Word Study #132 — Walk

February 8, 2012

“He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” I Jn.2:6, KJV, 1611

“The one who keeps saying he’s living in relationship with him (Jesus), ought to walk [live, behave] as he did! ”IJn.2:6,  PNT, 2011

Even among the staunchest advocates of a “literal” interpretation of scripture (which usually means the KJV), I have never met one who refuses every form of transportation other than his own two feet, on the grounds that that is how Jesus got from place to place.

Clearly, locomotion is not what the apostle had in mind, although something dynamic certainly is!
“Walking” is a matter of considerable concern in the New Testament, having been used to represent six different Greek words. Three of these appear only a single time.

Emperipateo (L/S – “to walk among, to tarry among” or later, “to trample on or insult”) occurs only in II Cor.6:16, where Paul quotes the LXX promise of God, in Lv.26:12, to “pitch his tent” and “walk” among his people.
Dierchomai (L/S – “to go through, to pass through”), although used 17 times with that classical translation, is only rendered “walk” in one parable (parallel accounts in Mt.12:43 and Lk.11:24), of a cast-out evil spirit seeking another body to invade.
Orthopodeo (L/S – “to walk straight or uprightly”) has no classical listings other than the Gal.2:14 passage. Thayer says it does not exist elsewhere, though Bauer suggests a connection to a third century BC noun used by Sophocles referring to “progress”. Did Paul “make up” this one? It does make etymological sense, combining the words for “straight” and “foot.”

Stoicheo (L/S – “to be drawn up in a row or line as in battle, to move or march in sequence, to agree with or submit to”, and Bauer – “to follow in someone’s footsteps, to adhere to a person or principle”) was uniformly translated “walk” in its five uses: Ac.21:24, Rom.4:12, Gal.5:25 and 6:16, and Phil.3:16, all referring to living according to prescribed principles.
Poreuomai (L/S – “to go, walk, or march; to be driven or carried, to proceed (in law or philosophy), and Bauer –“to depart from somewhere, to follow someone or something, to go to one’s death, to conduct oneself, to live, to walk”) is much more commonly rendered simply “go” – 119x – or “depart” – 11x – with “walk” used only 9x. It refers to behavior in all but one of these. In Lk.13:33, Jesus simply indicates his intention to travel, but Lk.1:6, Ac.9:31, 14:16; I Pet.4:3, II Pet.2:10, 3:3; Jude 16,18 clearly carry the idea of one’s manner of life – the latter 6 in a distinctly negative sense.

By far the most common of the “walking” words is peripateo, with 97 New Testament appearances, 92 of them traditionally translated “walk”. All but six of the uses in the gospels and Acts refer simply to traveling on foot (a total of 42), but not a single one of its 49 appearances in the epistles lean that way.

It must be noted, of course, that the “walking” in the gospel accounts is not all “ordinary” locomotion: “the lame” (Mt.11:5, 15:31, Mk.2:9, Lk.5:23, 7:22; Jn.5, Ac.3:6,8,9,12; 14:8,10) whose healing is evidenced by their “walking”, or the little girl who had died (Mk.5:42) “walking around”, or Jesus himself (Mt.14, Lk.6) walking across the lake, are hardly ordinary, everyday strolls. But there is an even sharper shift in the epistles, at which the gospels only hint,as in Jn.8:12, 11:9,10; and 12:35, where Jesus clearly connects “walking”in light or in darkness with the faithful following of him, his instructions, and his ways.

L/S lists “walking around, to walk up and down (in the schools of philosophy) while teaching or engaging in discourse or debate, to dispute or argue” or simply “to live or conduct oneself.” Bauer adds, “the activities of daily life.” This latter implication is clearly the one in view in most of the epistles.

Paul is definitely referring to the transformation of life and behavior in his admonitions to “walking in newness of life” (Rom.6:4), “walk not after the flesh [human nature] but after the spirit” (Rom.8:1,4), “walk by faith and not by sight” (II Cor.5:7), “walk in the Spirit” (Gal.5:16), “Walk worthy of (our) calling” (Eph.4:1) and “walk as children of light” (Eph.5:8), in sharp contrast to the readers’ former life (I Cor.3:3, II Cor.4:2, Eph.2:2, 4:17, Col.3:7).

One’s general lifestyle (Col.1:10, 2:6; I Thes.2:12,4:1; I Jn.1:6,2:6), behavior toward outsiders (Eph.4:17, 5:15; Col.3:7, 4:5; I Thes.4:12), and toward each other in the brotherhood (Rom.14:15; II Cor.10:3, 12:18; Phil.3:17,18; II Thes.3:6, I Jn.1:7, and the whole of John’s last two letters) are likewise addressed.

These instructions mesh well with the lists, (although no form of “walk” is used there) in Eph.4:22-32 and Col.3:5-15, of behaviors and attitudes to “put off” and “put on”; a deliberate process to enable the realization of the transformed life that is possible only in the power of Jesus’ resurrection (Col.3:1-4).

The epistles also contain warnings concerning people – some within and some outside the fellowship – who choose to “walk”[live, behave] in the “darkness” (see #129) rather that the “light” (#75). Notice especially John’s discussion in I Jn.1, and also in 2:11, probably elaborating upon Jesus’ conversation which he had reported earlier (Jn.8:12 and 11:9-10). He now represents the choice,which Jesus had mentioned previously in connection with clarity of direction for the disciples, as affecting their mutual interaction as well. Paul, too, calls for discernment based on how people choose to “walk” (I Cor.3:3, II Cor.4:2, Phil.3:18, II Thes.3:6,11).

Of course the ultimate in beautiful companionship, hinted in II Cor.6:16 (mentioned in the beginning), and its LXX antecedents, is fulfilled at last in the Revelation. In Rv.3:4, Jesus himself welcomes the faithful – those who have not “dirtied their garments” (after he had given them clean ones!) – not to lounge around each on his private la-z-boy cloud, but “they shall WALK with me in white!” Jesus apparently, is still on the move, and so are his devoted followers.
The glorious vision of the holy city, his long-awaited Bride, has everyone “walking” – in the light of the glory of God, shed by the Lamp, which is equated with the Lamb.(Rv.21:24).

The one who keeps saying he’s living in relationship with him (Jesus), ought to walk [live, behave] as he did!” I.Jn.2:6
“Walk [live]in a manner worthy of God, who is calling you into his own Kingdom and glory!” (I Thes.2:12.

May we walk together into faithfulness!


Word Study #131 — Treasure — “in heaven?”

February 3, 2012

This subject needs to be studied in combination with W.S.#72, “Riches”, which I commend to your attention. The concepts are parallel, not only in their partial reference to material prosperity, but also in the diversity which both encompass.

The verb, thesaurizo, used 8x in the New Testament, refers (L/S) classically to the collection, preservation, or storage of anything of value: primarily fruits or grain. The use of a public granary, or reserving resources of any kind for a particular purpose, is also included, as is the less-noble idea of hoarding.
The noun, thesauros, used 18x, referred to the vaults of a bank, a granary, any receptacle for valuables, a mine, a military strong-room or magazine, a cavern or subterranean dungeon, an offertory box, or the contents of any of these, as well as to anything or anyone that was highly valued.
More rarely, the “borrowed” Persian terms, gaza (Ac.8:27) and gazaphulakion (Mk.12:41, 43; Lk.21:1, Jn.8:20) were used of a formal national or religious “treasury.”

Much of the same diversity is seen in the New Testament. The “treasures” opened when the magi presented their gifts (Mt.2), for example, were probably articles of their traveling baggage!
Paul urged the Corinthian brethren (I Cor.16:2) to set aside (“save up”) their promised contribution to the relief offering in a systematic way.
The “treasures of Egypt” in the context of Heb.11:26, probably referred to all the perks of royalty that Moses abandoned in favor of identification with God’s people.
In the previous two posts, we noted “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col.2:3) reserved for the faithful in their identification with the Lord Jesus.
A similar connection appears in II Cor.4:7, where Paul speaks of the glory of God having been entrusted to us in “earthen vessels”, reminding us that the treasure [glory] involved is the Lord’s and not ours to brag about.

Interestingly, the “treasure” words appear more than twice as often in the gospels as they do in the epistles, although many are in parallel passages. In these, it is as important to note what is NOT said, as to hear what IS said.
For example, consider the story of the wealthy young man who was contemplating discipleship (Mt.19:21, Mk.10:21, Lk.18:22). Only Luke quotes Jesus as saying “sell all you have” – the others say “what you have” or “your possessions” – but all specify, “give to the poor.” NOT “to the temple hierarchy”. Not even to Jesus’ own ministry. Paul, too, goes to great pains to emphasize (II Cor.12:14) that he does not ask anyone to support his work, or him personally – only to share with needy brethren. Certainly there is no encouragement or mandate to support the flamboyant lifestyle of the “builders” of megachurches or TV shows! “Giving TO THE POOR” is the vehicle for “laying up treasure in heaven”, as is Jesus’ concluding invitation, “Come, follow me!” (W.S.#101).
Jesus weighs in, in a similar vein, in his criticism of the “rich fool” (Lk.12:21)who “accumulates treasure for himself …”, and in his instructions not to “store up for yourselves treasures that are subject to bugs, corrosion, or theft (Mt.6:19, Lk.12:33,34) – obviously material possessions of various kinds.
I suspect that it is selfishness that Jesus is addressing, rather than the specific items of anyone’s hoarding.

This is also evident in James’ later distillation of that teaching, (Jas.5:1-6), where the abuse of others in one’s accumulation of goods is the principal focus.
Peter (II Pet.3:7) and Paul (Rom.2:5) deal just as sternly with the eventual results of choosing to ignore justice and right in favor of one’s own self-interest. Please note: this is NOT represented as punishment or retribution, but simply the inevitable result of selfish behavior.
Note also that Jesus did not hesitate to include “for yourselves” in the alternative, “heavenly” storing-up, and its effect upon one’s heart.

Jesus also uses the idea of “treasure” in a context that is clearly not material at all. In Mt.12:33-37 and Lk.6:43-45, he points out that a person’s communication reveals the character of what is “stored” in his heart, and that any final analysis will be made on the basis of simple and very obvious evidence.

Matthew also records two teaching incidents that do not appear in any of the other accounts. Both concern “the kingdom of heaven”, which is referred to by the other writers as “the kingdom of God”. Please refer to studies # 19, 20, 21, and 118 for exploration of these concepts.
After an extended period of teaching about the Kingdom, Jesus remarked to his disciples (Mt.13:52), “Every scribe [teacher?] trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure both new things and old.” He had just been explaining to them a collection [“treasure”?] of parables, and it is reasonable to assume that he expects that teaching to be remembered and replicated. This assumption would fit as well with Paul’s uses of thesauros in II Cor. and Col. already cited.

Earlier in that same teaching session (Mt.13:44), Jesus had likened the kingdom itself to a “treasure”, so valuable that its discoverer deemed it worthy of the exchange of “everything that he has” – a stark contrast to the incident where the wealthy young man turned away (Mt.19 and parallels). And please note that in neither case is the “treasure” deferred to some sort of future existence! I strongly suspect that the excited buyer of that field had already started to dig up his treasure by the time the ink was dry on his deed!

It is significant that “treasure” is spoken of as “in heaven” only three times, out of the 26 New Testament occurrences of thesaurizo / thesauros. Perhaps if proper attention is paid to what we seek to collect or preserve here on earth, and how we choose to use it, we need not worry unduly about the rest.
May we help each other faithfully to administer whatever kind of “treasure” comes under our control, and to value the Kingdom itself above all!