Oft times when we read the Bible we will read right over something. I believe I was doing this until I done some further investigation into “The Way”. “But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.” – Ac 9:1-2.
Today it is common to use terms referring to the people of God such as the church of Christ, the church of God – Ro 16:16 “Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.”; 1Co 1:2 “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:” Also the body of Christ, the kingdom of Christ – Ep 1:22-23 “And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”; Col 1:13 “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,”. And also referred to as the temple of God, the bride of Christ – 1Co 3:16 “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?”; Re 19:7-8 “Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”– for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.”
But in the early days of the church, they were also known as people of “The Way”… Saul of Tarsus persecuted those of the Way – Ac 9:2 “and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.” ; 22:4 “I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women,”. Others spoke evil of the Way – Ac 19:9 “But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus.” At Ephesus there was a riot about the Way – Ac 19:23 “About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way.” Paul confessed to worship God according to the Way – Ac 24:14 “But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets,”. Felix the governor gained accurate knowledge about the Way – Ac 24:22 “But Felix, having a rather accurate knowledge of the Way, put them off, saying, “When Lysias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case.”‘.
Today the expression “The Way” is rarely used, except by parachurch organizations, individual congregations, and even some cult groups. But what did it mean in the early days of the church…? Let’s take a closer more detailed look at the meaning of the Way. A probable origin of the name could have come a teaching by Jesus. He taught about two ways – Mt 7:13-14 ‘”Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” The broad way leads to destruction while the narrow way leads to life. Jesus claimed to be the way, the way to truth and life, the only way to the Father – Jn 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” — It seems likely that Jesus’ statements led to the use of “The Way” Are You a part of the Way”?