The Word of God sets forth very clearly what our walk should be like and how to walk. The word “walk” is a Hebrew idiom, meaning our life, or to live. To walk means “to regulate one’s life, to conduct oneself.” So if the Bible shows what our walk should be like, it shows how we should regulate our lives and conduct ourselves. Thus it is the walk of our life. This study will examine a small portion of this topic by looking at the adjectives used with the word for walk to see what are the most important things to do in our everyday life.
The use of the term “to walk” to describe living and conducting ourselves is singularly apropos. If we look for a moment at what a physical, literal walk is not, it will be easy to see this. A walk is not a run. It is slower, more steady, where there is plenty of time to look around at the scenery. Compared to running, a walk does not require extreme exertion of energy. A walk is not a sprint. Sprinting means running full force but only for a limited time and distance. A man could walk steadily at a reasonable pace for almost as long as necessary (especially with daily periods of sleep!) o walk is not to be a gymnast or a wrestler or any other particular sport which would require very highly developed muscles and skills. Not everyone is able to be a great gymnast, but everyone can be a great walker. Several other contrasts to note are: to walk does not mean to take a few steps and sit down. It implies continuous movement. Also, a walk is a relatively small step by small step process, not the broad jump or flying leaps of dancers. It can be slow or fast paced, but it is always one step at a time, one foot following the other.
With these things in mind, let us look briefly at the adjectives used in the New Testament describing walking. The first word used is axios, meaning “worthily or in balance.”
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
Walking worthily is to walk in balance. If we relate this to physical walking, we can understand how crucial it is. If we walked with our bodies tipped far to the right or left, or even backward or forward,
it would be very difficult to get anywhere. God designed the physical body to walk in an upright position, in balance. So our life walk is to be held in balance, “of the calling,” having both doctrinal and practical sides. This verse introduces the last half of Ephesians which is all about the practical walk.
The results of this balanced walk, life, are stated further in Colossians.
That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
The results of a balanced walk in the Lord, in fellowship with Him are: 1) fruitfulness in every good work, 2) increasing, abounding in the knowledge of God, 3) being strengthened with all might, and 4) patience with joyfulness. To walk physically, even as doctors and health advisors say, is the best exercise where almost all areas of the body are strengthened and vitalized.
The next adjective used with walk is euschemos, meaning honestly, becomingly. Physically I think of walking gracefully, head held high, shoulders back. In life it means to conduct one’s life with integrity and with grace. Integrity and honesty in all of our dealings in life is crucial to have good results. Gracefulness and ease comes in life by living in and by God’s grace. He made us lovely and acceptable in His sight (Ephesians 1:4.) These two factors, integrity and grace make our walk, our life, beautiful.
I Thessalonians 4:12:
That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.
That is a great promise for this life if we walk honestly: we will have lack of nothing. It reminds me of many other promises in the Bible, such as Matthew 6:33, Philippians 4:16 and II Corinthians 9:8.
The third adjective, akribos, is used with “walk” only in one verse in Ephesians 5:15.
See then that ye walk circumspectly, [akribos] not as fools, but as wise,
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
Akribos means diligently, precisely, with perfect manner, accurately. It was used in Greek literature to describe how a person would climb a mountain. A related word is akribestatos used in Acts 26:5 where Paul described himself as living “after the most straightest sect of our religion” as a Pharisee. How to walk circumspectly is spelled out in the following verses in Ephesians 5. We need to redeem the time, take advantage of every opportunity to serve, to love, to care, by determining and understanding what the will of the Lord is. He will guide us in a precise manner even though we are in the middle of evil days.
The fourth word used with “walk” is the adverb, ataktos.This word means “irregularly, disorderly, unruly.” It is used two times in II Thessalonians 3.
II Thessalonians 3:6, 11-12:
Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
The tradition that they received from Paul was not a certain method of work but a lifestyle where he diligently and quietly worked to take care of his own physical needs. That is what “disorderly” is – to expect others to always take care of you and to be busybodies, meddling in other people’s affairs. It says not to “hang out” with people who live like that. To say this positively, one should live his life with quietness and taking care of his own family. This reminds me of Titus 1:7-11 which is the passage that describes the qualifications of a bishop or elder. An elder should be “a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught…”
The last adjective used with “walk” is the word for acting uprightly, orthopodeo. It literally means to be “straight-footed.” It is to walk in a straight line, not crookedly. The passage where this word is used is in Galatians 2 when Peter came to Antioch and influenced other believers to go back to the Jewish customs.
But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
Truth is the straight line by which we walk. If we veer off the path and walk according to the traditions of men, we will not be “straight-footed.” I believe this straight path has to do with not getting tricked by all the fronts of idolatry. Idolatry, not putting God first, is disguised by self, others, the environment and religion. Anyone who looks at anything other than God and His Word will start to walk in that direction and end up stepping aside. That is what happened to Peter in Antioch and we can prevent it from happening to us when we walk on the straight path of truth.
These five descriptions of how to walk paint a beautifully complete picture of the kind of conduct we should have in our everyday life. We are to keep in balance, not emphasizing doctrine more than practice. We are to live with honesty and integrity and thus will have lack of nothing. We are to walk with accuracy and precision, discerning what the will of the Lord is. We are to live in quietness, working to take care of our own affairs. We are to walk straight-footed on the truth of the gospel and not be tricked by any traditions of men. The walk of the Word is like physical walking, keeping upright, head and shoulders back, one precise step at a time on a straight path.