One of the most interesting books in the New Testament is the book of Acts. Acts is much more than a doctrinal book. While it certainly contains doctrine, its primary view is on the emerging Christian movement from its Jewish matrix to its becoming a movement to all the nations.
There are other issues about Acts that need to be understood. Believe it or not, the early Jewish church still had much to learn about the new covenant. And so Acts includes a progressive revelation that would eventually remove the church’s Jewish clothing, and allow it to put on the clothing of Christ.
The beauty of Acts is also found in its Hebrew thought form. This is why I’ve designed a series of studies to help believers uncover the treasures of this book. These studies were initially provided for our Hebraic-Foundations forum.
I want to encourage my readers who are interested to take the time to view these studies. The studies are not designed to be a commentary on each and every Scripture verse. The primary focus to see how the doctrines of Christ develop through time.
All I can tell you is, ‘Saddle your camel. We are going to travel with the apostles through the first thirty-five+ years of early church history.
With regard to Hebraic thought form have you heard about ‘the ancient path?’ Consider this short study.
Walking the Ancient Path
This study is based on Psalm One. Let’s read:
“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither, and in whatever he does, he prospers.
“The wicked are not so, but they are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”
To appreciate the depth and beauty of this Psalm, we have to approach it from a Biblical-Hebrew perspective. To the ancients, religion was defined as an individual walking the road of life. Your relationship is with God. Torah (God’s Word) is your road map. Thus we hear David say, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
How does the ancient walk carry over into the new covenant? It is the same for we Christians. We are the recipients of the ancient faith. Jesus is the Living Torah who guides us through the written Torah. The ancient faith is fully realized in Jesus Christ. The Lord said, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
When Jesus said, ”I am the way”, or made reference to, ”broad is the way,” he was drawing from a rich Hebrew heritage. These terms were familiar to the Jews of His time. The truth is that there have always been two ways. You have the way of the righteous. Or you have the way of the wicked.
And so Psalm 1, and the Sermon on the Mountain are similar. Psalm 1:1, says, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked.” The very first thing Jesus says on the mountain is, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)
Then we have this characteristic of the righteous man and woman. The righteous person delights in truth. Psalm 1:2, says, “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” The righteous person loves the truth. His bend, pleasure, delight is towards Torah (God’s Word.)
When Jesus said “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied,” it is very likely that His Jewish audience would think about what David said.
The thing to understand is that God’s Word is very much alive those who believe. It is full of wisdom and power. It works itself into our very nature and spreads its healing love throughout our being. This is why the apostle said, “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.” (1 Peter 2:2) Peter was speaking of our attitude towards God’s Word. An infant instinctively seeks its mother’s breast for nourishment. We are to instinctively seek the nourishment of God’s Word. Our desire is to be in the Word of the Lord.
Notice that Psalms 2:2 says, “In His law he meditates day and night.” Here we need to bring out the Hebrew. The word for meditate is ‘hagah.’ This word means to mutter, to emit a sound, to speak in undertone. To the ancient this word meant to articulate with God from the heart. A dove coos. A lion rumbles. We are to pour out our heart with talkings to the Lord throughout the day.
The characteristic of Psalm 1, for the righteous man is, “He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season.”
Three words describe the ungodly man. “Wicked.” “Sinner.” “Scoffer.” Wicked is from a root word which means to be agitated; confused; in motion; restless. The wicked are ethically loose & unstable. In another Psalm we read, “God makes a home for the lonely: He leads out the prisoners into prosperity, Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.” (Ps68:6)
Then the Psalm ends with, “For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” The Hebrew term for knows, ‘yada’ is a very strong word. It means to watch over; be deeply involved with.
The righteous man walks with God. This is true Biblical prosperity. The righteous shares the joy of walking with God. while the sinner is agitated and confused. The sinner has no one but himself.
There has always been but one path for the righteous. The righteous path has always been a walk with the Lord. And when Jesus came into our world, the path of the righteous is summed by Jesus; “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.
Are you walking the ancient path? Think about it.
Here is your song for this entry. It is a song based on the prayer, ‘Lord, lead me on.’