Saint Peter as ‘Sympresbyteros’

Gregory E. Lamb
  • Christian Education Journal Research on Educational Ministry, June 2018, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.1177/0739891318779842

Saint Peter as 'Sympresbyteros': Mimetic Desire, Discipleship, and Education

What is it about?

This paper investigates the relationship between Christian discipleship and education through the lens of Girard’s “mimetic desire,” and how 1 Pet 5:1–5 (especially the hapax συμπρεσβύτερος/sympresbyteros) can be informed by this pedagogical concept. Going beyond mere mimēsis and the imitation of surface-level actions, “mimetic desire” penetrates deeper in understanding how modeled behaviors and desires—whether positive or negative—affect the desires and motivations of others.

Why is it important?

This article is important for ministry as pastors/Christian educators should faithfully model the gospel externally and internally so their congregants/students may learn to live as good citizens worthy of the gospel of Christ (Phil 1:27). Parents will also benefit from having read this paper in seeing how their actions and motivations are synergystically formative for the behaviors and motivations within their children.


Rev. Gregory Earl Lamb (Author)
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Many papers on Christian education, pastoral ministry, and parenting discuss the importance of the outward acts of preaching, teaching, disciplining, and parenting, but few engage the synergy between outward acts/behaviors and underlying, inner motivations. Moreover, few works engage biblical passages dealing with the imitation of moral/ethical exemplars through the lens of René Girard's conception of mimetic desire. This article seeks to accomplish both. In so doing, this article helps to fill a lacuna in scholarship and to advance scholarship not only in Petrine studies, but also in areas of Christian education and discipleship. Further research should be performed in linking these synergistic concepts in the realm of Christian parenting and in Pauline studies.

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The following have contributed to this page: Rev. Gregory Earl Lamb