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I am the Way - the base of empire

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I am the Way

— An empire is its roads —

Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary

οδος

The noun οδος (hodos) is the common Greek word for road or street (Matthew 22:9, Luke 14:23, Hebrews 9:8), but it's also used in the sense of travel: being underway (Luke 9:3) or the "way" of a Sabbath, meaning a Sabbath's journey (Acts 1:12).

Our noun is also used in the sense of manner or mode: way of thinking (Matthew 21:32, 1 Corinthians 4:17, Acts 13:10) or the means by which one gets somewhere (Luke 1:79). It occurs 102 times in the New Testament, see full concordance

I am the Way

Jesus applied the word οδος hodos to himself when he called himself the Way (John 14:6), and followers of Jesus were subsequently called Hodosites (Roadies; Those Of The Way), by either themselves or others (Acts 9:2, 19:9, 19:23, 22:4, 24:14, 24:22).

It may be tempting to think of "the Way" as referring to a method — and particularly a method to get to God or at least the Kingdom, which is also where the Methodists get their name from — but the teachings of the Bible have much more to do with social salvation than with personal salvation (Luke 17:17, see Genesis 18:24-32 relative to Matthew 5:13-16). The Romans built their highly advanced road system quite literally to tie the whole empire together, but followers of Jesus are called to provide the Kingdom of God with a binding network much stronger than that coming from fancy pavement. Remember that Jesus, his disciples, Israel's priestly Levites and even the Celtic Druids were all typically peripatetic rather than stationary, and by their traveling, preaching and teaching kept entire cultures together. The name Levi comes from the verb to bind and the name Hebrew means Passer Through or Passer On.

Modern followers of Jesus should not refer to themselves with some label at all, but when pressed, Hodosite would do much better than Christian, which is based on the word Christ, and which probably originated in a political faction that purported to place a Jewish king (an anointed one, or Christ) on the Jewish throne (John 6:15). The last Jewish dynasty, that of the Hasmoneans, was discontinued by general Pompey in 63 BC and the last of the Hasmonean bloodline were killed by Herod the Great.

Our noun οδος (hodos) comes with the following derivatives:

  • Together with the prefix αμφω (ampho), meaning both: the noun αμφοδον (amphodon), which denotes a place where two roads meet; a crossroads (Mark 11:4 only).
  • Together with the preposition εις (eis), meaning into or toward: the noun εισοδος (eisodos), meaning a way into, or entrance. This word is employed 5 times; see full concordance.
  • Together with the preposition εκ (ek), meaning out: the noun εξοδος (exodus), which literally means out-way, but can properly be translated with departure or a going out. It is also the source for the familiar Anglicized word Exodus. In the New Testament our noun is used three times but in two ways: First with the meaning of the departure from Egypt; the Exodus (Hebrews 11:22). Secondly (and quite telling) our word is also used to euphemize the act of dying: to depart from the earthly life (Luke 9:31, 2 Peter 1:15). This noun occurs only these three times, and from it in turn comes:
    • Together with the preposition δια (dia), meaning through or throughout: the noun διεξοδος (diexodos), which denotes a place where one road divides into many, or vice versa; an intersection (Matthew 22:9 only).
  • The verb οδευω (hodeuo), literally meaning to be on the way; to travel (Luke 10:33 only). From this verb derive:
    • Together with the preposition συν (sun), meaning together or with: the verb συνοδευω (sunodeuo), meaning to travel together (Acts 9:7 only).
    • Together with the preposition δια (dia), meaning through or throughout: the verb διοδευω (diodeuo), meaning to travel through (Luke 8:1 and Acts 17:1 only).
  • Together with the verb ηγεομαι (hegeomai), meaning to lead: the noun οδηγος (hodegos), which literally means a leader of the way; a guide (Acts 1:16) or teacher (Matthew 23:16, Romans 2:19). This noun occurs 5 times, see full concordance, and from it in turn comes:
    • The verb οδηγεω (hodegeo), which means to lead the way. This verb occurs 5 times; see full concordance. Both the noun and the verb occur in the same verse in Matthew 15:14.
  • Together with the preposition παρα (para), meaning near or nearby: the noun παροδος (parodos), meaning a passing by or through (1 Corinthians 16:7 only).
  • Together with the preposition συν (sun), meaning together or with: the noun συνοδια (sunodia), which denotes a company of travelers or caravan (Luke 2:44 only). This noun is also the source of our English word "synod".

Associated Biblical names