworthy disciples were remains obscure. They were clearly not the Judaisers branded in verse 2, who were teachers seeking to draw away the Philippians, while these others seem to have been ‘enemies of the Cross of Christ,’ not by open hostility nor by theoretical errors, but by practical worldliness, and that in these ways; they make sense their God, they are proud of what is really their disgrace, namely, they are shaking off the restraints of morality; and, most black though it may seem least so, they ‘mind earthly things’ on which thought, feeling, and interest are concentrated. Let us lay to heart the lesson that such direction of the current of a life to the things of earth makes men ‘enemies of the Cross of Christ,’ whatever their professions, and will surely make their end perdition, whatever their apparent prosperity. Paul’s life seemed loss and was gain; these men’s lives seemed gain and was loss.

From this dark picture charged with gloom, and in one corner showing white waves breaking far out against an inky sky, and a vessel with torn sails driving on the rocks, the Apostle turns with relief to the brighter words in which he sets forth the true affinities and hopes of a Christian. They all stand or fall with the belief in the Resurrection of Christ and His present life in His glorified corporeal manhood.

I. Our true metropolis.

The Revised Version puts in the margin as an alternative rendering for ‘citizenship’ commonwealth, and there appears to be a renewed allusion here to the fact already noted that Philippi was a ‘colony,’ and that its inhabitants were Roman citizens. Paul uses a very emphatic word for ‘is’ here which it is difficult to reproduce in English, but which suggests essential reality.

The reason why that heavenly citizenship is ours in no mere play of the imagination but in most solid substance, is because He is there for whom we look. Where Christ is, is our Mother-country, our Fatherland, according to His own promise, ‘I go to prepare a place for you.’ His being there draws our thoughts and sets our affections on Heaven.

II. The colonists looking for the King.

The Emperors sometimes made a tour of the provinces. Paul here thinks of Christians as waiting for their Emperor to come across the seas to this outlying corner of His dominions. The whole grand name is given here, all the royal titles to express solemnity and dignity, and the character in which we look for Him is that of Saviour. We still need salvation, and though in one sense it is past, in another it will not be ours until He comes the second time without sin unto salvation. The eagerness of the waiting which should characterise the expectant citizens is wonderfully described by the Apostle’s expression for it, which literally means to look away out--with emphasis on both prepositions--like a sentry on the walls of a besieged city whose eyes are ever fixed on the pass amongst the hills through which the relieving forces are to come.

It may be said that Paul is here expressing an expectation which was disappointed. No doubt the early Church looked for the speedy return of our Lord and were mistaken. We are distinctly told that in that point there was no revelation of the future, and no doubt they, like the prophets of old, ‘searched what manner of time the spirit of Christ which was in them did signify.’ In this very letter Paul speaks of death as very probable for himself, so that he had precisely the same double attitude which has been the Church’s ever since, in that he looked for Christ’s coming as possible in his own time, and yet anticipated the other alternative. It is difficult, no doubt, to cherish the vivid anticipation of any future event, and not to have any certainty as to its date. But if we are sure that a given event will come sometime and do not know when it may come, surely the wise man is he who thinks to himself it may come any time, and not he who treats it as if it would come at no time. The two possible alternatives which Paul had before him have in common the same certainty as to the fact and uncertainty as to the date, and Paul had them both before his mind with the same vivid anticipation.

The practical effect of this hope of the returning Lord on our ‘walk’ will be all to bring it nearer Paul’s. It will not suffer us to make sense our God, nor to fix our affections on things above; it will stimulate all energies in pressing towards the goal, and will turn away our eyes from the trivialities and transiencies that press upon us, away out toward the distance where ‘far off His coming shone.’

III. The Christian sharing in Christ’s glory.

The same precise distinction between ‘fashion’ and ‘form,’ which we have had occasion to notice in Chapter II., recurs here. The ‘fashion’ of the body of our humiliation is external and transient; the ‘form’ of the body of His glory to which we are to be assimilated consists of essential characteristics or properties, and may be regarded as being almost synonymous with ‘Nature.’ Observing the distinction which the Apostle draws by the use of these two words, and remembering their force in the former instance of their occurrence, we shall not fail to give force to the representation that in the Resurrection the fleeting fashion of the bodily frame will be altered, and the glorified bodies of the saints made participant of the essential qualities of His.

We further note that there is no trace of false asceticism or of gnostic contempt for the body in its designation as ‘of our humiliation.’ Its weaknesses, its limitations, its necessities, its corruption and its death, sufficiently manifest our lowliness, while, on the other hand, the body in which Christ’s glory is manifested, and which is the instrument for His glory, is presented in fullest contrast to it.

The great truth of Christ’s continual glorified manhood is the first which we draw from these words. The story of our Lord’s Resurrection suggests indeed that He brought the same body from the tomb as loving hands had laid there. The invitation to Thomas to thrust his hands into the prints of the nails, the similar invitation to the assembled disciples, and His partaking of food in their presence, seemed to forbid the idea of His rising changed. Nor can we suppose that the body of His glory would be congruous with His presence on earth. But we have to think of His ascension as gradual, and of Himself as ‘changed by still degrees’ as He ascended, and so as returned to where the ‘glory which He had with the Father before the world was,’ as the Shechinah cloud received Him out of the sight of the gazers below. If this be the true reading of His last moments on earth, He united in His own experience both the ways of leaving it which His followers experience--the way of sleep which is death, and the way of ‘being changed.’

But at whatever point the change came, He now wears, and for ever will wear, the body of a man. That is the dominant fact on which is built the Christian belief in a future life, and which gives to that belief all its solidity and force, and separates it from vague dreams of immortality which are but a wish tremblingly turned into a hope, or a dread shudderingly turned into an expectation. The man Christ Jesus is the pattern and realised ideal of human life on earth, the revelation of the divine life through a human life, and in His glorified humanity is no less the pattern and realised ideal of what human nature may become. The present state of the departed is incomplete in that they have not a body by which they can act on, and be acted on by, an external universe. We cannot indeed suppose them lapped in age-long unconsciousness, and it may be that the ‘dead in Christ’ are through Him brought into some knowledge of externals, but for the full-summed perfection of their being, the souls under the altar have to wait for the resurrection of the body. If resurrection is needful for completion of manhood, then completed manhood must necessarily be set in a locality, and the glorified manhood of Jesus must also now be in a place. To think thus of it and of Him is not to vulgarise the Christian conception of Heaven, but to give it a definiteness and force which it sorely lacks in popular thinking. Nor is the continual manhood of our Lord less precious in its influence in helping our familiar approach to Him. It tells us that He is still and for ever the same as when on earth, glad to welcome all who came and to help and heal all who need Him. It is one of ourselves who ‘sitteth at the right hand of God.’ His manhood brings Him memories which bind Him to us sorrowing and struggling, and His glory clothes Him with power to meet all our needs, to stanch all our wounds, to satisfy all our desires.

Our text leads us to think of the wondrous transformation into Christ’s likeness. We know not what are the differences between the body of our humiliation and the body of His glory, but we must not be led away by the word Resurrection to fall into the mistake of supposing that in death we ‘sow that body which shall be.’ Paul’s great chapter in I. Corinthians should have destroyed that error for ever, and it is a singular instance of the persistency of the most unsupported mistakes that there are still thousands of people who in spite of all that they know of what befalls our mortal bodies, and of how their parts pass into other forms, still hold by that crude idea. We have no material by which to construct any, even the vaguest, outline of that body that shall be. We can only run out the contrasts as suggested by Paul in 1st Corinthians, and let the dazzling greatness of the positive thought which he gives in the text lift our expectations. Weakness will become power, corruption incorruption, liability to death immortality, dishonour glory, and the frame which belonged and corresponded to ‘that which was natural,’ shall be transformed into a body which is the organ of that which is spiritual. These things tell us little, but they may be all fused into the great light of likeness to the body of His glory; and though that tells us even less, it feeds hope more and satisfies our hearts even whilst it does not feed our curiosity. We may well be contented to acknowledge that ‘it doth not yet appear what we shall be,’ when we can go on to say, ‘We know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him.’ It is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master.

But we must not forget that the Apostle regards even this overwhelming change as but part of a mightier process, even the universal subjection of all things unto Christ Himself. The Emperor reduces the whole world to subjection, and the glorifying of the body as the climax of the universal subjugation represents it as the end of the process of assimilation begun in this mortal life. There is no possibility of a resurrection unto life unless that life has been begun before death. That ultimate glorious body is needed to bring men into correspondence with the external universe. As is the locality so is the body. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. This whole series of thoughts makes our glorious resurrection the result not of death, but of Christ’s living power on His people. It is only in the measure in which He lives in us and we in Him, and are partaking by daily participation in the power of His Resurrection, that we shall be made subjects of the working whereby He is able even to subject all things unto Himself, and finally be conformed to the body of His glory.Php 3:17-19. Brethren, be followers together — Συμμιμηται, joint imitators, of me — Obedient to my directions, and following the pattern which God enables me to set before you; and mark — Observe and imitate them; who walk so as ye have us — Myself and the other apostles of Christ, for an ensample. For many — Even teachers, as they profess themselves to be, walk in a very different manner; of whom I have told you often in time past, and now tell you even weeping — While I write, for indeed well may I weep on so lamentable an occasion; that they are enemies of the cross of Christ — Unwilling to suffer any thing for him and his cause, and counteracting the very end and design of his death. Observe, reader, such are all cowardly, all shamefaced, all delicate Christians. Whose end is destruction — This is placed in the front, that what follows may be read with the greater horror; whose God is their belly — Whose supreme happiness lies in gratifying their sensual appetites. The apostle gives the same character of the Judaizing teachers, (Romans 16:18; Titus 1:11,) and, therefore, it is probable that he is speaking here chiefly of them and of their disciples. Whose glory is in their shame — In those things which they ought to be ashamed of: and whoever glories in the commission of any sin, or in the omission of any duty which he owes to God, his neighbour, or himself; or in the gratification of those inclinations and dispositions that are contrary to the love of God and his neighbour; or in that manner of employing his money, his knowledge, his authority over others, or his time, which is contrary to the will of God, and manifests that he is not a faithful steward of God’s manifold gifts, glories in his shame: who mind — Relish, desire, seek, pursue; earthly things — Things visible and temporal, in preference to those which are invisible and eternal; for to be carnally minded is death, Romans 8:6.3:12-21 This simple dependence and earnestness of soul, were not mentioned as if the apostle had gained the prize, or were already made perfect in the Saviour's likeness. He forgot the things which were behind, so as not to be content with past labours or present measures of grace. He reached forth, stretched himself forward towards his point; expressions showing great concern to become more and more like unto Christ. He who runs a race, must never stop short of the end, but press forward as fast as he can; so those who have heaven in their view, must still press forward to it, in holy desires and hopes, and constant endeavours. Eternal life is the gift of God, but it is in Christ Jesus; through his hand it must come to us, as it is procured for us by him. There is no getting to heaven as our home, but by Christ as our Way. True believers, in seeking this assurance, as well as to glorify him, will seek more nearly to resemble his sufferings and death, by dying to sin, and by crucifying the flesh with its affections and lusts. In these things there is a great difference among real Christians, but all know something of them. Believers make Christ all in all, and set their hearts upon another world. If they differ from one another, and are not of the same judgment in lesser matters, yet they must not judge one another; while they all meet now in Christ, and hope to meet shortly in heaven. Let them join in all the great things in which they are agreed, and wait for further light as to lesser things wherein they differ. The enemies of the cross of Christ mind nothing but their sensual appetites. Sin is the sinner's shame, especially when gloried in. The way of those who mind earthly things, may seem pleasant, but death and hell are at the end of it. If we choose their way, we shall share their end. The life of a Christian is in heaven, where his Head and his home are, and where he hopes to be shortly; he sets his affections upon things above; and where his heart is, there will his conversation be. There is glory kept for the bodies of the saints, in which they will appear at the resurrection. Then the body will be made glorious; not only raised again to life, but raised to great advantage. Observe the power by which this change will be wrought. May we be always prepared for the coming of our Judge; looking to have our vile bodies changed by his Almighty power, and applying to him daily to new-create our souls unto holiness; to deliver us from our enemies, and to employ our bodies and souls as instruments of righteousness in his service.Brethren, be followers together of me - That is, live as I do. A minister of the gospel, a parent, or a Christian of any age or condition, ought so to live that he can refer to his own example, and exhort others to imitate the course of life which he had led. Paul could do this without ostentation or impropriety. They knew that he lived so as to be a proper example for others; and he knew that they would feel that his life had been such that there would be no impropriety in his referring to it in this manner. But, alas, how few are there who can safely imitate Paul in this!

And mark them which walk so, as ye have us for an ensample - There were those in the church who endeavored to live as he had done, renouncing all confidence in the flesh, and aiming to win the prize. There were others, it would seem, who were actuated by different views; see Philippians 3:18. There are usually two kinds of professing Christians in every church - those who imitate the Saviour, and those who are worldly and vain. The exhortation here is, to "mark" - that is, to observe with a view to imitate - those who lived as the apostles did. We should set before our minds the best examples, and endeavor to imitate the most holy people. A worldly and fashionable professor of religion is a very bad example to follow; and especially young Christians should set before their minds for imitation, and associate with, the purest and most spiritual members of the church. Our religion takes its form and complexion much from those with whom we associate; and he will usually be the most holy man who associates with the most holy companions.

17. followers—Greek, "imitators together."

of me—as I am an imitator of Christ (1Co 11:1): Imitate me no farther than as I imitate Christ. Or as Bengel "My fellow imitators of God" or "Christ"; "imitators of Christ together with me" (see on [2389]Php 2:22; Eph 5:1).

mark—for imitation.

which walk so as ye have us for an ensample—In English Version of the former clause, the translation of this clause is, "those who are walking so as ye have an example in us." But in Bengel's translation, "inasmuch as," or "since," instead of "as."

Brethren, be followers together of me; he doth here not only propound his own single example to the brethren at Philippi, as he doth to others elsewhere, 1 Corinthians 4:16, implying the limitation there expressed, viz. as he and others were followers of God and Christ, 1 Corinthians 11:1 Ephesians 5:1 1 Thessalonians 1:6 2:14; but, by a word expressing joint consent, he would have them to be fellow imitators or fellow followers of him and others in what he had exhorted them to, yea, with one heart.

And mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample; so they would be like other churches which he had planted, that had an eye upon his example; whom he would have them accurately to observe, following their faith, and considering the end of their conversation, Hebrews 13:7, agreeing with his, and Timothy’s, (who joined with him in this Epistle), and other’s, in opposition to those who were causal of division, Romans 16:17 1 Corinthians 1:12, even such as he describes, Philippians 3:18,19; who did not lord it over God’s heritage, but were ensamples (in faith, love, and humility) to the flock, 2 Corinthians 1:24 1 Timothy 4:12 Titus 2:7,8 1 Peter 5:3. Brethren, be followers together of me,.... Not that the apostle set up himself as the head of a party, which is what he always blamed in others; he did not assume a dominion over the faith of men, or seek to lord it over God's heritage; nor did he desire any to be followers of him, any further than he was a follower of Christ; and in what he was, whether in doctrine or practice, he desires to be followed in: and here he has a particular regard to what went before, concerning reckoning what was gain loss; accounting all things but dung, in comparison of the knowledge of Christ, looking to his righteousness alone for justification, Philippians 3:9; disclaiming perfection, yet forgetting things behind; reaching towards things before, and pressing to the mark for the prize, Philippians 3:13; and walking according to the rule of God's word; in which things he had some that followed him, who were his spiritual children, and to whom he had been useful in conversion and edification; see 1 Corinthians 4:15; and he would therefore have these Philippians followers of him, "together" with them; and which contains in it an encouraging reason, or argument, since others were followers of him; or together with one another, he was desirous, that one and all of them might follow him; that they might all go in the same way, profess the same truth, be found in the practice of the same things, worship the Lord with one consent, pursue the same ends, and draw all the same way; and so be as the church was, like a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariot, Sol 1:9,

and mark them which walk so; as the apostle did, and those that were followers of him; these he would have them mark, observe, attentively look to; not as others, who cause offences and divisions, and obey not the word, in order to shun, avoid, and keep no company with; but to imitate and follow, and next to Christ, the mark, to make use of them as inferior ones:

as ye have us for an ensample, or "type"; believers should be ensamples one to another, especially ministers of the word; pastors of churches are not to be lords over God's heritage, but to be ensamples to the flock, 1 Peter 5:3, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit; in faith, in purity, as the apostle exhorts Timothy, 1 Timothy 4:12, and in these things they are to be followed by believers.

Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Php 3:17. In carrying out this command they are to follow his example, which he has previously held up to their view, especially from Php 3:12 onwards.

συμμιμηταί] co-imitators, is a word not elsewhere preserved. Comp., however, συμμιμούμενοι, Plat. Polit. p. 274 D. σύν is neither superfluous (Heinrichs, comp. Hofmann), nor does it refer to the imitation of Christ in common with the apostle (Bengel, Ewald),—a reference which cannot be derived from the remote Php 1:30 to Php 2:8, and which would be expressed somewhat as in 1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:6. Neither does it refer to the obligation of his readers collectively to imitate him (Beza, Grotius, and others, including Matthies, Hoelemann, van Hengel, de Wette), so that “omnes uno consensu et una mente” (Calvin) would be meant; but it means, as is required by the context that follows: “una cum aliis, qui me imitantur (Estius; comp. Erasmus, Annot., Vatablus, Cornelius a Lapide, Wiesinger, Weiss, Ellicott, and others). Theophylact aptly remarks: συγκολλᾷ αὐτοὺς τοῖς καλῶς περιπατοῦσι, whereby the weight of the exhortation is strengthened.

σκοπεῖτε] direct your view to those who, etc., namely, in order to become imitators of me in like manner as they are. Other Christians, not Philippians, are meant, just as Php 3:18 also applies to those of other places.

καθώς] does not correspond to the οὕτω, as most expositors think, but is the argumentative “as” (see on Php 1:7), by which the two previous requirements, συμμιμηταί κ.τ.λ. and σκοπεῖτε κ.τ.λ., are established: in measure as ye have us for an example. This interpretation (which Wiesinger and Weiss adopt) is, notwithstanding the subtle distinction of thought which Hofmann suggests, required both by the second person ἔχετε (not ἔχουσι) and by the plural ἡμᾶς (not ἐμέ). This ἡμᾶς refers not to the apostle alone (so many, and still de Wette; but in this case, as before, the singular would have been used), nor yet generally to the apostle and his companions (van Hengel, Baumgarten-Crusius, Lightfoot), especially Timothy (Hofmann), or to all tried Christians (Matthies); but to him and those οὕτω (in this manner, imitative of me) περιπατοῦντας. This view is not at variance with τύπον in the singular (de Wette); for the several τύποι of individuals are conceived collectively as τύπος. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:7 (Lachmann, Lünemann); see also 2 Thessalonians 3:9; comp. generally, Bernhardy, p. 58 f.; Kühner, II. 1, p. 12 f. This predicative τύπον, which is therefore placed before ἡμᾶς, is emphatic.Php 3:17-19. A SOLEMN WARNING AGAINST THE EARTHLY, SENSUAL MIND.17–21. Application of the thought of progress: warning against antinomian distortion of the truth of grace: the coming glory of the body, a motive to holy purity

17. Brethren] A renewed earnest address, introducing a special message. See above, Php 3:13.

be followers together of me] More lit., become my united imitators. For his appeals to his disciples to copy his example, see Php 4:9; 1 Corinthians 4:16 (a passage closely kindred in reference to this), 1 Corinthians 10:33 to 1 Corinthians 11:1; and cp. 1 Thessalonians 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9; and Acts 20:18-21; Acts 20:30-35. Such appeals imply not egotism or self-confidence, but absolute confidence in his message and its principles, and the consciousness that his life, by the grace of God, was moulded on those principles. In the present case, he begs them to “join in imitating” him, in his renunciation of self-confidence and spiritual pride, with their terrible risks.

mark] Watch, for imitation. The verb usually means the watching of caution and avoidance (Romans 16:17), but context here decides the other way. The Philippians knew Paul’s principles, but to see them they must look at the faithful disciples of the Pauline Gospel among themselves; such as Epaphroditus, on his return, the “true yokefellow” (Php 4:3), Clement, and others.

walk] The common verb, not that noticed just above. It is a very favourite word with St Paul for life in its action and intercourse. See e.g. Romans 13:13; Romans 14:15; 2 Corinthians 4:2; Ephesians 2:10; Ephesians 4:1; Colossians 1:10; Colossians 4:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:12; 2 Thessalonians 3:6. Cp. 1 John 1:7; 1 John 2:6; 2 John 1:4; Revelation 21:24.

Walk so as &c.”:—more lit., with R.V., so walk even as &c.

us] “Shrinking from the egotism of dwelling on his own personal experience, St Paul passes at once from the singular to the plural” (Lightfoot). Timothy and his other best known fellow-workers, Silas certainly (Acts 16), if still alive, would be included.

ensample] An “Old French” and “Middle English” derivative of the Latin exemplum (Skeat, Etym. Dict.). The word occurs in A.V. elsewhere, 1 Corinthians 10:11; 1 Thessalonians 1:7; 2 Thessalonians 3:9; 1 Peter 5:3; 2 Peter 2:6; and in the Prayer Book (Collect for 2nd Sunday after Easter).Php 3:17. Συμμιμηταὶ, imitators [followers] together with) Paul himself was an imitator [follower] of Christ; the Philippians, therefore, were to be imitators [followers] together with him.—σκοπεῖτε, regard [mark]) with unanimity.—οὕτως, so) The inferior examples of friends of the Cross of Christ ought to be tried by the standard of those that are superior and nearer to perfection.Verse 17. - Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample; rather, as R.V., imitators together. They are to unite, one and all, in imitating him. In 1 Corinthians 11:1 he gives the ground of this advice, "As I also am of Christ." Mark, here in order to imitate; elsewhere (as Romans 16:17) in order to avoid. He changes the singular number to the plural, modestly shrinking from proposing himself alone as their example. But "ensample" is still singular, because they all (Timothy, Epaphroditus, etc.) present the same image, all imitating Christ. Observe the change of metaphor: hitherto the Christian life has been compared to a race; now he speaks of walking; literally, walking about (περιπατεῖν), moving hither and thither in the daily path of life. Followers together of me (συμμιμηταί μου)

Only here in the New Testament. Rev., more correctly, imitators. Compare 1 Corinthians 11:1. Not imitators of Christ in common with me, but be together, jointly, imitators of me.

Mark (σκοπεῖτε)

See on looking, Philippians 2:4.

So as (οὕτως καθὼς)

Rev., "which so walk even as ye have," etc. The two words are correlative. Briefly, imitate me and those who follow my example.

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