Mentoring can be a significant way for us to get to know each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. When we know a person who is more knowledgeable or experienced, we can then learn from that person. Although the Bible doesn’t come right out and use the term “mentor,” we can see relationships throughout both the old and New Testament that take on this structure. We often see one person guiding another, to help them make decisions, guide them, and mold them into the people that God wants them to be. Here are just a few examples:
Elijah and Elisha:
Elijah and Elisha were two prophets in Israel. Elijah confronted Jezebel and won victory over Baal on Mount Carmel, but he still felt alone. God spoke and told him to choose a successor, Elisha. This new relationship began as a result of God choosing Elisha. “Elijah went from there and found Elisha” (1 Kings 19:19). Elisha then “set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant” (v. 21b). Elisha learned how to be a prophet of God by being with Elijah, watching him, and listening to him continually. When Elijah was taken up to heaven in a chariot of God, Elisha immediately took up Elijah’s cloak and all those watching realized that “the spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha” (2 Kings 2:11-15). Elisha went on to do even greater things than Elijah in his ministry. Part of mentoring is to teach and encourage others to accomplish even greater ministries that the Lord has planned than us.
Barnabas and Paul:
Barnabas mentored Paul to use his gifts of teaching and preaching wherever they traveled. When Luke records their travels together in the Book of Acts. Barnabas encouraged the church in Jerusalem (Acts 4:36-37), encouraged the new believers in Antioch (Acts 11:22), brought Paul along to work in Antioch (Acts 11:25-26), accompanied Paul on his first missionary journey (Acts 13:2-3). Throughout Acts they are referred to as Barnabas and Saul, (Acts 11:26; 13:2), but after their ministry in Cyprus, they are referred to as “Paul and Barnabas.” Was Paul then looked upon as the leader of the duo from that point on? What does that say about Barnabas who poured himself into this mentoring role? His ministry was overshadowed, but his desire to see the fulfillment of Lord’s work to be done was more important.
Jesus and his disciples:
When we think of a mentorship we usually picture just two people. However the relationship between Jesus and his disciples can be the ultimate example of mentorship. Jesus let his love for God be the standard by which he loved his disciples. Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you. By this will all men know that you are my disciples?” (John 13:34,35). Instead of focusing on his disciples negative attributes, his lead them on the straight path. Jesus said to Peter who he knew would deny him three times, “feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17). His teaching and mentoring allowed these men to go on to be courageous leaders who would speak the truth of God around the world, and ultimately lead the growth of the Christian church.
Newton, Gary C. Growing Toward Spiritual Maturity. Evangelical Training Association.