The Word “Walk” in the Book of Ephesians
The Greek verb
peripateo, rendered “walk” in the English Bible, is found 96 times in the New Testament. Eight of these are in Ephesians.
The word is composed of two roots,
peri (around), and
pateo (walk). Literally, to “walk around.” Figuratively, it denotes the sphere of one’s existence, his manner of life. It can be used negatively (for evil), or positively (denoting a realm of righteousness).
Let us consider the former first, then the latter.
- The Christian is to abandon the life he once “walked,” which was according to the influence of Satan in disobedience (2:2). The aorist tense verb sums up the sinner’s entire life of rebellion.
- He is not to “walk” as the Gentiles do, with a vain (empty, producing no good result) mind (4:17). The present tense form indicates that the child of God does not permit vain thinking to dominate him.
- The saint is not to “walk” in an unwise fashion (5:15). The term “unwise” literally suggests “as a fool.”
By way of contrast:
- Consistent with workmanship of God, who made us new creatures through the conversion process, we are to “walk” after those good works that are in harmony with the character of the Lord himself, the pattern of which was in the divine Mind eons before man was fashioned (2:10).
- The child of God is required to “walk” worthily of the high calling he has accepted, with lowliness, meekness, longsuffering, and forbearance, diligently maintaining the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (4:1-3).
- We must “walk” (present tense — consistently) in love (
agape— the love that is dedicated to the spiritual interests of others), just as Christ loved us, having demonstrated such by the sacrifice of himself (5:2).
- Christians must “walk” (present tense — on a sustained basis) as children of light (illuminated ones), proving (5:10) what is well-pleasing unto the Lord (5:8). “Proving” carries the idea of making a critical examination of something.
- We must “walk” carefully as people who are wise (5:15). The term “carefully” is an adverb that denotes accuracy that is the result of great care. In the New Testament sense, it implies “strict conformity to a standard or norm” (Danker, Greek Lexicon, 2000, p. 39). “Wise” suggests the seasoned ability to apply what one has learned from the Scriptures.
It is vital that the servants of Christ pursue their daily “walk” with serious resolution, seeing that it is within the boundaries of divine revelation.
About the Author
Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.