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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Walk (2)

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WALK.1. περιπατεῖν. The passages in the Gospels where this word occurs may be classified as follows: (1) ‘To move along leisurely on foot without halting.’ It is used in this literal sense of our Lord’s walking by the Lake (Matthew 4:18 περιπατῶν δέ),—the words following show that the subject of His thoughts as He walked was the analogy between Peter and Andrew’s present occupation and the work to which He was about to call them, that of ‘fishers of men,’—Mark 1:16 has the more vivid παράγων παρά, ‘passing along by’ (Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 , cf. LXX Septuagint Psalms 128:8); of His walking near Jordan, when His mien as He passed riveted John’s gaze (John 1:36); of His walking on the sea (Mark 6:48-49, Matthew 14:25-26, John 6:19ἐπὶ τῆς θαλάσσης in Mk. and Jn., ἐπὶ τὴν θάλασσν in Mt.).

‘The genitive points to the apparent solidity of the water under His feet (cf. Mark 6:47 ἑπὶ τῆς γῆς), the accusative to the progress implied in περιπατῶν’ (Swete, St. Mark, 130). Cf. LXX Septuagint Job 9:8 περιπατῶν ὡς ἑπʼ ἐδάφους ἑπὶ θαλάσσης, Job 38:16 ἦλθες δὲ ἐπὶ πηγὴν θαλάσσης, ἐν δὲ ἰχνεσιν ἀβύσσου περιεπάτησα, Sirach 24:5 ἐν βάθες ἀβύσσων περιεπάτησα. Particular OT events also form suggestive parallels: Exodus 14:22 (cf. Psalms 77:19-20, Habakkuk 3:15), Joshua 3:16, 2 Kings 2:8; 2 Kings 2:14.

Our Lord’s walking on the sea reveals Him as making material nature an instrument through which His interest in us is shown (Illingworth, Div. Immanence1 [Note: designates the particular edition of the work referred] , 124), as coming to our aid across the troubled waters in which our conflict lies (Westcott, Characteristics of Gosp. Mir.1 [Note: designates the particular edition of the work referred] , 15, 19), and so leading us to the confidence expressed in Romans 8:28; Romans 8:35. The same word is used also of Peter’s walking on the sea (Matthew 14:29 περιεπάτησεν ἐπὶ τὰ ὓδατα), so that it is incorrect to say that Peter merely ‘attempted’ to walk on the water: the words imply that he made some progress in going to Jesus. By the invitation ‘Come!’ Jesus expressed His warm sympathy with Peter in his desire for closer fellowship with Him, and gave a pledge that He would support him in the enterprise of his faith. The cause of his temporary failure was his betaking himself again to his own resources after having committed himself to a course that involved full dependence on Christ’s strength. Then, after the grasp of our Lord’s hand had revived his faith, he was really enabled to carry through what he had undertaken, probably walking on the sea with Jesus in returning to the boat (cf. A. B. Davidson, Waiting upon God, 241, 250). Two texts, John 15:5 and Philippians 4:13, show how we should apply this narrative to ourselves. περιπατεῖν is also used: of men’s gait, whereby the blind man who was being gradually restored to sight recognized the true nature of the objects which he would otherwise have taken for trees (Mark 8:24 βλέπω τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ὅτι ὡς δένδρα ὁρῶ περιπατοῦντας, ‘I see men; for I perceive objects like trees, walking’; cf. Judges 9:36; Swete, in loc.); of people’s walking over hidden graves (Luke 11:44 : see Woe); of the scribes, τῶν θελόντων περιπατεῖν ἐν στολαῖς (Luke 20:46 || Mark 12:38 ‘love to go in long clothing,’ Authorized Version ; see Dress); and in the question with which the Risen Lord began the conversation with His two disciples whom He joined on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:17 τίνες οἱ λόγοιοὑς ἁντιβάλλετεπεριπατοῦτες; cf. Mark 16:12).

(2) Of those to whom Jesus miraculously restored the power of walking: the paralytic (Mark 2:9 || Matthew 9:5, Luke 5:23). No passage in the Gospels is more significant of the character, or more persuasive of the credibility, of our Lord’s miracles of healing than this. He says to the paralytic, ‘Son, thy sins be forgiven thee’; and in order that those who cavil at this saying ‘may know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins,’ He commands him, ‘Arise, take up thy bed, and walk,’ which was, from their point of view, a harder thing for Him to say, because it could at once be proved whether His words had any effect. The miracle is thus an outward and visible sign of something greater than bodily healing; it points to an inward and spiritual power, destructive of evil, now present among men. It is implied that disease is the physical effect of sin (cf. John 5:14), and by healing the one our Lord gives an evidence of His power to destroy the other (cf. 1 John 3:8). He teaches that the perfect idea of redemption is realized in ‘a redeemed soul in a redeemed body,’ and that He is come to deliver the entire personality of man, soul and body, from the dominion of evil (cf. Illingworth, l.c. 97). Man forgiven is enabled to ‘walk and not faint’ (Isaiah 40:31), and this looks forward to the time when ‘the inhabitant of Zion shall not say, I am sick; the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity’ (Isaiah 33:24, cf. Revelation 7:14-17). So of the impotent man at Bethesda (John 5:8-9; John 5:11-12—a Sabbath miracle: the others being Mark 1:23; Mark 1:31; Mark 3:1 and ||, Luke 13:14; Luke 14:3, John 9:14); the lame who walk (Matthew 11:5; Matthew 15:31, Luke 7:22; cf. LXX Septuagint Isaiah 35:3 ἰσχύσατεγόνατα παραλελυμένα, also Isaiah 35:6; Acts 3:6; Acts 14:3); also of the daughter of Jairus whom our Lord raised from the dead (Mark 5:42 περιεπάτει, ‘she began walking about’). In all His raisings from the dead there was an immediate restoration of the bodily powers (Luke 7:15, John 11:44).

(3) It is also used in a special sense of our Lord’s life of movement and unwearied activity. This use of περιπατεῖν is peculiar to St. John. In John 11:9-10 Jesus speaks in parabolic fashion, first of His having a full working day (cf. John 9:4) of twelve hours, during; which He walks in the light of life without fear of danger in the path of His heavenly Father’s will, and then of the coming on of the night of death, when walking, as regulated by present conditions, will be ended for Him; because it is His enemies’ ‘hour,’ coinciding with that permitted to ‘the power of darkness’ (Luke 22:53; cf John 13:30; Plummer, St. Luke, 513; Camb. Bib. St. John, 230). John 6:66 ‘many went back,’ καὶ οὐκέτι μετʼ αὐτοῦ περιεπάτουν; the last words picture His journeyings to and fro, in which they had been in the habit of accompanying Him on foot, and hearing His teaching. In the same sense: John 7:1, ‘walked in Galilee, for he would not walk in Jewry’; John 10:23 walking in the Temple (‘ut in sua domo,’ Beng.; cf. Mark 11:27); John 11:54 ‘walked no more openly among the Jews.’ This use of περιπατεῖν is also found in Revelation 2:1 of our Lord’s life of activity in His exalted state: ‘walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks,’ as if journeying forth by the circular route which, after traversing all the Churches mentioned, returns to Ephesus (Ramsay, Letters to the Seven Churches, ‘Letter to the Church in Ephesus,’ Introduction). It is likewise used by our Lord of Peter’s working life (John 21:18 περιεπάτεις ὅπου ἤθελες, as when he had said to his fellow-disciples, ‘I go a fishing,’ v. 3), and of the life of the redeemed (Revelation 3:4 περιπατήσουσι μετʼ ἐμοῦ ἐν λευκοῖς; cf. Zechariah 3:4; Zechariah 3:7), which is thus suggestively represented as a life of action conjoined with purity (cf. 1 John 3:2-3).

(4) ‘To act and behave in any particular manner,’ ‘to pursue a particular course of life’: Mark 7:5 (the only passage in the Synoptic Gospels where περιπατεῖν is used in this sense—‘why walk not thy disciples κατὰ τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν πρεσβυτέρων’; κατὰ indicating conformity with a standard [as in Romans 8:4; Romans 14:15, 2 Corinthians 10:2-3, Ephesians 2:2; Win.-Moul. 500]. הֲלִכִה in Rabbinical language is ‘the rule by which men must walk’ [הִלךְ]; cf. Swete, in loc.; see Tradition), John 8:12, where the condition of ‘not walking in darkness’ (= ignorance and self-deception, narrowness, joylessness, and death) is stated to be our ‘following the Light of the world,’ Jesus our Sun (cf. John 11:9, Psalms 27:1, Isaiah 9:2; Isaiah 42:5; Isaiah 60:19-20, Malachi 4:2), whose rising is the signal to awake and work (Ephesians 5:14, Hebrews 3:13), and whose movement as He mounts to attain His perfect day is a call to progress in righteousness and love (Psalms 19:5, Proverbs 4:18, Philippians 3:14). St. Paul developed this figure: he who follows the Light of the world becomes himself ‘light in the Lord’ (Ephesians 5:8-9, 1 Thessalonians 5:5). Cf. John 12:35 (‘fides non est deses sed agilis in luce,’ Bengel. So also is love, 1 John 2:9-11).

περιπατεῖν is used of the conduct of life; Aquila, Genesis 5:22 (Enoch) περιεπάτει σὺν τῷ θεῷ, where LXX Septuagint has εὐηρεστησε (cf. Hebrews 11:5); LXX Septuagint 2 Kings 20:3, Ps 11:9 (12:8), Proverbs 8:20, Ecclesiastes 11:9. St. Paul uses τεριπατεῖν in the ethical sense thirty times, and it is found in this sense in all his Epistles except Philem. and the Pastorals. He has also another word for ‘to walk’ which is not found in the Gospels (στοιχεῖν, ‘to march in file’). This word ‘may imply a more studied following of a prescribed course than περιτατεῖν’ (Ellic. on Gal. 122). Compare with the passages in St. John’s Gospel, 1 John 1:6-7; 1 John 2:6-11, 2 John 1:4, 3 John 1:3-4

2. πορεύεσθαι is used in the same sense as περιπατεῖν (3) in Luke 13:33 ‘I must walk to-day, and to-morrow, and the day following’; ‘I must go on my way,’ Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 . ‘The duration of my course is ordained by God, and no power on earth can shorten it: (cf. John 11:9 f.; Burkitt, Gosp. Hist. and its Transmission, 95). It is used in the same sense as περιπατεῖν (4) in Luke 1:6 (‘walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless’); cf. LXX Septuagint Proverbs 10:9 (with Barrow’s Sermon) 14:2, Micah 6:8 πορεύεσθαι μετὰ κυρίου θεοῦ σου, ‘to walk humbly with thy God,’ Authorized Version and Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 .

3. διἐρχεσθαι, ‘to pass through’: Matthew 12:43 (|| Luke 11:24) ‘walketh through dry places,’ ‘passeth through,’ Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 (cf. Psalms 106 (107):35). ‘Apart from humanity, evil powers have only an empty, unproductive existence; and accordingly they lie in wait continually for the opportunity to return to the world of men, and to set up their abode there’ (Martensen, Dogmatics, 196).

Literature.—Swete, Com. on St. Mark; A. B. Davidson, Waiting upon God; J. H. Jowett, Thirsting for the Springs, 167; Illingworth, Div. Immanence; Westcott, Characteristics of the Gospel Miracles; Hatch and Redpath, Concordance to the LXX Septuagint .

James Donald.


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Hastings, James. Entry for 'Walk (2)'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdn/w/walk-2.html. 1906-1918.

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