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Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words [1]

A. Nouns.

Derek ( דֶּרֶךְ , Strong'S #1870), “way (path, road, highway); distance; journey; manner, conduct; condition; destiny.” This noun has cognates in Akkadian, Ugaritic (where it sometimes means “power” or “rule”), Phoenician, Punic, Arabic, and Aramaic. It occurs about 706 times in biblical Hebrew and in all periods.

First, this word refers to a path, a road, or a highway. In Gen. 3:24 (the first occurrence of the word) it means “path” or “route”: “… And he placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every [direction], to [guard] the way of the tree of life.” Sometimes, as in Gen. 16:7, the word represents a pathway, road, or route: “And the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.” The actual road itself is represented in Gen. 38:21: “Where is the [temple prostitute], that was openly by the wayside?” (In Num. 20:17 the word means “highway,” a well-known and well-traveled road: “… We will go by the king’s highway, we will not turn to the right hand nor to the left, until we have passed thy borders.”

Second, this noun represents a “distance” (how far or how long) between two points: “And he set three days’ journey [a distance of three days] betwixt himself and Jacob …” (Gen. 30:36).

In other passages derek refers to the action or process of “taking a journey”: “And to his father he sent after this manner; ten asses laden with the good things of Egypt, and ten she asses laden with corn and bread and meat for his father by the way [on the journey]” (Gen. 45:23). In an extended nuance derek means “undertaking”: “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure …” (Isa. 58:13). Cf. Gen. 24:21: “And the man wondering at her held his peace, to wit whether the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not” (cf. Deut. 28:29).

In another emphasis this word connotes how and what one does, a “manner, custom, behavior, mode of life”: “Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth” (Gen. 19:31). In 1 Kings 2:4 derek is applied to an activity that controls one, one’s life-style: “If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee … a man on the throne of Israel.” In 1 Kings 16:26 derek is used of Jeroboam’s attitude: “For he walked in all the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin.…” Deeds, or specific acts, may be connoted by this noun: “Lo, these are parts of his ways; but how little a portion is heard of him? But the thunder of his power who can understand?” (Job 26:14).

Derek refers to a “condition” in the sense of what has happened to someone. This is clear by the parallelism of Isa. 40:27: “Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and [the justice due to me is passed away] from my God?”— In one passage derek signifies the overall course and fixed path of one’s life, or his “destiny”: “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23).

Finally, this word sometimes seems to bear the meaning of its Ugaritic cognate, “power” or “rulership”: “Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God, and hast scattered thy ways [NASB “favors”] to the strangers under every green tree …” (Jer. 3:13; cf. Job 26:14; 36:23; 40:19; Ps. 67:2; 110:7; 119:37; 138:5; Prov. 8:22; 19:16; 31:3; Hos. 10:13; Amos 8:14). Some scholars, however, contest this explanation of these passages.

'Ôrach ( אֹרַח , Strong'S #734), “way; path; course; conduct; manner.” Cognates of this word appear in Akkadian, Arabic, and Aramaic. Its 57 occurrences in biblical Hebrew are all in poetry except Gen. 18:11.

In meaning this word parallels Hebrew derek , which it often synonymously parallels. First, 'ôrach means “path” or “way” conceived as a marked-out, well-traveled course: “Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels …” (Gen. 49:17). In Judg. 5:6 the word means “highway”: “In the days of Shamgar … the highways were unoccupied, and the travelers walked through byways.” When the sun is likened to a “strong man” who rejoices “to run a race” (Ps. 19:5), 'ôrach represents a race course rather than a highway or a primitive, snake-laden path. The man who makes his path straight goes directly on his journey, not turning aside for the beckoning harlot (Prov. 9:15). So here the word represents the “course” one follows between his departure and arrival conceived in terms of small units, almost step by step. In Ps. 8:8 the word represents the ocean currents: “… The fowl of the air and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.”

'Ôrach signifies the ground itself as the path upon which one treads: “He pursued them, and passed safely; even by the way that he had not gone with his feet” (Isa. 41:3).

In Job 30:12 the word seems to represent an obstruction or dam: “… They push away my feet, and they raise up against me the ways of their destruction.”

The word can refer to a recurring life event typical of an individual or a group. In its first biblical occurrence (Gen. 18:11) it is used of “the manner of women” (menstruation). Job 16:22 mentions the “way whence I shall not return,” or death, while other passages speak of life actions (Job 34:11; literally, “conduct”) or life-style (Prov. 15:10: “Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way …”—prescribed lifestyle; Prov. 5:6: “Lest thou shouldest ponder the path [which is typified by] life …”). Thus, 'ôrach sometimes figures a proper course of action or proceeding within a given realm— “the path of judgment” (Isa. 40:14).

The noun ‘orchah which occurs 3 times, represents a “wandering company” or a “caravan” (Gen. 37:25).

—— B. Verb.

‘Arach means “to go, wander.” This word, which occurs 6 times in biblical Hebrew, has cognates in Phoenician, Ethiopic, Aramaic, and Syriac. One example of this verb’s usage is found in Job 34:7-8: “What man is like Job … which goeth in company with the workers of iniquity, and walketh with wicked men.”

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [2]

1: Ὁδός (Strong'S #3598 — Noun Feminine — hodos — hod-os' )

denotes (a) "a natural path, road, way," frequent in the Synoptic Gospels; elsewhere, e.g.,  Acts 8:26;  1—Thessalonians 3:11;  James 2:25;  Revelation 16:12; (b) "a traveler's way" (see JOURNEY); (c) metaphorically, of "a course of conduct," or "way of thinking," e.g., of righteousness,  Matthew 21:32;  2—Peter 2:21; of God,  Matthew 22:16 , and parallels, i.e., the "way" instructed and approved by God; so  Acts 18:26;  Hebrews 3:10 , "My ways" (cp.  Revelation 15:3 ); of the Lord,  Acts 18:25; "that leadeth to destruction,"  Matthew 7:13; "... unto life,"  Matthew 7:14; of peace,  Luke 1:79;  Romans 3:17; of Paul's "ways" in Christ,  1—Corinthians 1:17 (plural); "more excellent" (of love),   1—Corinthians 12:31; of truth,  2—Peter 2:2; of the right "way,"  2—Peter 2:15; of Balaam (id); of Cain,  Jude 1:11; of a "way" consisting in what is from God, e.g., of life,  Acts 2:28 (plural); of salvation,   Acts 16:17; personified, of Christ as the means of access to the Father,  John 14:6; of the course followed and characterized by the followers of Christ,  Acts 9:2;  19:9,23;  24:22 . See Highway.

 Luke 5:19 19:4

2: Πάροδος (Strong'S #3938 — Noun Feminine — parodos — par'-od-os )

"a passing or passage," is used with en, "in,"  1—Corinthians 16:7 , "by the way" (lit, "in passing").

3: Τρόπος (Strong'S #5158 — Noun Masculine — tropos — trop'-os )

"a turning, a manner," is translated "way" in  Romans 3:2 , "(every) way;"  Philippians 1:18 , "(in every) way." See Conversation , Manner , Means.

 James 1:11 Hebrews 12:17 Matthew 8:30 Luke 15:20Far Luke 14:32 Hebrews 5:2 Colossians 2:14 2—Thessalonians 2:7Midst Mark 11:4Street.  John 10:1 2—Peter 3:1 Galatians 2:5 Acts 15:3 21:5 2—Corinthians 1:16Bring Matthew 13:25 20:4 Mark 11:4 12:12 Luke 19:32 John 11:46 Acts 9:17 James 1:24Go Luke 8:14 Luke 13:33 Matthew 24:1Depart Acts 24:3 Romans 3:12EscapeLascivious.

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [3]


A striking peculiarity of the Book of the Acts is that in several passages the Christian religion itself is called ‘the Way.’ Saul, if he finds at Damascus ‘any that were of the Way’ (ἐάν τινας εὕρῃ τῆς ὁδοῦ ὄντας), is to bring them to Jerusalem ( Acts 9:2). ‘Some were … speaking evil of the Way’; ‘there arose no small stir concerning the Way’; ‘I persecuted this Way unto the death’; ‘Felix, having more exact knowledge concerning the Way’ ( Acts 19:9;  Acts 19:23,  Acts 22:4,  Acts 24:22). The idiom, though found only in the Acts, must have been familiar. We do not wonder that a word lending itself so easily to figurative use should be applied to religion as frequently as is the case in Scripture, and that Christianity should be called pre-eminently ‘the Way.’ It is an interesting parallel that in Taoism, the second indigenous religion of China, Tao means ‘Way’; Tao-teh-king = ‘Book of the Way of Virtue.’ In the NT we are familiar with ‘way of the Lord,’ ‘of salvation,’ ‘of God,’ ‘of truth’; ‘I am the way’ ( John 14:6); ‘the narrow and the broad way’ ( Matthew 7:13 f.). The phrase is even more common in the OT than in the NT, as a reference to the art, in HDB (iv. 899) will show. It is specially frequent in the Psalter: ‘The way of the righteous … the way of the wicked’ ( Psalms 1:6). Other notable passages are  Isaiah 30:21;  Isaiah 35:8. The Didache, an early Christian manual, expatiates on the way of life and the way of death. The phrase seems to suggest the active, practical aspects of religion-God’s dealings with man, man’s conduct towards God and his fellows. The commandments, worship, prayer, holiness, repentance, all have an ethical side and are even ethical in essence. J. Butler’s remark that religion is a practical thing is quite in the spirit of the whole of Scripture, as seen in the Prophets, the Sermon on the Mount, the Parables, and the Epistles, ‘Every one … which heareth these words of mine, and doeth them … and doeth them not’ ( Matthew 7:24;  Matthew 7:26); ‘Inasmuch as ye did it … did it not’ ( Matthew 25:40;  Matthew 25:45). The proof of love is keeping the commandments. The teaching of Paul and Peter, John and James is no less practical than that of the Master.

Literature.-Commentaries on  Acts 9:2; A. E. Garvie, HDB , art. ‘Way.’

J. S. Banks.

King James Dictionary [4]

WAY, n. G., L.

1. Literally, a passing hence, a passage the place of passing hence, a road of any kind a highway a private road a lane a street any place for the passing of men cattle or other animals a word of very comprehensive signification. 2. Length of space as a great way a little way. 3. Course direction of motion or travel. What way did he take? Which way shall I go? Keep in the way of truth and knowledge.

Mark what way I make.

4. Passage room for passing. Make way for the jury. 5. Course, or regular course.

And let eternal justice take the way.

6. Tendency to any meaning or act.

There is nothing in the words that sounds that way.

7. Sphere of observation.

The general officers and the public ministers that fell in my way--

8. Manner of doing any thing method means of doing. Seek the best way of learning, and pursue it.

By noble ways we conquest will prepare.

9. Method scheme of management.

What impious ways my wishes took.

10. Manner of thinking or behavior particular turn of opinion determination or humor. Let him have his way, when that will not injure him, or any other person. But multitudes of children are ruined by being permitted to have their way. 11. Manner mode. In no way does this matter belong to me. We admire a persons way of expressing his ideas. 12. Method manner of practice. Find, if you can, the easiest way to live.

Having lost the way of nobleness.

13. Method or plan of life and conduct. Instruct your children in the right way.

Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.  Proverbs 3 .

All flesh had corrupted his way.  Genesis 6 .

14. Course process of things, good or bad. Things are in a prosperous way. 15. Right method to act or know.

We are quite out of the way.

16. General scheme of acting.

Men who go out of the way to hint free things, must be guilty of absurdity or rudeness.

17. Ways, plu. the timbers on which a ship is launched.

To make way, to give room for passing or to make a vacancy.

To give way, to recede to make room or to yield to concede the place or opinion to another.

To make ones way, to advance in life by efforts to advance successfully.

By the way, en passant, as we proceed a phrase introducing something in discourse, not immediately connected with the subject.

To go ones way, or to come ones way, to go or come along.

To go the way of all the earth, to die.

In the way, a phrase noting obstruction. What is there in the way of your success?

In Scripture, the ways of God, are his providential government, or his works.  Romans 11 .  Job 11 .

Way and ways are used in certain phrases, in the sense of wise. He is no ways a match for his antagonist.

Tis no way the interest even of the priesthood.

To be under way, in seamens language, to be in motion, as when a ship begins to move. So a ship is said to have head-way, when she moves forward in her course, and stern-way, when she is driven astern. She is said also to gather way, or to lose way. Lee-way is a movement of a ship aside of her course, or to the leeward.

Milky way, in astronomy, the galaxy a broad luminous belt or space in the heavens, supposed to be occasioned by the blended light of an immense number of stars. By means of a telescope of uncommon magnifying powers, Dr. Herschel has been able to ascertain this fact, by distinguishing the stars.

Covert way, in fortification, a passage covered from the enemys fire.

Ways and means, in legislation, means for raising money resources for revenue.

Way-going crop, among farmers, is the crop which is taken from the ground the year the tenant leaves the farm. England.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [5]


1. OT usage . ( a ) Of a road or journey ( 1Sa 6:9;   1 Samuel 6:12 ,   2 Kings 3:20 ,   Jeremiah 2:18 ). ( b ) Figuratively, of a course of conduct or character (  Job 17:9 ,   Psalms 91:11 ), either in a good sense as approved by God (  Deuteronomy 31:29 ,   Psalms 50:23 ,   Isaiah 30:21 ), or in a bad sense of man’s own choosing (  Psalms 139:24 ,   Isaiah 65:2 ,   Jeremiah 18:11 ). ( c ) Of the way of Jehovah, His creative power (  Job 26:14 ), His moral rule and commandments (  Job 21:14 ,   Psalms 18:30 ,   Proverbs 8:32 ).

2. NT usage . ( a ) In the literal sense (  Matthew 4:16;   Matthew 10:5 ,   Acts 8:25 ). ( b ) Figuratively, as in OT of human conduct, or God’s purpose for man (  Matthew 21:32 ,   Acts 14:16 ,   Romans 11:33 ,   1 Corinthians 4:17 ,   James 5:20 ). But the gospel greatly enriched the ethical and religious import of the word. Though Jesus was addressed as one who taught ‘the way of God in truth’ (  Matthew 22:16 ), He Himself claimed to show the way to the Father because He is ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life’ (  John 14:4-6 ). By Him ‘the two worlds were united’ (Westcott). This is equivalent to the Apostolic doctrine that Christ is the gospel (  Mark 1:1 ,   Romans 15:18 ). In   Hebrews 9:8;   Hebrews 10:20 there is the similar thought that Jesus by His life, death, and exaltation has opened a way whereby men may enter into the holy presence of God, and enables them also to walk therein. In Acts ‘the Way’ is used with the distinctive meaning of the Christian faith and manner of life, which is the only ‘way’ that leads to salvation (  Acts 9:2;   Acts 19:9;   Acts 19:23;   Acts 24:22 ). This is the ‘way of the Lord’ so often referred to in the OT, of which Jesus became the final and perfect revealer. The development of the conception may be traced in   Acts 16:17;   Acts 18:25-26 .

R. A. Falconer.

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [6]

This word is used to describe the manner of life which is lived by both saved and unsaved. Sometimes it is a good way called the "narrow way." Sometimes it is the road which the wicked travel down to destruction. Some samples are given of these two ways.

 Genesis 24:42 (a) The servant of Abraham is referring to the path he took and the course he pursued in carrying out the instructions of Abraham. (See  Genesis 24:27).

 Psalm 110:7 (b) This is a reference to the life of our Lord as He walked through the desolate scenes of earth. He refreshed His heart from the ministry of the Spirit and communion with His Father.

 Psalm 119:1 (b) By this is described the general path of life which the Christian enters at the new birth and pursues on his way to Heaven. Christianity is a way of living, a manner of life. (See also  Acts 9:2).

 Psalm 119:29 (a) There are those who persistently live a life of deceit in seeking to obtain position, power and wealth. This is the course referred to in this verse. (See also  Psalm 139:24).

 Proverbs 14:12 (a) Satan is very clever in devising a path of life that seems to be the right way to Heaven. Every false religion teaches one of the ways of Satan. These paths or programs appear to be all right to the person who does not know GOD, nor the teachings of the Scriptures. Every one of these paths of living are opposed to the one way which is Christ Jesus Everyone is a substitute for Christ Jesus These seem right to men, but they end in hell. (See also  Proverbs 16:25).

 Isaiah 59:8 (a) GOD has a path for His people in which peace with GOD rules and reigns. It is a way of rest in which Christ blots out the sins, GOD the Father justifies the soul, the Holy Spirit directs the path, and there is no fretting nor worrying. It is GOD's path for everyone of His children. (See also  Romans 3:17).

 John 14:6 (a) Here we see a beautiful description of the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ the only one who can bring us to the Father. He only can make us fit for Heaven, He only has the right and the power to take us to GOD.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [7]

During the time of the early church, Christianity was known as ‘the way’ ( Acts 9:2;  Acts 19:9;  Acts 19:23;  Acts 22:4;  Acts 24:14;  Acts 24:22). Possibly this was because Christians spoke of their newfound life as the way of the Lord, the way of life, or the way of salvation (cf.  Matthew 7:13-14;  Luke 20:21;  John 1:23;  John 14:6;  Acts 16:17). This usage was common also among believers in Old Testament times ( Psalms 16:11;  Psalms 18:21;  Psalms 18:30;  Psalms 18:32;  Psalms 27:11).

Since the way of God led to true life and true enjoyment, that ‘way’ may have meant God’s will and God’s commandments ( Job 21:14;  Psalms 37:23-24;  Psalms 119:27;  Psalms 119:37;  Jeremiah 5:4;  Matthew 22:16;  Romans 11:33;  Revelation 15:3). The word could also refer to a person’s manner of life in general. In that sense the way of the righteous was often contrasted with the way of the wicked ( Psalms 1:1;  Psalms 1:6;  Psalms 37:5;  Proverbs 4:18-19;  Proverbs 14:12;  Jeremiah 7:3;  Romans 3:16;  1 Corinthians 12:31;  James 5:20). (See also Walk .)

Webster's Dictionary [8]

(1): ( n.) The longitudinal guides, or guiding surfaces, on the bed of a planer, lathe, or the like, along which a table or carriage moves.

(2): ( n.) Sphere or scope of observation.

(3): ( adv.) Away.

(4): ( v. i.) To move; to progress; to go.

(5): ( v. t.) To go or travel to; to go in, as a way or path.

(6): ( n.) Right of way. See below.

(7): ( n.) The timbers on which a ship is launched.

(8): ( n.) Progress; as, a ship has way.

(9): ( n.) Determined course; resolved mode of action or conduct; as, to have one's way.

(10): ( n.) Regular course; habitual method of life or action; plan of conduct; mode of dealing.

(11): ( n.) Manner; method; mode; fashion; style; as, the way of expressing one's ideas.

(12): ( n.) The means by which anything is reached, or anything is accomplished; scheme; device; plan.

(13): ( n.) Course or direction of motion or process; tendency of action; advance.

(14): ( n.) A moving; passage; procession; journey.

(15): ( n.) Length of space; distance; interval; as, a great way; a long way.

(16): ( n.) That by, upon, or along, which one passes or processes; opportunity or room to pass; place of passing; passage; road, street, track, or path of any kind; as, they built a way to the mine.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [9]

Used in the sense "religious system," course of life ( Psalms 139:24).  Amos 8:14, "the manner of Beersheba." The new religion of Christ ( Acts 9:2;  Acts 19:9).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [10]

( ארח , 'ōraḥ , ארחא , 'orḥā' , ארץ , 'erec , בּוא , bō' , דּרך , derekh , הליכה , hălı̄khāh , מעגּלה , ma‛gālāh , נתיב , nāthı̄bh  ; ὁδός , hodós , πάροδος , párodos , πορεία , poreı́a , τρόπος , trópos  ; "highway," מסלּה , meṣillāh , מסלוּל , maṣlūl  ; διεξόδοι τῶν ὁδων , diexódoi tṓn hodṓn ): The list just cited contains only a portion of the words translated "way" or "highway" in the King James Version. Most of them have the primary meaning of "road," "customary path," "course of travel" (  Genesis 3:24;  Exodus 23:20;  Numbers 20:17 , etc.). By a very easy and natural figure "way" is applied to the course of human conduct, the manner of life which one lives ( Exodus 18:20;  Exodus 32:8;  Numbers 22:32;  1 Samuel 8:3;  1 Kings 13:33 , etc.;  Acts 14:16;  1 Corinthians 4:17;  James 5:20 ). "The way of an eagle ... of a serpent ... of a ship ... and of a man" ( Proverbs 30:19 ) agree in that they leave no trace behind them (compare The Wisdom of Solomon 5:10, 11). In some cases the language may be such as to leave it indeterminate whether the way or course of conduct is good or bad ( Deuteronomy 28:29;  1 Samuel 18:14;  2 Chronicles 27:7;  Job 13:15;  Proverbs 3:6;  Proverbs 6:6;  James 1:8 ), though in most cases the Bible writers attach to every act an ethical evaluation. Sometimes this way of conduct is of purely human choice, without reference to either God or good ( Judges 2:19;  Job 22:15;  Job 34:21;  Psalm 119:9;  Proverbs 12:15;  Proverbs 16:2 ). Such a course is evil ( 2 Chronicles 7:14;  Psalm 1:6;  Psalm 119:101 ,  Psalm 119:104 ,  Psalm 119:128;  Proverbs 1:19 , etc.) and will obtain such punishment as its lack of merit warrants ( 1 Kings 8:32 ,  1 Kings 8:39;  2 Chronicles 6:23;  Job 30:12;  Job 34:11;  Jeremiah 17:10; Ezk  Jeremiah 7:3 ,  Jeremiah 7:9;  Hosea 12:2 ). At the opposite extreme from this is the good way ( Psalm 1:6;  Proverbs 8:20;  Proverbs 12:28;  Proverbs 15:10;  Isaiah 26:7 ), which is that course of conduct enjoined by God and exemplified in His perfect conduct ( Genesis 6:12;  Genesis 18:19;  Deuteronomy 8:6;  Deuteronomy 26:17;  1 Kings 2:3;  Job 23:11;  Psalm 51:13 , etc.). These two ways briefly but graphically described by the Lord ( Matthew 7:13 ,  Matthew 7:14; compare  Luke 13:24 ) became the subject of extended catechetical instruction in the early church. See the Epistle of Barnabas, xviii, and the Didache i. 1. Frequently the way in this metaphorical sense is characterized by that quality which is its outstanding feature, e.g. mention is made of the way of life (  Proverbs 15:24;  Jeremiah 21:8;  Acts 2:28 ); of truth ( Psalm 119:30;  2 Peter 2:2 ); of peace ( Isaiah 59:8;  Luke 1:79;  Romans 3:17 ); of justice ( Proverbs 17:23;  Daniel 4:37 ); of righteousness ( Matthew 21:32;  2 Peter 2:21 ); of salvation ( Acts 16:17 ); of lying ( Psalm 119:29 ), and of death ( Jeremiah 21:8 ). Frequently God's purpose or His customary action is described as His way ( Psalm 103:7;  Isaiah 26:8;  Matthew 22:16;  Acts 13:10 ). Since all of God's plans and purposes tend toward man's salvation, His provisions to this end are frequently spoken of as His Way, and inasmuch as all of the divine plans center in Christ He is preeminently the Way ( John 14:6 ). Out of this fact grew the title, "The Way," one of the earliest names applied to Christianity ( Acts 9:2;  Acts 18:25 ,  Acts 18:26;  Acts 19:9 ,  Acts 19:23;  Acts 22:4;  Acts 24:22 ).

The word highway is used to denote a prominent road, such a one for example as was in ancient times maintained for royal travel and by royal authority. It is always used in the literal sense except in  Proverbs 15:19;  Proverbs 16:17 , where it is a course of conduct. See also Path , Pathway .

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [11]

This word has now in ordinary parlance so entirely forsaken its original sense (except in combination, as in "highway,"" causeway"), and is so uniformly employed in the secondary or metaphorical sense of a "custom" or "manner," that it is difficult to remember that in the Bible it most frequently signifies an actual road or track. Our translators have employed it as the equivalent of no less than eighteen distinct Hebrew terms. Of these several had the same secondary sense which the word "way" has with us. Two others ( אֹרִח and נָתַיב ) are employed only by the poets, and are commonly rendered "path" in the A.V. But the term which most frequently occurs, and in the majority of cases signifies (though it also is now and then used metaphorically) an actual road, is דֶּרֶךְ , Derek, connected with the German Treten, and the English "tread." It may be truly said that there is hardly a single passage in which this word occurs which would not be made clearer and more real if "road to" were substituted for "way of." Thus  Genesis 16:7, "the spring of the road to Shur;"  Numbers 14:24, "the road to the Red Sea;"  1 Samuel 6:12, "the road to Bethshemesh;"  Judges 9:37, "the road to the oak of Meonenim;"  2 Kings 11:19, "the road to the gate." It turns that which is a mere general expression into a substantial reality. In like manner the word Ὁδός in the New Test. is almost invariably translated "way."  Mark 10:32, "They were on the road going up to Jerusalem;"  Matthew 20:17, "and Jesus took the twelve disciples apart in the road"out of the crowd of pilgrims who, like themselves, were bound for the Passover.

There is one use of both derek and Ὀδός which must not be passed over, viz. in the sense of a religious course. In the Old Test. this occurs but rarely, perhaps twice: namely in  Amos 8:14, "the manner of Beersheba," where the prophet is probably alluding to some idolatrous rites then practiced there; and again in  Psalms 139:24, "look if there be any evil way," any idolatrous practices, "in me, and lead me in the everlasting way." But in the Acts of the Apostles Ὁδός , "the way," "the road," is the received, almost technical, term for the new religion which Paul first resisted and afterwards supported. See  Acts 9:2;  Acts 19:9;  Acts 19:23;  Acts 22:4;  Acts 24:14;  Acts 24:22. In each of these the word "that" is an interpolation of our translators, and should have been put into italics, as it is in Acs 24:22.

The religion of Islam is spoken of in the Koran as "the path" (et-tarik, 4:66), and " the right path" (1:5, 4:174). Gesenius (Thesaur. page 353) has collected examples of the same expression in other languages and religions. (See Road).