LUKE’S USE OF “THE WAY” TO DESCRIBE CHRISTIANITY: JESUS’ FOLLOWERS AS LIVING IN RIGHT RELATIONSH

Luke’s use of the Way in the book of Acts is reminiscent of the path in Proverbs (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22), both describe man’s relationship with God. There exist several similarities between how the Way and how the path function within Proverbs and Acts. With all the resemblances, does Luke intentionally allude or call his readers to think of the path from the book of Proverbs, and if so, why? This paper suggests that Luke uses “the Way” metaphor to convey that Christ’s followers supplant Israel, depicting first-century Christians as living in a right relationship with God.
Based on Ross Harmon’s 2022 dissertation, this paper proposes that Luke alludes to the book of Proverbs when he calls the Church “the Way.” This study follows a method commonly used for identifying allusions yet modifies the approach to identify motifs in literature. The study first shows the lacuna in research concerning Luke’s motive or referent for calling the Church “the Way.” Second, the study examines the probability of the book of Proverb’s influence on Luke. Third, the study provides an in-depth analysis of “the Way” metaphor in Acts. The study concludes that Proverb’s is the likely referent of Luke’s use of “the Way” when referring to the Church.
By identifying Luke’s use of Proverbs in Acts, this paper contributes to the theme of the 2023 meeting by discussing God’s uniform desires for man’s behavior before the living God across the testaments. With “the Way” metaphor, Luke portrays Christians as walking with God or living Godly, supplanting, in some ways, the Jewish people. Further, through the paper, scholars are encouraged to have a fresh look at the influence of wisdom literature in the book of Acts and typological studies of salvation-history in the book of Proverbs.

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