Christianity 201

August 22, 2021

Christian Mentors, Pastors, Teachers Who Shaped You

NIV.Hebrews.13.7 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.

In a world that tends to put greater emphasis on those who have fallen, these words from the concluding paragraphs of the epistle to the Hebrews remind us of all the good, faithful, noble people who have helped us along in our Christian journey.

The Enduring Word Bible Commentary:

…We are told to recognize and follow godly leadership in the body of Christ, leadership shown to be legitimate by faithfulness to the word of God and by godly conduct. Paul advised Timothy along the same lines: Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you. 1 Timothy 4:16

Such leaders should be recognized and followed. Just as much as a church needs godly leaders, it also needs godly followers. Leaders don’t need to be perfect, but they should be able to show with their life that the power of Jesus is real as it impacts and transforms the individual life. That demonstrates a faith that can actually be followed.

Barnes Bible Commentary

(The Barnes Commentary spends considerable time on the phrase Consider the outcome of their way of life.)

The word rendered here “the end” – ἔκβασις ekbasis – occurs only here and in 1 Corinthians 10:13, where it is rendered “a way of escape.” It properly means, “a going out, an egress,” and is hence spoken of as a going out from life, or of an exit from the world – “death.” This is probably the meaning here…

it means that they were attentively to contemplate the end or the issue of the conduct of those holy teachers – the close or going out of all that they did; to wit, in a peaceful death. Their faith sustained them. They were enabled to persevere in a Christian course, and did not faint or fail. There is allusion, doubtless, to those who had been their religious instructors, and who had died in the faith of the gospel, either by persecution or by an ordinary death, and the apostle points to them as examples of that to which he would exhort those whom he addressed – of perseverance in the faith until death.

Thus explained, this verse does not refer to the duty of Christians toward living teachers, but toward those who are dead. Their duty toward living teachers is enforced in Hebrews 13:17. The sentiment here is, that the proper remembrance of those now deceased who were once our spiritual instructors and guides, should be allowed to have an important influence in inducing us to lead a holy life.

We should remember them with affection and gratitude; we should recall the truths which they taught, and the exhortations which they addressed to us; we should cherish with kind affection the memory of all that they did for our welfare, and we should not forget the effect of the truths which they taught in sustaining their own souls when they died.

Let’s bring this up-to-date with a contemporary writer. Juli Camarin has been featured here on five previous occasions. You can read more at jcblog.net.

Remember Your Leaders and Imitate Their Faith

Growing up, there was a lady in our church who took the time to disciple me. She invited several of the youth age girls into her home on a weekly basis where she spent time with us in the Word and in prayer. It was a special time as her love for Jesus was unmistakable. The impact that this dear lady made on me has affected my entire life because I learned how, from an early age to spend time with the Lord.

Since then, the Lord has sent a few others to come beside and mentor me in the Word. Showing, teaching and explaining His truths until they’ve taken hold. These precious people have spoken truth into my life in a way that cannot be measured. As such, this pattern has propagated as I, in turn have also discipled young friends, teaching them from the Word and showing them who the Lord is as they start to grow in their faith.

The people who teach the Word of God to us are very dear so we should honor them and imitate their faith. We should consider their lives, how they live and do our best to emulate them.

Paul also gave similar instruction about this, “Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you” (Philippians 3:17 ). The Word of God is life-changing so it makes sense that those who spend a lot of time in it will think and act differently. We are to live according to that pattern.

Amazingly, the Lord will always send people to us to encourage and build us up in our faith as we grow in the grace and knowledge of God. We are never left to our own; He will surround us by a fellowship of believers. We can use their example of faith and obedience to pattern our lives after. The result will be unity just as Paul encouraged the Philippians, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel”( Philippians 1: 27 ). 

Not only will we imitate the faith of those who went before us, our lives will be worthy of the gospel that saved and redeemed us!


Consideration of this passage today was inspired by a lengthy (55 minutes) sermon by Steven Furtick at Elevation Worship on August 15th which started with Hebrews 13:7.