A disciple is formed by imitating the life of his discipler. Jesus and the apostle Paul gave their disciples access to their lives so that their disciples could observe and then emulate their behavior and attitude. Both made disciples in the context of an intentional community in order to demonstrate for their disciples how to behave in a group with diverse personalities and also to use the misconducts of the members to correct and instruct them in the proper way to love one another.
One example of this was when a dispute broke out among Jesus’s disciples about which one of them was considered to be the greatest. Jesus corrected them saying, “The greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. . . But I am among you as one who serves.”(Luke 22:27) Neither Jesus nor Paul ever asked of his disciples anything that he himself would not do.
Another example is from the life of Paul when the believers at Corinth were disunited and tolerating sexual immorality within their community. Paul sent his disciple Timothy to Corinth “to remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 4:17). Paul had previously lived among them to show them the way to live as a disciple. Paul not only wrote a letter to the Corinthians but he sent Timothy so that they could once again observe the behavior of a follower of Jesus.