Mentoring in the Bible – Introduction

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Mentoring has radically impacted my life.  So much of who I am and what I do are a result of the mentors that God has placed in my life.  Some mentors were intentional.  Others were instinctive.  But all have been used to make a radical impact in my life.

Mentoring is God’s primary method to develop His leaders.  We see numerous examples of this all through the Bible.  In this series of posts on my blog, I want to briefly look at several examples of mentoring from the Bible.  I hope to challenge us to be mentored and to teach us how to mentor others.

But first, what is mentoring? The first time the word “mentor” is used is in Homer’s Odyssey.  In the book, Mentor is a wise man asked to over see Ulysses’ house while he is away fighting.  Mentor is specially tasked with taking care of Ulysses’ son Telemachus.  Mentor and Telemachus develop a lasting relationship through which Telemachus matures, grows, and and succeeds.  This illustration from ancient literature give us some insight into the significance of the word.

The word “mentor” is both a noun and a verb.  The dictionary definition is “an experienced and trusted adviser” or “to advise or train.”  Here are some ways that other people have defined mentoring:

  • “A relational process between an older, more mature, more knowledgeable, or more skilled person and another person who learns in some intentional way.” (G. C. Newton)
  • “A relational experience in which one person, called the mentor, empowers another person called the mentoree, by the transfer of resources (such as insights, skills, values, connections to people who can help, finances, other materials).” (R Roberts)
  • Mentoring is a concept and process that every responsible Christian who is serious about passing on the faith should be involved in at some point. It is a critical component of parenting as a parent guides, nurtures, and prepares a child for life. As believers, we should be committed to the process of mentoring another in order to ensure the ongoing success of the church. (M. J. Anthony)

Mentoring is one of the most exciting and effective ways to prepare people for life and leaders for ministry.  I hope that you will enjoy this study of mentoring in the Bible as much as I have.