Written by Ron Hutchison
February 28, 2005

In 1 Peter 2:21, the apostle Peter wrote, "For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps" (NKJV).  The word "example" is from the Greek word "hupogrammon,"  accusative singular of "hupogrammos" from the preposition "hupo" which means "under," and "gramma"  which means "to write."  It literally means "to write under."   Bagster says it means "a copy to write after," and metaphorically, "an example for imitation, pattern."  Thayer defines it as "a writing copy ... hence, an example."  Strong defines it as "an underwriting, i.e. copy for imitation (figurative):--example."

The word is a figure of speech, suggesting the writing tablet that most of us used when we were in the first grade to teach us penmanship.  The perfect writing was given as an example at the top of the page, and we tired to follow that example.  

We can see the vividness of the meaning of the apostle Peter in his use of this figure.  Christ's life is the perfect writing at the top of the page.  We must do our best to follow His example.  Just as most of us were not perfect when we were beginning to learn to write, so also we are not perfect when we first become Christians.  However, the more we practiced our writing and the more we attempted to make our letters just like the ones at the top of the page, the better we became.  We may not have reached perfection, but we came closer the more we practiced.  The same is true of following the example of Christ in our daily living.  We will never reach the sinless perfection of the life of Christ (1 John 1:7-9), but the more we study His life and attempt to follow His perfect example, the closer we can come.

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