Walking Worthy – an exercize in definition

WalkingIt is tempting to go only to the dictionary to define terms.  When you do that you find a number of definitions for most words, and the more used the word, the greater number of definitions.  How do you decide which is the meaning intended?  Context.

So I applied that to Ephesians 4:1-6

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

What is meant by walking in a manner worthy of the calling?  Well you have consider where these words are found.  Ephesians is largely about the people of God (the church) and what we are called to be in the world.  There are themes of election and unity along with attitudes of accepting and serving.

As I looked at this passage, it seemed to me that “a manner worthy” is at least partially defined with verses 2 and 3.  Here are attitudes that we need to have in the church: humility and gentleness, bearing and loving, unity and peace.  The walk worthy of the church is to live in harmonious unity as a community.

What then is the calling?  I think this is where the “ones” come in from verses 4-6.  We are called to one body, which exists by the work of God the Holy Spirit, and called to one hope, faith and baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus.  All this is at the call and direction of God the Father.

I went to a concordance and found within Ephesians this many references to the various “ones” in verses 4-6: Body (8); Spirit (15); Hope (3); Lord (26); Faith (10); Baptism (1); God (33); Father (10).  These words have enough uses in the context of Ephesians to give a clear indication of which definition and what application Paul has in mind.  

In short we are called to the great commandments:

  • Love God and
  • love others (especially as the church in the world)
  • by living in a manner characterized by humility and patience.


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