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.
Don’t Walk This Way
The Christian is to abandon the life he once walked, which was according to the influence of Satan in disobedience (Eph. 2:2). The aorist tense verb sums up the sinner’s entire life of rebellion.
He is not to walk as Gentiles do, with a vain mind (empty, producing no good result) (Eph. 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 (Eph. 5:15). The term “unwise” literally suggests “as a fool.”
Walk This Way
By way of contrast, the Christian is enjoined to walk (i.e. live life) according to several positive principles.
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 (Eph. 2:10).
The child of God is required to walk worthily of the high calling he has accepted—with lowliness, meekness, long suffering, and forbearance, diligently maintaining the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:1-3).
We must walk in love (present tense — consistently). The type of love characteristic of a Christian’s walk is
agape — the New Testament love that is dedicated to the spiritual interests of others. This is the same manner of loving with which Christ demonstrated toward us by the sacrifice of himself (Eph. 5:2).
Christians must walk (present tense — on a sustained basis) as children of light (illuminated ones), proving (Eph. 5:10) what is well-pleasing unto the Lord (Eph. 5:8). Proving carries the idea of making a critical examination of something.
We must walk carefully as people who are wise (Eph. 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.