Wednesday, May 14, 2014

"Walking" in the Spirit: Examining the "Two Ways" Motif in Jewish Literature as it Relates to the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5

"[This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh," Galatians 5:16

In Jewish thought, there are only 2 paths to follow.  We see this not only in Yeshua's sermons:

"13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."  (Matthew 7:13-14)
But we also see this in the Tanak itself:

"Ye shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess," (Deut. 5:33)


"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night," Psalm 1:1-2

So it should come as no surprise that Paul, a Hebrew of Hebrews, uses this same motif when contrasting the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5.  It's a diametrical concept, either you've got the fruit or you've got the flesh, you've got love or you've got hate, you've got light or you've got darkness.

Here's some miscellaneous notes you might find interesting:

Sacra Pagina: Galatians by Frank J. Matera

pg. 206  "Paul's initial advice is that the Galatians should 'walk' by the Spirit, that is, conduct themselves in a manner that accords with the Spirit.  The expression 'to walk' in the Spirit is related to the OT idea of walking (Hebrew: halak) in the commandments of the Lord.  It implies conducting one's life in a particular manner.  Thus in Deut 5:33 Moses says, 'You shall walk in all the way which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you.'  And the Psalmist writes, 'Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers, but delights in the Law of the Lord' (Ps 1:1-2)...To walk in the Spirit, then, means to conduct one's life in a particular way, a way which excludes opposing conduct."

pg. 208 "A more helpful model for understanding [the fruit of the Spirit] is found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Manual of Discipline (1QS 3:13-4:26).  1 QS is an example of the genre of the Two Ways, a genre also found in early Christian literature of the second century (Didache 1-5...).  According to 1QS, God provided two spirits by which humanity 'walks' until the day of God's...visitation:  the spirit of truth which springs from a fountain of light, and a spirit of falsehood which springs from a source of darkness.  While the spirit of truth leads to 'a spirit of humility, patience, abundant charity, unending goodness, understanding, and intelligence' (1QS4:3), the ways of the spirit of falsehood are 'greed, and slackness in the search for righteousness, wickedness and lies, haughtiness and pride, falseness and deceit, cruelty and abundant evil' (1QS 4:9, 11...)."  

pg. 210  "One might expect that Paul would entitle his second list, 'the works of the Spirit.'  Instead the Apostle speaks of the singular fruit of the Spirit (ho karpos tou pneumatos) which manifests itself in different ways....
     Unlike the first list which purposely gives a sense of disorder and confusion, this list consists of three triads which give a sense of order and harmony:
     love, joy, peace
     patience, kindness, goodness
     faith, gentleness, self-control"

The Didache:  Its Jewish Sources and its Place in Early Judaism and Christianity

pg. 202 "The Matthean Two Ways saying at the beginning of the final section of the Sermon on the Mount stands out because of the antithetical parallelism describing two roads.  The easy way, 'leading to destruction,' and the hard way, 'leading to life,' confront the readers with an ultimatum.  The choice is between these alternatives and there is no middle way...Entering the narrow means of bearing good fruit (7:17)....The right way is responding to the words of Jesus which, effectively, is his exposition of the Law (5:17 and 7:12), as it is delivered in the Sermon on the Mount."

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