God bless you in the name of Jesus Christ, in whose steps we are to walk (I Peter 2:21).
What a joy and privilege we have to walk with our heavenly Father. He so wants us to enjoy the pleasure of His company. Not only does He want us to walk with Him, He is specific in His Word about how to do so. He tells us both what not to do and what to do. In the eight uses of “walk” in Ephesians we will find apropos directions for those who want to know.
All eight occurrences are the Greek verb peripateō. It is composed of two roots, peri (around), and pateō (walk). Literally it means to “walk around.” Figuratively, it denotes the sphere of one’s existence or one’s manner of life. It also refers to how one regulates one’s life or conducts one’s self. In Ephesians we will see both what it is not and what it is.
Peripateō, occurs 95 times in the New Testament. It is a compound of the words peri and pateō. The word peri means around and suggests the idea of something that is encircling. In many cases it means concerning, but in this case, it expresses the idea of encircling. The word pateō means to walk. It denotes the movement of the feet, and it can be translated to walk, to stride, or to tread. When these two words are compounded into one as they are here in Ephesians, it means to habitually walk around in one general vicinity. Thus, this word peripateō was often translated as the word “live” or conduct one’s life. Hence it suggests someone who has walked in one region for so long that it has now become his environment or place of daily activity. It portrays someone who has walked one path so habitually that it is how he lives and functions.
First, let’s read all eight:
Wherein in time past ye walked [peripateō] according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk [peripateō] in them.
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk [peripateō] worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk [peripateō] not as other Gentiles walk [peripateō], in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
And walk [peripateō] in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk [peripateō] as children of light:
See then that ye walk [peripateō] circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
On the negative side:
1. The believer is to abandon the life he once “walked,” which was according to the course of this world under the influence of Satan in disobedience (2:2). The aorist tense verb sums up the sinner’s entire life of rebellion.
2. He is not to “walk” as the Gentiles do, with a vain, empty, unproductive mind (4:17). We are not to be influenced by the world nor yield to the vanity of the way the world thinks. The present tense form indicates that the child of God does not permit vain thinking to dominate him.
3. The saint is not to “walk” in an unwise fashion (5:15). The term “unwise” literally suggests “as a fool.”
Then on the positive side:
1. The believer is to walk as the workmanship of God, who made us new creatures in our new birth. 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).
2. The child of God is required to “walk” worthily of the high calling he has with lowliness, meekness, longsuffering, and forbearance, diligently maintaining the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (4:1-3).
3. We must “walk” (present tense – consistently) in love (agapē – the love of God we manifest that is dedicated to the spiritual interests of others), just as Christ loved us, having demonstrated such by the sacrifice of himself (5:2).
4. 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.
5. 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 the divine revelation.