Striving To Enter (by Jonathan Lipnick And Dr. Eli Lizorkin-eyzenberg)

Holy Strive LizorkinJesus’ teaching about the “narrow gate” is a familiar passage for many Christians.  His message is that entering the kingdom of heaven is not easy. Unlike the comfort of “walking on the broad road”, “entering the narrow gate” requires discipline, strength and bravery. In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus says simply “enter through the narrow gate” (Mt. 7:13). But in the Gospel of Luke there is much more urgency: “strive to enter through the narrow door” (Lk. 13:24). To read the original and to make a comment, click HERE.

The English word “strive” is not nearly as interesting as the original Greek word, which Luke uses: ἀγωνίζομαι (agōnizomai). This is a verb built on the root ἀγών (agōn), which means an athletic competition, such as a running race or a wrestling match.

He chooses this word because he wishes to convey the sense of pain and struggle which is required of those who chose to follow Christ. Paul, who authored his letters before Luke did his Luke-Acts, also used this athletic imagery of running the race and fighting the fight (1 Cor. 9:24-27; 1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 4:7). Luke and Paul use this athletic term because they wish to show that the suffering endured by Christians today will be followed by triumph reserved for them in the future.

To read about Koine Judeo-Greek click HERE.

About the author

Dr. Eli Lizorkin-EyzenbergTo secure your spot in our new course “The Jewish Background of New Testament” - CLICK HERE NOW

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  1. Mary Anne

    Comments on this post : ‘” Our approach to scripture however should not be ‘ I believe first and then I read what the scripture says’, but the other way around.”

    .Jesus said that in order to fully realize God (who is Spirit) – we must seek & worship Him in Spirit. Therefore, we are called to have FAITH FIRST. Yes, that faith comes to us by & through the Word of God – YET- it is ONLY by the Holy Spirit’s leading to & revelation of that Word that we apprehend the truth. Reliance only on man-made theology (whatever that theology may be) – w/o FIRST relying on the life-giving Spirit of God (who lives in us by & through Jesus) we are incomplete and fall short of finding God, our Father.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Mary, I think you are misunderstanding what I am saying. I am saying that our idea (including theological) must be based not on what where we think/feel the spirit is leading too (after all we are fallen beings with fallen communication with the divine), but the Spirit inspired – the Word. That’s in a nutshell is my point. I have a hunch that we may be meaning to say the same thing. 🙂

  2. Shayne Higgins

    &the Pharisaic interpretation of the Mosaic law or the righteousness of the Mosaic law.This was also a period of Jewish history when the Jrwish people were looking 4 redemption.It was a time when they were suffering under Roman oppression&looking 4 some type of Messianic redemption, primarily,a national redemption from the servitude to Rome; nevertheless they sought a redemption of messianic proportions.They were looking 4 the Messiah to come&establish His Kingdom on opposition to the kingdom of Rome.According to the Old Testament prophets, righteousness was the means to entering the Kingdom.Jesus offered people righteousness but He received opposition from tthePharisees2 b continued

  3. Shayne Higgins

    The background of the Sermon on the Mount, firstly it occurred after intense interest in the person of Jesus was stirred up.By this time, He had gone all over the country proclaiming His Messiahship and authenticating His claims with many miracles, signs&wonders.Which is why Jewish people were there from all over the country&outside the country as well.It also occured after the selection of the 12 disciples.In fact, it was immediately b4 this sermon that Jesus selected&closed His apostolic group of 12.It also came after there had been several conflicts with the Pharisees over the authority of Pharisaic Judaism,&after debates between Jesus&the Pharisees over its b continued

  4. Sandy

    This is my first time visiting this site and it is awesome. Thank you for this riveting and needless to say fantastically interesting interpretation of this scripture. God bless you as you educate His people. Sandy

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Moses and Sandy, thank you both for kind remarks. Please enjoy the blog and lets study together.

  5. moses

    Dr ELI thank you for your work.a true disciple of The Lord believes his if one thinks the gate is not narrow let that person think again about his faith.Luke 18:17,24 tells us can get the picture in those verses why striving is commanded. there is nothing about easy journey it is hard way Jesus showed us

  6. Shara Hernandez

    Actually, you had 1 Corinthians 9:25 , but also the book of Jude uses the Greek word epagonizomai (to contend earnestly ) demonstrate how we should be exerting ourselves in the faith. Another great scripture is Hebrews 12:11″ No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. 12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.”

  7. Shara Hernandez

    Athletic terminology is commonly used as we are called to be spiritually athletic. Remember, for instance, Ephesians 6:12 ” For we are [wrestling (pale in Greek) ] not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in heavenly places.” See also, 1 Corinthians 9:25 “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”

  8. Wiseman

    This is very interesting and very true as well, being a follower of Christ is never a walk in the park, on the contrary one will meet many obstacles. Hence the Christian life is a life of faith sometimes things might be very challenging and there might seem to be a way out but faith says that I can see beyond the visible. Though we might strive because of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ it is always a comforting thought to know that one does not strive to be saved or justified but only through faith alone. May God continue to bless you all. Shalom Aliechem

  9. Kat Hobaugh

    You referenced “fight the good fight of faith” Are there separate words for our faith in” God’s actions” and our faith that “our actions” will produce fruit in accordance to God’s will? I see this as important in understanding the word strive.

  10. Sylvia Wackenier

    Dr.Eli, thank you for the reply.

    I didn’t think such as conflicting verses. I agree with your answer ” usually a sense of peace and holy effort. What I ment by effort ” the struggle in my translation to find the words to express myself in writing in English, not in study. My apology. Kind regards. Sylvia.