Introduction of my Book (Followers of The Way)

Acts 11:26 is the first time anyone was called a Christian. There were no
Christians when Jesus Christ was alive on the earth and there were none
before that, except in God’s foreknowledge. The Christian “movement”
officially began when Jesus handpicked 12 Disciples to follow him. When
he chose Peter and his brother Andrew, Jesus said to them, “Follow me
and I will make you fishers of men” (Mt 4:19). He then called two other
brothers, who were fishermen as well: James and John. Then he selected
eight others, who all followed him and learned to do as he did. As the
12 began to follow him, so did others. What Jesus taught them and
showed them became known as “this way,” a term coined by Saul, who was
persecuting the followers of Jesus, as we see in Acts 9:2. Jesus proclaimed
that he was “the way” in John 14:6. After Saul’s conversion in 37 AD, 4 he
was teaching in a synagogue, where unbelievers spoke evil of “that way”
(Ac 19:9). Acts 19:23 says, “And the same time there arose no small stir
about that way.” In 22:4, Paul, recalling how he too had persecuted Jesus’
followers, referred to them as followers of “this way.” In 24:14, Paul says,
“But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so
worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in
the law and in the prophets.” In 24:22, the “most noble Felix” referred to the believers as those of “that way,” which occurred in approximately 59 AD, 30 years after Jesus’ Ascension.

In 1 Corinthians 4:16–17, Paul says, Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me. (Notice Paul’s confidence in his own integrity of being in Christ. He implored people to follow he himself). For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church. (Notice where he taught besides the synagogues, in every church–they weren’t afraid of what he was going to say).

Paul adopted the way that he had formerly persecuted as “his way,”
which was in Christ. Here Paul beseeches the believers to be followers of
him and his ways and he sends Timothy, who knew his way better than
anyone else, to testify that Paul’s way was in Christ, as Christ would
have it.

The word “way” (hodos, 3598 in Strong’s; hereafter, simply the number
will be given) metaphorically5 means “a proceeding, a movement, which
denotes a code of conduct, a way or manner of thinking, feeling and
deciding.”6 Properly, it means a traveled road, a journey, route, or progress.
The word “Christian” is only used three times in the entire New Testament.
Even though the believers were first called Christians in Acts 11:26, around
45 AD, the term did not appear again until Acts 26:28, some 15 years
later, when Paul was questioning King Agrippa, who said, “Almost thou
persuadest me to be a Christian.”

Being a Christian—a follower of the way, the truth, and the life—Jesus Christ—is not just something you are, but something you become. It is a journey in life, conducting yourself in an exemplary manner in your actions, your thinking, your emotions, and your decisions. There is more to being a Christian than just confessing Jesus as your Lord or master and believing that God raised him from the dead. A lot more. But that is enough to get you eternal life. Eternal life is longer than any mortal, except for Jesus Christ, has ever known.

Have you ever thought about what you are going to do for eternity? Well, what you do then depends a lot on what you do now that you are born again, according to Romans 10:9–10. Th e Bible is probably the most read, yet most misunderstood book ever. Th ere are many reasons for this. I will endeavor to put forth several keys to understanding the Bible, which will hopefully give the reader a more accurate knowledge of the Word and Will of God.

4 E. W. Bullinger, The Companion Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Bible Publishers, 1974, appendix 180, page 202

5 Figures of speech, like the metaphor, put life into the true, purposed meaning of things. They are used throughout the Bible. According to Bullinger, there are over 212 different kinds of figures of speech in the Bible alone. Figures tend to make things “more real and lively.” Bullinger believed they were the Holy Spirit’s, God’s, way of drawing attention to things that were of particular importance. Here in Acts, with eight usages of hodos, we can see beautifully how the metaphorical meaning is so much more descriptive. See Bullinger, The Companion Bible.

6 See Thayer’s.

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About fredswolfe

I was born in 1949 and raised in Paris, Illinois. I enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1967 and received an assignment to serve aboard the U.S.S. Mauna Loa, AE-8 off the coast of Vietnam. During my three years and nine months of active duty, I toured the Mediterranean Sea twice and the Caribbean Sea once. What an experience to look back on! I was separated from the Navy three months early to attend College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California. Near the end of my first term as Student Body President, I received Jesus Christ and became born again in 1974. I have been studying the Bible, The Word of God and teaching others ever since. I have been married for thirty five years to my wife Joanne, from Whitestone, New York. We are the proud parents of two grown sons and two granddaughters and two grandsons. We have lived in Illinois, New York, Arizona and California, where we now make our home, in Marina Del Rey.

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