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Brothers, join in imitating me, and observe those who walk according to the example you have in us. (Philippians 3:17)
First, Paul encouraged the believers at Philippi. Imitating me reveals his confidence that he lived correctly before God and man. The Greek word used here (συμμιμητής summimētēs), could be better translated “fellow imitator or imitators together” which gives a clearer picture of what Paul is saying. We do not need to think of Paul as boasting about himself, but to take this in light of what he has said in verses 4-14 of this chapter. He states this also to the Corinthian believers in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” They were to follow his pattern of life as he followed Jesus’ pattern.
Paul has already established that he was not perfect, but that he sought to follow Jesus in his lifestyle. Now he is encouraging the Philippian believers to observe (Greek word [σκοπέω skopeō]) – to mark or note or to watch attentively those who are living in the pattern that Paul has taught them. He had given them three examples (Greek word [τύπος tupos]), a pattern or a mark previously (see chapter 2) of himself, Timothy, and Epaphroditus – all men whom the believers at Philippi had had the opportunity of observing.
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Brothers, join in imitating me. In other words, we want to live a life and ministry as spiritually fulfilling as Paul had. This does not mean that we need to be traveling overseers. All Christians are obligated to carry out the great commission of proclaiming and teaching the Bible to make disciples. (Matt. 24:14; 28:19-20; Acts 1:8) Aside from this, whatever our ministry maybe, we need to go at it whole-souled. As Christian, we need to be a minister of the gospel and good parents; regardless of our condition, age, station in life, we should live a life wherein we set our own example. Pastors, as well as others who have been Christians, be it a short time or a long time, we have a huge obligation to set the right example.
And observe those who walk according to the example you have in us. Paul could say imitate me without a single soul thinking he was being showy or haughty. They knew that they themselves desired to imitate him, as he set the perfect example of what it means to be a mature Christian servant of God. Every church has those who look at Paul and Jesus, or John, and wish that they could attain their spirituality, moral character, and strength. And then every church has those who are worldly and arrogant. Christianity today is filled with bad examples, as most of the denominations, churches, pastors, and seminary professors are liberal to moderate in the biblical worldviews. Young Christians today should seek to imitate and associate with the spiritually strongest, mature Christians in the church and the seminaries, and the apostle Paul and Jesus Christ. When a man with a clean glove shakes hand with a man wearing a dirty glove, the clean clove does not rub off on the dirty glove; it is just the opposite.
 W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1996). Page 320.
 Wesley J. Perschbacher, ed., The New Analytical Greek Lexicon, ed. Wesley J. Perschbacher (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1990). Page 372.
 Ibid. Page 414.