Way This word has now in ordinary parlance so entirely forsaken its original sense (except in combination, as in "highway,"" causeway"), and is so uniformly employed in the secondary or metaphorical sense of a "custom" or "manner," that it is difficult to remember that in the Bible it most frequently signifies an actual road or track. Our translators have employed it as the equivalent of no less than eighteen distinct Hebrew terms. Of these several had the same secondary sense which the word "way" has with us. Two others (אֹרִח and נָתַיב) are employed only by the poets, and are commonly rendered "path" in the A.V. But the term which most frequently occurs, and in the majority of cases signifies (though it also is now and then used metaphorically) an actual road, is דֶּרֶך, derek, connected with the German treten, and the English "tread." It may be truly said that there is hardly a single passage in which this word occurs which would not be made clearer and more real if "road to" were substituted for "way of." Thus Ge 16:7, "the spring of the road to Shur;" Nu 14:24, "the road to the Red Sea;" 1Sa 6:12, "the road to Bethshemesh;" Jg 9:37, "the road to the oak of Meonenim;" 2Ki 11:19, "the road to the gate." It turns that which is a mere general expression into a substantial reality. In like manner the word ὁδός in the New Test. is almost invariably translated "way." Mr 10:32, "They were on the road going up to Jerusalem;" Mt 20:17, "and Jesus took the twelve disciples apart in the road"out of the crowd of pilgrims who, like themselves, were bound for the Passover.

There is one use of both derek and ὀδός which must not be passed over, viz. in the sense of a religious course. In the Old Test. this occurs but rarely, perhaps twice: namely in Am 8:14, "the manner of Beersheba," where the prophet is probably alluding to some idolatrous rites then practiced there; and again in Ps 139:24, "look if there be any evil way," any idolatrous practices, "in me, and lead me in the everlasting way." But in the Acts of the Apostles ὁδός, "the way," "the road," is the received, almost technical, term for the new religion which Paul first resisted and afterwards supported. See Ac 9:2; Ac 19:9,23; Ac 22:4; Ac 24:14,22. In each of these the word "that" is an interpolation of our translators, and should have been put into italics, as it is in Acs 24:22.

The religion of Islam is spoken of in the Koran as "the path" (et-tarik, 4:66), and " the right path" (1:5, 4:174). Gesenius (Thesaur. page 353) has collected examples of the same expression in other languages and religions. SEE ROAD.

Bible concordance for WAY.

Definition of way

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

Topical Outlines Nave's Bible Topics International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online King James Bible King James Dictionary

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