Embracing Grace: The Way of Love

A 365 Day Devotional Journal

Day 31

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 14:1-3; Ephesians 5:1-2

Photo Credit: Petr Kratochvil; www.publicdomainpictures.net

Ask any Bible scholar and he will tell you the various authorized Bible translations essentially say the same thing but go about it in differing ways. The result is a compilation of word nuances certain to make a detailed study of the Bible a joy to any student of the Word. I love the hunt for hidden treasure, that comparing of passages against each other to see what insights I may glean. One version I am not usually drawn to is the New International Version, but today is different.

While reading the NIV (New International Version) today, I stopped to think (usually a good sign,) cocking my head at two passages. Both times was when I stumbled upon the phrase the way of love. The first instance comes in 1 Corinthians 14:1, “Follow the way of love,” and again in Ephesians 5:1, “Walk in the way of love.” Other versions simplify it to say follow love or walk in love.

I like what NIV accomplishes here by specifying how to follow or walk in love, and by doing so in its way.

Follow can mean “to accept as guide, authority; give allegiance; obey; imitate; go in pursuit of; to try for or attain to.”1 Walk is more straightforward, however:

Follow implies a change or conformance to one direction, whereas walk suggests a steadfast continuance along the path of that direction.

Way is one of those English words which carries varying shades of nuance. The word originates from Old English, weg, for “road, path, course of travel.”2 World English Dictionary defines way (noun) as just that, but note the additional, subtle distinctions:

“A route or direction; a means or line of passage; a journey; characteristic style or manner; habits; idiosyncrasies; the experience or sphere in which one comes into contact with thing; a guide along which something can be moved; a course of life including experiences, conduct: the way of sin.3

Going back to the two scripture passages containing, “follow the way of love” and “walk in the way of love”, I then can plug in some of these descriptors to better define “way of love:”

Follow and walk the route or direction of love
Follow and walk the journey of love
Follow and walk the characteristic style or manner of love    
Follow and walk the habits or idiosyncrasies of love             
Follow and walk the experience or sphere of love                  
Follow and walk the course of life of love                             
Follow and walk the conduct of love 
 

Take a moment to reflect on these words and suddenly I find that walking the path of love is not mystical or difficult. Meditate on these words and it becomes a clear cut means by which I attain God’s will on earth.

The reason delineations like these are helpful is that they lay out specifically how to follow and walk in love. Finally, we must understand what kind of love we’re talking about. Once we know that, we can connect the dots and end up with a fuller understanding of how to walk in love.

I suspect that were you to ask ten random people on the street for their definition of “love,” you likely would get at least five different types of responses, some of which are subcategories. For example, the statement “I love coffee,” is connected to a physical dependency on a chemical that makes us more alert, and this does not take into the account the flavors, some of which are rather amazing.

Oh, you must like coffee.

Duh.

Juan and I were buds once, but then I dumped him for the real thing. You know, the freshly ground stuff: coffee snobbery at its best, but I digress.

To be continued…

Or as my husband would say, “Tune in tomorrow to find out if Sally fell off the cliff or not…”

Read: 1 Corinthians 14:1-3; Ephesians 5:1-2. Journal your private thoughts.

Father God, Thank you for gifting us with humor and for having a sense of humor Yourself. You did, after all, make us. Please use the joy of humor to not only be a change point of growth in us, but also a blessing to others. For Jesus’ sake, and for the kingdom’s, amen.

____________________

1“follow.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 07 Mar. 2011. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/follow>.
2 “way.” Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. 07 Mar. 2011. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/way>.
3 “way.” Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. 07 Mar. 2011. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/way>.

Copyright © 2011, Érin Elise

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