Full Text for Walk This Way: A Theme from Proverbs Reflected and Extended in Paul's Letters (Text)

Volume m1 January Table of Contents The Faith of Christ: A Lutheran Appropriation of Richard Hays's be Arthur A. Just Jr. ........................................................................ 3 Listening to Intertextual Relationships in Paul's Epistles with Richard Hays .................................................................. Charles A. Gieschen .17 Looking at the Moral Vision of the New Testament with Richard Hays ....................................................................... Dean 0. UTenthe 33 Walk This Way: A Theme from Proverbs Reflected and Extended in Paul's Letters Andrew E. Steinmann and Michael Eschelbach .................... 43 With a View to the End: Christ in the Ancient Chnrch's Understanding of !hiptue ........................................................................ Joel C. Elow sky. 6 3 A Curriculum from and for the Church - ................................................................................ John T. Pless 83 MTe apologize for publication delays in recent years. \2-e assure you that aU overdue issues are in process and will be mailed as each is printed. We p h tobe back on our normal quarterly publication schedule @ Jan-- 2008. Thank you for ?-our patience! The Editors Walk This Way: A Theme from Proverbs Reflected and Extended in Paul's Letters Andrew E. Ste- and Michael Eschelbach Ant- figure of speech used with great frequent). tends to desensitize read& to the dynamic and vivid assodations that make it a useful way of explaining the abstract bv means of the concrete. This is no less true for readers and hearers of the Saiphrrrs. One figure of speech so common in the Scriptures that it is easily ~\~erlooked is the comparison of the sanctified EEe of a child of God to walking a path. The metaphorical association for the words r id , paNr, and walk wifh the conduct of one's life is so common in some parts of the Saiptures that many translations in man)- passages have eliminated the metaphorical language altogether. This not only eradicates the powrer of the metaphor, but it also deprives the reader of k l t a l connections between passages that make use of it elsewhere. There are two places in the Scriptures where language about what we wilI call the Walk is used with sigdicant repetition: Proverbs and the letters of Paul. It is our contention that Paul is actually borroh-ing much of his concept of the Walk from themes appearing in the Old Testament and articulated most dearly in the book of Proverbs. In addition, he extends many of the concepts in Proverbs to appIy them to the Christian's life as lived in Cfrrist, who redeemed his people. There is one sigruficant difference between Proverbs and Paul. Paul seldom uses &cq as a metaphor for the manner in which one lives one's life. Instead, he prefers the verb ~-~pt-ariw . Proverbs, however, frequently uses words for road, path, street, or the like in a metaphorical manner. Proverbs, moreover, employs the verb T frequently in a metaphorical manner to describe the Walk. Thus, Paul seems to be borrowing the image of the Walk from Proverbs by specifically choosing the verbal instead of the normnal associations =bile assuming the entire image as handed dow-n through the scriptural tradition he received. Andrrc E. Stei~irrmann is Professor of Theology and Hebrrc at Concordia Urzr~ersr$ Chicago. Midtael Edrelbach is Associate Prqf~-sor qfSai1 Testament Studies and Greek at Concordin Unrrm-ity Chicago. 44 Concordia Theological Quarterly 70 [2WB) %%at is the difference between Proverbs' preference for the noun and Paul's for the verb? Is it simply a personal preference? A careful studv of the use of the Walk in both Proverbs and Paul suggests that this is*nut simply a personal preference. Although Paul does not often use words connected with the Walk drawn directly from Proverbs, he is quite filmiliiu with the themes developed in Proverbs, employing them carefully to delineate his view of the Walk for Christians. AIo% with this continuity with Proverbs, there is also some distinction in Paul's dixussion of this walk due to the coming of Christ into the w-odd and the redemption he wrought. Christ is the way talked about in Proverbs, and Paul urges Christians to walk on the way that is Christ. Moreover, Paul urges his readerj to emulate Christ as they see the apostolic example of Christ's chosen ambassadors. As an apostle of Christ, Paul seeks to model the Walk in a way that points to Christ. Thus, it is alwavs the infinite richness and power of the gospel that propels the Walk while at the same time cladying the way, which is Jesus h i d . Let us then turn to the specifics about the Walk in Proverbs and Paul to see how thev reinforce each other and point to Jesus as the source and goal of the Christian's walk. I. The Walk in Proverbs Nouns for Way , Path, or Road as a Metaphor Eighty-two of the 915 verses in Proverbs use the nouns for way, path, or road. Nearly all of the occurrences of these words are employed in this metaphor, which we will call "the metaphor of the path."l The nouns and their use in Proverbs as compared to the rest of the Old Testament are: Noun Meaning Proverbs OT O/o in Proverbs -K path, course 19 62 31 % --- way, road, street, trip 75 706 11 % 1 -L-m ,-- highway 1 27 3 Oh L- ,-- pathway 7 16 44% -.-. , - , path, pathway, road 6 21 29 % 1 Only a few occurrences could arguably be excluded since the)- do not directly use these words to describe the conduct of one's life (Prov 7:8,19; 17-23). Stehmnn & Eschelbach: Walk This Way 85 illl of these nouns occur more often in Proverbs than in the rest of the Old Testament as a whole.' The most common noun used in the metaphor of the path, --. is more frequentIp used in Proverbs than any other book of the Old Testament' Clearly, the metaphor of the path is an important figure of spech in Proverbs. This is epecMy true of the Solomonic sections of the book4 The five nouns used in the metaphor are used in only five verses outside the sections attributed to Solomon,' but in seventy-eight verses in the sections attributed to So1omon.h Therefore, this metaphor is especially important to Solomon's wisdom, and most prominent in Proverbs 1:l-216, the first two Solomonic potions of Proverbs.; By means of this metaphor Solomon expresses a balance of law- and gospel in his sayings. The Wrong Path h%en treating the law, Solomon shows the negative implications of sinful paths. This path is characterized as evil, crooked, devious and wandering, dark, leading to death and Sheol, disgusting to Yahweh, and full of thorns and snares. 8 Those who frequent these pa* are described as wicked and evil, arrogant, crooked, greedy, lazy, stupid, treacherous, violent, stubborn fools, those who speak perverse things, those who despise God, and those w-ho abandon upright paths.9 This use of the metaphor of the path allows Solomon to use the law as a deterrent to sin, as when he speaks of the evil path as h a d , causing people to stumble, presenting danger, or leading them to death.10 This also allows Solomon to use the law to help others recognize their sin, subtly depicting one's own = Proverbs contains 6 x 7 Hebrew words (separately wtten vocables). The OT contaim 308,678 Hebrew words. Thus, Prorerbs is L25t of the OT by word count. The one occurrence of 7: is not statisticall?- significant 1 --- - - is w d 107 times in Ezekiel the only book where it is used more often than in Proverbs. However, since Ezekiel (18,912 words) is a much longer h k than Proverbs (6%7 words), - is used with airnost twice the frequencv in Proverbs (1.08% of all words) than in Ezekiel (0.57% of a l l words). *Rev 1-9; 101-D16; 25-29. 7 Pro\= 2225; D:19,26; 3039 (4 times), 30:20,31:3. * These five nouns are w d eight times in the mn-Solomonic sections of Proverbs or in 0.67% of the 1183 words in those sections. These same nouns are used 100 times in the portions of the h k attributed to 5olomon or in 1.73% of the 57'84 words in these W&ON. - The word -- is used five times in Prov 25-29 and the other nouns are not used at all. Unlike Solomon himself, the Hezekian editors of this section of 5olomon's proverbs did not often include proverbs that used the metaphor of the way. - Prov 232 13,15,18; 5:19,56; 72C 8.13 10:9; ll5!,12; 159,19,1&z; 225 . Prov 139; 212,13; 331; l:14,19; 8:13,19; 1235, & 13:15; 142; 159,19; 1629; 19:3. " Prov l:19; 218; 4:19; 727; 15:19; 162.5; 21:16; 225. 46 Concordia Theologica 1 Quarterly 70 (2006) sinful urges. Thus, 331 reminds readers of their own envy when it admonishes: "Do not en-- a violent person, and do not choose any of his ways." And 10:9 moves those who consider it to look as their own secret sins when it says: "Mihoe\-er walks with integrity walks secrwly, but whoever is aooked in his ways will be found out." In addition, the adulteress is characterized in 5:6 as being on the evil path: "She does not consider the path of life. Her pathways wander. She does not realize it." Those w7ho think about these statements are led to consider times when thev were like the adulteress. They, too, recall times when they did not co&ider the path of life, when they acted out of their sinful impulses. The?- also wandered and did not realize it at the time. In this way the warning about the addteress is more than a warning about breaking the Sixth Commandment but is also a warning about the insidious nature of sin and the foolishness that the adulteress reprmts . At times this accusing feature of the law is made explicit by contrasting sinful behavior to a better wav or to God's way: Go to the ant, lazybones. Observe its ways and become blse. (65) Whoever walks with integrity walks securely, but whoever is crooked in his ways will be found out (10:9) The way of a wicked person is a disgusting thing to Yahweh, but he loves those who pursue righteousness. (1519) A person considers his way pure, but Yahweh weighs motives. (162) There is a way that appears to be correct to a person, but its end is the way of death. (1625) 0ccasionall~- the metaphor of the path is used to depict the law as a guide for those whom God grants life in the gospel: Then vou will understand righteousness, justice and uprightness: every good pathwa?. (2:9) . . . because command is a lamp, and teaching is a light, and warnings coming from discipline are a road of life. (623) The Righfleous) Path In contrast to the evil path, the righteous path of the gospel does not originate from human impulses, but belongs to God, since his way is from eternity past (Prov 8:22; 10-99). The abiliq to walk on this path is a gift from God (Prov 36; 1029). This path is the path of Christ, the Wisdom of God (Prov 317; 8:20). This godly path is characterized as straight and level, upright, having justice, possessing and leading to life, having righteousness, bringing peace, creating understanding. enabling wise Ste' & Eschelbach- Walk TI& Way 47 judgment, and having w i s d o a ~ Since this path originates from God and is purely a gift of God, it is not a product of the human wiU (Prov 16:9; 2021). Note the picturesque wa)- in m-hich the path of righteous people depicted as coming to them wlthout their aid and independent of their will, just like the rising of the sum But the path of righteous people is like the coming of the Light of daw-n and m e ] light until dap is established. (k18) Humans, however, can exercise the option to leave this path and are urged not to abandon it (Frov 213,20; 1037; 1510). Those who are on the gd l? path are accounted righteous, upright or good. Since they are empawered by the gospel, they practice dixipline. are given insight, have integrity, are prudent, please God, and make their paths 1evel.l~ Solomon often uses the metaphor of the path as a means to make the promises of the gospel (both temporal and eternal) more vivid: [Yahw-eh] is a shield for those who w-alk in integritv to protect the paths of justice. He guards the of his godly ones. (27-8) Then you mil l walk safely on your wa?, and ~ o u mdl not stub ?-our toe. (32) The way of Yahweh is a fortress for the person of integrity.. . (10:29) In the path of righteousness [there is] life, and the way of that pathrva?- is not death (1223) Righteousness guards a person of integrit,-'s way.. . (13:6) A path of life leads upward for those with insight, so that he ma? turn awa). from She01 below. (15:24) [When] a man's mravs are pleasing Mings to Yahweh he makes el-en his enemies to be at peace with him (16:7) G y hair is a beautiful crowm It IS found in the wq- of righteousness. (1 631) Other h e s the metaphor of the path is used as the invitation of the gospel to repentance, faith, and trust 48 Concordin Theological Quarterly 70 (2M)6) In all vour wavs acknowledge him, and he w d l make your paths straight.(3:6) - Make level pathwavs for vour feet, and all your %cays w-ill be secure. (426) Abandon guhbiliti-, and live. Travel the road to understanding (96) Thus, the metaphor of the path is a constant and vivid figure of speech throughout Solomon's proverbs. It is Solomon's way of appl>-ing both law- and gospel to bring others to the Wisdom of God, Christ, who leads them on the path of righteousness (Ps 23:3). 1L The Verb 757 as a Metaphorical Reference to the Walk in Proverbs The verb 7- is used thirtv-eight times in --seven verses in Proverbs. Trventy of these verses and twenty-one occurrences of -? are unambiguous references to the Walk.13 Another sn occurrences are closely related to the metaphor.14 Interesfhglv, all t ~ e n h . 4 ~ of these verses occur in the Solomonic portions of pro\-erbs:'; Walking the Wrong Way O n l y five passages in Proverbs use the Walk to speak of sinful conduct. The first occurrence is in a passage that speaks of the benefit of divine Wisdom, 2rlCJ-15.. This is the only of these passages to speak of the sinful [Valk in general terms: Wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Foresight \.\-ill stand guard over you. Understanding will protect you to save vou from the evil way, from the man who speaks perverse things, tllose U+W abarz~iorz upriglzf paths to z a l k in flze ulqs qf darlxe_ss, those who enjoy doing evil (they rejoice in the perversity of evil), whose paths are crooked, and deviousness is in their pathway. (2:lO-15) Note that the opposite of an upright path is the way of darkness. This allows Solomon twice to contrast directly the upright way later in the book: "But the path of righteous people is like the cominglhf light of dawn and [like] light until day is established. The way of u-icked people is like the dark. They never know \what makes them stumble" (418-19). -- . - -= 1115; 27,13,20.23; 3-28; 6:11; 820; 10:9 (twice); 11:13; 1320; 1427; 15:12; 16:29; 19:l; 20:i. 19; 28:6,18,26. 14 4:lB; 6:22,28; 722; 14:i; 1532 " - is used twice outside the Solomonic sections of Proverbs: 23:31 and 3029 1. The word conling here ~s the Qal participle, masculine singular of -, dt ich aeates another tie between this passage and '7 10-15. Steinmann & Eschelbach: Walk This Way 49 Similarly, at 6:23 we are told: "because a command is a lamp, and teaching is a light, and warnings coming from discipline are a rwd of life." The extension of the Walk by connecting it with darkness and light is not unique to Proverbs, but is found elsewhere in the Old Testament, especialh- in Isaiah.'; This use of darkness and light in connection with the Walk is &so reflected in Paul's thought in Romans 3:f 2 and Ephesians 58. Other passages that spak of the sinful \Talk highlight spcific sinful behavior. One of these is 6:12-14: "A good-for-nothing individual, a sinfuI person-walking with a corrupt mouth, winking his eye, signaling [with] his foot, motioning [with] his fingers, pen-erse things in his heart plotting evil,-is always spreading conflict" This verse emphasizes one particular aspect of the sinful Walk. deceit and duplicity. This spedfic aspect of the sinner's Walk is denounced by Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:2 Closely related are other proverbs that speak of other sinful behaviors, including 1133 and D39, both of which condemn sins against the Eighth Commandment: Someone who walks about gossiping betrays a confidence, but one who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a private matter confidential (11:13) Someone who reveals a confidence walks about spreading gossip, so do not get involved with a person whose lips are alw,ays open (2039) Finallhr, om Proverb condemns enticing one's neighbor to sin, causing him to kalk on a bmfd path: "A violent persan entices his neighbor, and leads18 him on a way that is not good." (1529) Walkkg the Rightlems) Way The twenty-one verses that relate to the righteous Walk in Proverbs demonstrate a varieh- of ways of depicting God as the origin and sorrrce of the righteousness. The rnmtco-on phrase associated with the righteous Walk is us-aIkhg with integrity, combining t- with =, most often connected with the preposition =. He [Yahweh] reserves sound judgment for upright people. [He is] a shield for those who aiulk in intep'fy to protect the paths of justice. He guards the wavs of his godI>- ones. Then you wilI understand righteousness, juitice and uprightness: eveT); good pathway. (27-9) \.tlhoe\-er z*aIks ii~iffz integrity walks securely, but whoever is crooked in his ways will be found out. (109) :- Job 29:3; Ps 514,889:14 Isa 25,9:2; 4216; 59:9; Lam 3-7 3ffiphil@ect£romIhermt-. Better to be a poor person walking in his integn'fy than have crooked lips and be a fool. (19:l) A righteous person zalks19 in his integrity. Blessed are his children after him. (20:7) Better to be a poor person walking in his integrity than have twisted ways and be rich. (28:6) A person who zi*alks with integrzty will be safe, but a person whose ways are crooked bill fall all at once. (28:18) A synonynous concept, in uprightness," is used once: "The person who walks in uprightness fears Yahweh, but the one whose ways are devious despises him" (14:2). These sa!-ings either connect the Walk in integrity with positive concepts, specidly righteousness @ut also uprightness and justice; Pmv 27-9; 20:7), or contrast it with what is crooked or histed-m The contrast is perhaps the most definitive statement of what integrity means, since the positive concepts are associated with other Walk passages, whereas the contrast to crooked or twisted is only used in proverbs that speak of walking with integrig-. Thus, the extension of the metaphorical Wallc by the addition of integrity implies that the conduct of God's people is aligned with His w5U and is not misshapen in God's sight As we will see, this =same concept of a misshapen life appears in Paul through the use of x t p t ~ a ~ i w connected to a negatively charged word through the use of the preposition ~ a ~ a . One proverb connects wisdom with the Walk by the use of the preposition 2: "A person who trusts his own thoughts is a fool, but a person who walks in uisdom will be kept safe" (2826). This is the only other proverb that connects an abstract concept with the verb -f- through the use of the preposition =. Since it comes at the end of a section that uws three proverbs with the plus 2 construction (6.286 20), it is reasonabIe to assume that wisdom is aswchted with integrity while crookedness is associated with trust in one's own thoughts. Clearly, if trust in one's oum thoughts leads to a sinful Walk, the righteous Walk derives from God, and not from human effort or thought. The association of the Walk with wisdom is found in one other passage in Proverbs: "I [wisdom] walk on the path of righteousness, upon the 1- Sote the use of a Hithpael form of -t-. With this verb the Hithpael stem emphasizes repeated or habitual action 'We1 participle of -72; 10:9, 19:1,28:6,18. Note that 142 not only uses a s~moqym for ~nfegn ty (upngkmss), but also uses a 54mny1n of -=, -t. !5teinmam & Escrhelbach: Walk This Way 5 l pathway of justice" (820). Here, w-isdom is connected with the Walk and coordinated with righteousness and justice, sonfirming the connection of wiKtom with integrih., since these are connected with integritr; in the passages examined earlier. Elsewhere Proverbs urges the righteous \Salk by encouraging a Walk. that seeks wisdom: The person who tmlks with wise people becomes wise, but a companion of fools will be harmed. (1320) Get away" from a foolish person, since you cannot acquire knowledge from &is] lips. (147) Finally, it should be noted that 391-35 connects the righteous Walk as enabled, guided, directed, and protected by God himself. 31)- son, do not take )-our eyes off them Guard sound judgment and foresight. Thev wil l be life for )-ou and favor around your neck. Then you wiU walk-safelv on your wav, and vou w d l not stub your toe. N3en you lie down vou &I not be afraid. en you he there, your sleep will be sweet. Do i o t be afraid of sudden terror or of the destruction of wicked people w-hen it comes. Yahweh will be vour confidence. He w3l keep ?our foot horn being caught. Summary of the Walk in P r o a h According to Proverbs, evevone has a Wak. It may be the wrong \Yak characterized as spiritual darkness and derivlng from human desires beset with sin Or, it may be the righteous Walk b c t e r i z e d as lighted by God and deriving from divine favor that grants integrity and wisdom, so that Like E n d or Noah, a person can "walk with God" (Gen w 2 - 2 ; 6:9). Let us now7 turn to the writings of Paul to examine how the Walk found in the 01, speaallv m Proverbs, is developed in light of the gclspel as revealed in Christ. IIL lIWdkhg" in Pad's Epistles To this point we have seen three basic things. First, E n e h translations too frequentl!- ignore the significance of pafh,/z~aUr language. Second, Paul borrow-s the language of Proverbs with a shift from noun forms to verb forms. Third, significant repetition of these terms in Proverbs and Paul occur in positive and negative language. This half of the paper wi l l build on these points as it focuses on Paul's use of this language. Translation and Terms The King James Version, except in two instames, translates TTEPLTCIT~W as "walk," and never translates it as "live." In stark contrast to this, the New Internationid Version naper translates -rrrp~na~iw as "walk" and in nineteen of the thirtr--two times Paul uses the term, the NIV translates it simply as "live."" consider, furthermore, the cxxurrmce of the following words: rrtptza~iw (walk) 95 times (32 in Jobrmke writings, 32 in Paul) (imperative) 14 times (4 impv m John, 6 impv in Paul) && (way) 10l times (6 in Joharuine writings, 6 in Paul) caw (live) 140 times (never an imperative) $ 1 6 ~ (he) 1 time (not an imperative) The frequency of these terms indicates that the New Testament has two words that mean "live" and uses me of the terms with great frecpency. If Paul wanted to signify "live" he certainly knew how (indeed, Paul uses the term fifty-nine times). Paul dearly intends to signify "walk as he uses tfie term a full one-third of the times it occurs in the New Testament. The tenn m l k in comparison to the term line focuses on activity and movement, which suggests purpose and destination. The purpose and destination have been described in tfie first half of this paper, dre focus on activity and movement is provided by Paul. A Context for Paul's Walk Language As noted at the start of this study and immediately above, Paul uses walk language frequently but seldom uses way l a n g ~ m ~ e . ~ ~ The Old Testanrent, including Proverbs, is the natural source from which Pad drew this walk language." U'hat, then, is the historid context for Paul's use of this language? There is a good probability that Paul is writing in light of his rabbinic training with GamaEel (Acts 223) and his encounter with Judaizers in the church, both of whom emphasized kalaknh, namely the interpretation of the Old Testament as a legaI guide for the daily walk of the righteous ~ew?' In light of Paul's background as a Pharisee (Phil 3:4-7), - The ESV translates x ~ p i z a ~ i u as -a& in a11 but eleven instances. -- -' Some early Christian writings identify Jesus as "the Way" (John 144.6) and affirm that "the \vay" was a label for the early Christian church (Acts 92). 24 This basic observation, however, may be lost to readers when "walk" is not ~egdarly used to translate i i f p ~ ~ c t ~ i w in some English translahons of Paul's Epistles (e g., the Z;I\7. 3 There are two basic types of rabbinic interpretation, halnknh (exegesis that legislated dailv Me) and haggadah (non-legal exegesis based upon narrative stories or examples); S- & Esehlbach: Walk This Way 53 he had probablv frequently heard imperatives in his pre-conversion life related to walk& according to the law. Such a walk according to the law was seen by some Jews as essential to maintaining one's righteous status before God in the covenantz6 After his conversion, and in contrast to this understanding, Paul proclaimed Christ as the Righteousness of God (Rom 1:17 who has fulfilled the law (Rom 10:4) and gives us his righteousness by grace through faith (Rom 322-26). When speaking of sandication in light of Christ's fulfillment of the law, therefore, Paul does not call Christians to "walk by the law." He instead uses walk ianguage with a uarieh. of other prepositiord phases (e.g., "walk by the Spirit" Gal 516, E), & 5 i l I be demonstrated below. IV, "WaIk this Waf in P e e Tenns in Paul The first two positive uses of the term u?alk address the question of origin or power. Who is the person that walks the path intended by God? What is the origin of such a person? Three instances speak of walking "according to," "by," or "in" the Spirit-two speak of love and one speaks of faith.27 Regarding the origin of one who walks this way, as the Son of God became man through the agenq of the Holy Spirit puke 139, so Christians are regenerated by the Spirit's activity b g h the gospel. Notice how Paul links the concepts of love, Spirit, and regamation in Titus 3:4-8a, "But when the . . . lare of Gad our savior appeared . . . he saved us through the N-ashiig of regoreration and renewing of the Holy Spirit whom he poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior." Second, regarding the ability to maintain this walk, it is the Holy Spirit who provides the power and continued orientation It is the Spirit who makes the love of Christ known through the God-breathed Scriptures and further provides a liring faith to walk in this same way (2 Tim 336; Rorn 1O:li'). Kot surprisingly then, in 2 Corinthkns 5 we find the declaration of how- C h r i m w-alk, "by faith" (not an imperative), surrounded ln an abundant articulation of the activity of God for his people: "XOW--he who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has also given us the Spirit as a guarantee." "For the love of Christ holds us together . . . therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation" (2 Cor 55, 14,li'). see The Literature of the Sages: Part 1, Oral Tora, Mishna, Toseftn, Talmud, Externnl Truct~tes, ed. S. hfrai (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1987),121-209. " See Simon J. Gathercole, &%here 1s Bwsting? Enrly Jcizish Soteri~logy and Pad's R e ~ o n w in Romm 1-5 (Grand Rapids: W i n i B. kdmar t s Publishing Co., 2D02). - The Spirit Rom 8.4, Gal 5.16,2 Cor 1218; h v e : Eph 5.2, Rom 14.15; Faith- 2 Cor 57. 54 Concordin Theological Quarterly 70 (2006) Walking Worthy The next collection of positive statements about walking is tied to the word ~orflry. In Ephesians 4 1 Paul exhorts the Christians to walk "worth? of the calling with which the?- were called." Colossians 1:10 uses the language "worthy of the Lord" and I Thessalonians 212 states "worthy of God." The connection with the term u~orthy builds upon and confirms the preceding discussion about this walk being the product of divine, not human, activity. The term ulorflzy may easily be misunderstood to mean "desenkg of" in common usage. In popular literature or media one person says to the other: "I'll try to be worthy of you." This means: I will work hard and try hard to do e v e r + n g right so that I deserve you. This sense of deserr-ing something better by working harder is not what ~ L L & ? Z ~ ( G ~ I O S ) signifies in the New Testament; on the contrary, there it means to act in a way that is consistent with a preexisting standard. (It is similar to adking in integrity in Proverbs.) Thus, Paul said in Ephesians 4 that Christians already have a calling with which they were called. Considering the discussion above about regeneration, this calling includes being called into existence as a new creation (1 Cor 128; 2 Cor 517). This new creation, now1 generated by and oriented toward its creator, responds readily and positively just as God's creation responds to his commands (note for example Jesus' demonstration of power over nature in the Gospels). Similarly, a walk worthy of the Lord is not urging movement toward a god who is distant from us because he is perfect and we are not. Rather, to walk worthy of the Lord is to realize that the Lord is our origin and means of propulsion in a path that he has prepared for us (Eph 2:10). Notice that Paul's language reveals a freedom to concentrate on the Walk rather than the path since the path is well articulated in Proverbs and well established bv Christ himself. Walking in . . . The last set of positive statements is connected to the preposition in ( iv) or could be classified as aspects of good works in which Christians are to walk. The overarching locus of the Christian walk is "in him" (Eph 58; Col 26). Since all the m e s s of the godhead dwells in Christ as in a body all other characteristics of this location are included in this pronoun referring to Christ (Col2:9). The imperative that invites us to walk in him becomes concrete rather than abstract when we remember the inseparabili? of Christ from his word. Walking in Christ is not some ethereal romantic notion of spiritual traction. Walking in Christ means to walk by the power and according to the direction of his inspired word: "if you remain in my word you are my disciples indeed and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free" (John 8:31). Paul echoes the words of Christ in 1 Corinthians 15:l-2 regarding the gospel, "which I preached to you, which Steinmann & Eschelbach: Walk This Way 55 also vou received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved if >-ou hold fast. . . ." Walking in Wisdom Paul specifies four characteristics or subcategories of Christ that further d d - the Christian N-alk. First, Paul speaks of walking in wisdom (Col 1:5).zs The connection to Proverbs in general and Proverbs 8 in partiahr is obvious. h'alking in wisdom tab-ard those who are outside reminds the Christians of all the ~varnings and good counsel that Proverbs provides. For example, Proverbs 1226 reminds the faithful person to chose his friends carefullv, for the wav of the wicked will lead him astray. Paul reflects that ad\-ice in 1 corinthians 1533, "Do not be decei\-ed: ' E d cornpan>- corrupts good morals.'" However, wisdom toward those outside has more in view than simply friendships. Paul had already corrected the supposition that W i g faithful to God meant having nothing to do with anvone w7ho was unfaithful (1 Cor 59-11), Christians actively engage the &rld with good words and works just as Christ did. Yet, they are careful not to form ties with the world or the worldly that would draw them away from Christ. Thus Paul explains that Christians refuse to take on the ways of the M-orld while at the same time becoming all things to all men that some may be saved (I Cor 59-11). Similarh- he warns us neither to become unequallv voked with unbelievers nor to remain yoked with unbelievers unless a pieexisting relationship in which we find ourseh-es has potential to lead the unbeliever to Christ (2 Cor 614; 1 Cor 212-16). Another aspect of wisdom addresses the source of power and purpose for this w-ise xvalk. 1Yalking w-iseh- means maintaining a source of power for the h-alk. The wisdom of the h1orld calculates how it walks on the basis of potential for personal profit at the expense of others. This makes N-orldlv relationships selfish and vulnerable at the same time. Selfishness is foUy because it means devoting one's life to satish-ing a human nature that cannot be satisfied. A selfish walk is \ulnerabl& because the people around us are bound to fall short of our expectations at some point and because they are themselves competing with us to fulfill their owm desires. Lo\-e determined the path Jesus wralked; it was never dictated by the sinful desires of those he served. Christ is love and so never failed to love the loveless. Christians would be foolish to attempt a loving walk toward the world around them apart from that same love of Christ. Y In Eph 535 Paul also mentions &-inlorn as an aspect ot walking circumspectly. 56 Concordia Theological Quarterly 70 (2006) Walking in Looe Second, Paul speaks of waking in love (Eph 5 3 . 2 9 Looe, in view of the above discussion regarding wisdom, is what defines, motivates, and makes the Walk invulnerable. In Romans 13:9b-10 Paul summarizes all of the instruction regarding the path in Proverbs under the heading of Iove, ". . . a l l [the commandments] are summed up in this saying, namelv 'You shall love vow neighbor as yourself.' Love does a neighbor no-harm; therefore live is the -mat of the law." Love motivates one's life of service to others, always according to God's uilI that they should live according to his design in creation and trusting in his redemption in Christ. With the path of love already assumed from Proverbs and summarized by love, Paul emphasizes Christ's love as the power that puts the Walk in motion Cluist has loved us and given himself for us (Eph 5 2 ) . This is the indicative that fuels the irnperati~re that precedes i t "walk in love." Paul further articulates the power or force of this love in two places. In 2 Corinthians 514-15, Paul explains that Christ died so that those who live should live no longer for themselves but for him who died for them and rose again Paul does not mean the phrase "should . . . no longer" in the sense of ought not but in the sense of need not. Christ has provided and wdl provide for every need of the Christian. Paul saj-s these exact words: "All things are yours" (1 Cor 3:21). In the absence of necessity and the presence of infinite providence, the Christian spirit walks Io~inglv toward those outside. Thus, the Walk in love is invulnerable because It needs nothing and seeks nothing for itself from its object. The love of Christ fuels the Walk of Christian love toward others, whether they respond in faith or in hostility.30 Walking in Newness of Life Third, the Christian walks in newness of life (Rom 6~4). Again, Paul has both origin and power in view. As new creations, Christians walk with a new and different orientation. We have died to the futilitv of a self- centered walk because we have been convicted of its f0lly.3~ 14'e have been raised by and into the genius of the author of life; that life is found in God's providing for us that we might provide for others." '9 In Romans 14:15 Paul speaks ot walking "according to Iove." * So Paul assessed his own and experience in the n-orld, Phil k30-13. 3 Rom 621: "What fruit, then, did you have of the things of which you are now ashamed?" 32 Rom 6:13: "present yourselves as being alive . . . and your members as instruments of righteousness." Steinmann & Exhelback Walk This Wav 57 Walking in Good Works Finall\-, a walk in good works flows out of the netmess of life, ". . . for we are his w-orkmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared in advance that we might walk in them" (Eph 210). Notice that the workmanship or creative activi? of God comes first. The works themsell-es that God would have the Christian accomplish are also prepared in advance. God's creation and preparation is what activates the Christian walk. Notice also that Paul does not offer any further description of these good works that God has prepared (the path itself). Under this heading are included five other terms (six references) related to walking in Paul. \%Me these references all relate to good works, none of them actually specit')- the activit~ but assume the reader's familiarih' with the Old Testament and the ministrs- of Christ. First, Paul speaks of waking in a w-a!- that pleases God ( ~ P ~ G K C L ) , 1 ne5s 43). Pleasing God is not a trivial matter of c o ~ i n g up to God by doing what he fancies. h k t pleases God is integrallv related to his design in creation and his --ill that we should live and not die (Ezek 18:32). M;hat pleases God is the kind of walk by which everyone is helped.33 Second, Paul speaks of ~-s.allcing properly ( E ~ U X ~ ~ C ; L J W ~ , I Thess 412). Here Paul offers some s@c direction regarding the Walk that brings rnan~ passages in Proverbs to mind. Compare Paul's injunctions about working with your own hands to Proverbs' warning about laziness.~ Or, compare minding your own business and leading a quiet life to Proverbs' warning of meddling in other's business or provoking a neighbor.' Yet, Paul does not lose his focus on the principle: the Christian's relation to those outside the faith. Paul maintains his concern that the Christian walk is consistent with (i.e., worthy of) that of the Christ. Christians mind their own business and do so quietlv so as not to draw attention to themselves but to Christ (Isa Q2). By minding their own business, Christians are able to provide not only for themselves but a h for the needs of others (Eph 428). In this wav the theologv of Christ becomes the realit). of the Christian; God ha; given ability-and means for sening productively, this sen-ice is productive, which allows the Christian to share with those who are in need. How could a Christian speak of God's providence while constantlv depending upon the support of society? How could a Christian :' For e-~le, it pleased God to save Paui from himself and to use Paul to take the _pspel to the Gentiles that the!- might be sat-& Gal 135-16. 3 E.g, Eph 4% 1 Thess 1:11 compared with Prot- 26:13-16. ;' E.g, I Thess &I1 compared with Pros 2637-19. Sote how Paul's progression of thought in Thessalonians matches that of Proverbs 26:13-19. 58 Concordia Theological Quarterly 70 (2006) demonstrate the riches of God's rvill for people while his disciples seek only to be served by those around them? Paul uses this same thought in Romans 13:13. As in 1 Thessalonians, Paul provides a few specifics that echo Proverbs in three sets of paired terms: one set dealing with drunkenness, one with sexual immoralit?', and one with jealousy. AU three of these issues are found p~ominentl~ and often in Proverbs. Notice that the context of Romans 13 is the same &i that of Thessalonians: concern for others, including those outside the faith. Drunlcenness undermines ones ability to serve others and makes the drunk a burden instead of a blessing. Sexual immordi? defrauds both women and the men who bear responsibilitv for them of any positive consequences of sexual intimacy (1 Thess k 6 ) . Jealousv exalts one's owm ambitions o\*er love for one's neighbor. In contrast, a-~hristian walk is characterized by the fad that one is well provided for by God and, in turn, is oriented toward pro\-iding for others. Third, Paul speaks of walking circumspectly (G~pt$&,-, Eph 515). The connection -7th Proverbs is immediate as Paul clarifies: "not as u n ~ i s e but as wise." Circumspection takes into account the importance and consequence of the Walk For example, children might play games on the lines painted in parking lots, running, skipping, hopping, even walking with their eves closed and with little regard for stepping off the line. However, w ~ g a beam of the same width on a skyscraper under construction is another matter. Ironrvorkers walk circxmspctlv because there is much at stake, and mistakes are irre\rersible. So Paul explains in this context that Christians are redeeming the time because the days are evil. There is no time for a careless walk. Every step must be taken as carefdv and circumspectlv as possible, for the future of one's neighbor, indudkg those not yet in the faith, depends on it. Fourth, Paul refers to the example of the apostles, chiefly his own example (Phil 3 5 ) . The most important aspect of the apostles' walk is not the tireless, intenselv focused labor to advance the word of God, though this is important (Acts 6:4,1 Thess 2:9). The most important aspect of the apostles walk is its origin. The ori@ apostles were captive to fear and confusion until Pentecost. Paul was an enemy of the gospel until Ananias announced God's grace and baptized him. Thus it is alwavs the infinite richness and power of the gospel that propels the \Yalk whae at the same time clafiing the path. Fifth, Paul makes the Walk comprehensi\~e of the Christian life by adding: "in whatever calling you are" (1 Cor 7:17). Here Paul confronts the thinking that a Christian must walk away from the world and even away from their vocation, family, or even spouse. The Christian walk is indeed Stehmnm & Eschelbach: Walk This Way 59 counterdtural, but it is still a wak through every culture in eve? place of ever). time. A Christian walk transcends temporal, physical concerns yet remains a walk that takes place through a physical body in a physical world. It is the varied circumstances of the Christian that makes it possible for the Christian's walk to bring them into contact with and sen-ice to those that God would still reach. Mrhile the Christian's focus and perception may alwavs be more acutely attuned to eternal, spiritual goals, these goals are approached in the context of a real physical worId of present challenges and needs. V. "Walk this Way" in Negative Tenns in Paul Paul speaks of the Christian's walk under four negahve categories. Fht , Paul speaks of "walking according to [ ~ a r a ] . . . ." Paul condemns a walk that is according to "a man," according to "the flesh," and according to "this age" (1 Cor 3-3; 2 Cor 1 0 2 Eph 22). The relationship between these three as speaking of the ongoing struggle against the sinful condition is . evident3 Paul begins 1 Corinthians 3:3 h- complaining that the Corinthians are carnal or fleshly ( a a p ~ ~ ~ o i ) . Paul's evidence for this is that they are jealous and envious. Fleshly is the same term used in 2 Corinthians 1 0 2 A further explanation for whv such a walk exists among God's people is provided in Ephesians 22 h-here the course of this world defines the iVaLk of the flesh and behind both stand the "prince of the power of the air who now works in the sons of disobedience." Xot surprisingly, in the veF next verse Paul exposes the flesh as the place where all this negative motivabon coalesces. Thus, when the word walk is used in connection with the phrase "according to" the contrast is behveen Spirit and flesh Paul dexrikd those fundamental opposing forces in his earliest letter, Galatians: "I say then: Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh . . . for these are contram to each other" (Gal 516). Paul also articulates the fundamental difference between these two different walks as he notes that the Walk of the flesh is the product of human effort ("the I L ~ Q T ~ of the flesh are . . .") while the Walk of the Spirit is the product of Holy Spirit ("thefruzt of the Spirit IS . . ."). Second, Paul speaks in two places of wallring in something ( i t * ) . In 2 Corinthians 42 Paul rejects waking in crafkess (~a~*ovpyia), and in Ephesians kl7 he speaks of no longer walking like the Gentiles in the futilie- (pa~atbrq.;~) of their thoughts. These are two related statements :h - - For further discussion of Paul's understanding oi the sinful condition, see CharIes X Gieden , "Chigird Sin m the Xew Testament," Cunmrdu~ cluntal31(2005): 36-5-374, because each person's walk takes place befcn-e God in his creati~n.~; There is no cunning way to beat the system, to contradict God's law and design and k b y to profper &emally. As Paul explained to the Romans: "For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the lam-'' (Rom 232). Paul is clearly W g from the kind of conviction that Proverbs creates as it c&tently reminds the reader that there is no escaping the consequences of one's actions, for example "Can a man take fire to his bosom and his clothes not be burned" (Prov 6-27))? Warnings about walking in aaftkess and futility have their contrast in the positive injunctions to walk w d y of the Lord and his calling. That is, Christians are to walk in a way that is consistent with the design and intent of the creator and redeemer. The way or walk of the Lord that accomplished both our creation and redemption is the way or walk he continues in the life of his children. Third, Paul warns with "wallring as . . ." language in three places.* Paul laments that many walk as "enemies of the cross of Christ" (Phil 318). He reminds the Colossians that thev once walked as "sons of disobedience," and warns the Ephesians not to walk as fools (vioi'~ 73s cix~%ias, Col 36-8; Eph 5:15). Psalm 531 makes dear that in biblical thought the word +I r e f d to a person who denied by his walk that there was the living God. An adamant denial of Cod is evident in the fact that he will not be permaded (&.rre~%w). Having denied God, the fool replaces the Walk intended by the creator of life with his own walk "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes," and "There is a way that seem right to man but its end is the way of death" (Prov 12:15,14:12). Yet denying God is not sufficient for the disobedient; they become d e s of that which most clearly expresses the nature of God and exposes the folly of men, the cross of Christ. Thus Paul speaks at length of human opposition to God's means of accomplishing our salvation by saaificing himself (1 Cor 1:18-31). No human caught up in sin would make such a sacrifice, and no human enslaved bv sin can tolerate this, since sin convinces ( T E L ~ ~ U ) us that sacrificing others for our OWTI comfort makes the most sense. The Walk of faith contradicts all human thought because it is the product of divine regeneration and animated by the Holy Spirit through the inexhaustible means of grace. Finally, Paul exhorts the Thessalonians twice not to walk in a disorderly manner ( ~ ~ T ~ K T W S , 2 Thess 3:6,11). Paul provides a more specific meaning 37 Prov 521 "For a man's ways are before the eyes of the Lord . . . His own iniquities entrap the wicked man and he is caught in his own sin" * E i k stated e x p l y with is M implied. Steinmann L Eschelbachr Walk This Way 61 for the term positively and negatively. In 2 Thess 36, he contrasts the disorderly walk with the tradition received from the apostolic compan! (Phil 317). In 2 Thess 311, Paul dxifies the negative aspect -7th the words: "not working at all." The Christian walk is one that is directed and empowered b ~ - God w, &at the one walking might communicate this providence of God in senice to others. One who does not walk this way offers nothing to others except the burden of his o m self-indulgence. Paul, like Proverbs, has spoken at length about the producti\-e walk of the faithfuI in contrast to the destructive ways of the faithless. The way in Proverbs becomes the walk in Paul, because in Christ's suffering and death the one who is "the Way" gives his people the power to walk, guides them on his path, and leads them to his righteousness. In Proverbs God's Old Testament people were taught that the righteous path belonged to God. There the path was used to make the promises of God more vivid and invite readers to faith and the subsequent sanchfied walk before God in righteousness and purity. WMe the Walk is also used in Proverbs in passages designed to be a deterrent to sin (first use of the law), a reading of Proverbs that sees only such passages and ignores the invitation of God to life through Chrkt, the Wisdom of God, is pointless madking. Instead, a comprehensive reading of the Walk in Proverbs reveals that it prepared God's andent people for the corning of the Savior In. inviting them to believe the gospel, which is God's power that enables them to walk the sanctified path of life. Paul expands on the concepts cormeckd to the Walk in Proverbs bx- explaining them in light of the ministry of Christ to save sinners. pail assums that his readers know that the path is Christ himself. Therefore, to walk in the path is to walk in Christ to walk in love as Christ lox-ed them, to walk in newness of life that Christians have in their risen Lord, to m-alk in good works that Christ has prepared for them. W'hile not directlv referring to Proverbs, Paul in essence invites his readers to ponder tho& ancient wisdom sayings as he expounds on it means to walk in a w-a\- that pleases the Lord, to walk properly, and to waIk circumspectly. ~ i k e Prokrerbs, Paul, bo, can speak about the walk in negative terms, emplosing the first use of the law. However, like Proverbs, Paul is not simpI>- moralizing but constantly understands the difference between the vr-orld's walk according to the flesh and the Christian's walk in Christ, the path of life. In the light of Christ, the Walk is illuminated, and those who wallc on it do so because of the gospel. This was true already for the M'aLk in 62 Concordia TheolqiuzZ Quarterly 70 (2006) Proverbs. Yet with the coming of Christ in the flesh, Paul is able to explain the full implications that were latent in Proverbs' words. For him the Walk is now available to even-one who believes in Christ because we now have the mysteq of God revealed in Jesus, who is himself the Way.