Historical Interpretation Essay: Luke 13:23-24
This essay will provide historical interpretations from various theologies on bible verse Luke 13:23-24. As many different theologies can provide different interpretations, chosen for this essay will be the theological works from the Sacra Pagina Series, Anchor Bible Passages, and Commentary on Matthew, Mark, Luke Volume 1 by John Calvin. The verse reads as: “Someone asked him, Lord, are only a few people going to be saved? He said to them, strive to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” (International Bible Society, 725) The Sacra Pagina series presents a challenge to the commitment of the readers to Luke as the author of his Gospel. Luke 13:23-24 is referred to as part of a function of a prophetic warning of repentance and the “inclusion and exclusion in the banquet which is the kingdom of God” (Johnson, 219) Are there few that be saved? - It was the predominant belief amongst the Jews that those who would enter heaven would be few. As but two of all the hosts that came out of Egypt entered into the land of Canaan, so some of them maintained that a proportionally small number would enter into heaven. On this subject the opinion of Jesus was desired by the man. The question was raised out of idle curiosity. The answer to it would have done little good. For the man it was far more important to secure his own salvation, than to humor in such indolent queries and futile assumptions. Our Lord therefore advised him, as he does to do all that he can to enter into heaven. Luke 13:24 reads “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” (International Bible Society, 725) So it is said by Jesus that we should make every effort to enter through the narrow door; and he means by it that we should be active, be earnest, be diligent; that we should make it our primary order of business to overcome the propensities of our sin, and to strive to enter into heaven. Sacra Pagina breaks down Luke 13:24 as “struggle to enter: The term agonizomai suggests that “the few” will have to contend with “the many” (hoi polloi) for entry through a space too narrow in a time too short.” (Johnson, 216) The part of the scripture “will try to enter” refers to the many that in various ways manifest some desire to be saved. It is sought for by them, however they do not agonize for it, and therefore, they are shut out. The meaning of the passage that is more probable is that which refers this "seeking" to a time that is determined to be "too late;" to the time when the master has arose. They neglect religion in this life, and are involved in other things. At death, or the time of judgment, they will desire entrance; but it will be too late - the door will be shut; and because religion is not made the primary business of their life, therefore they cannot "then" enter in. In the Anchor Bible theology, verse 23 is considered problematic. “But it is too best explained as a question ascribed to an unnamed listener fashioned by Luke himself to introduce the traditional material that follows.” (Fitzmeyer, 1021) The question of “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” (International Bible Society, 725) is a question either of curiosity or impertinence, which the answer can bring profit to no man. The question which should be asked is, can I be saved, and if so how? Do your utmost to gain entrance through the strait and exert every power of body and soul. Let your salvation be the grand business of your whole life. There are parallel references to Matthean passages within verse 24 but with each verse the relationship differs. In the Matthean counterpart, Jesus refers to two gates and two paths that lead toward either life or destruction. “The Lucan form speaks only of “a narrow door” and it is linked to vv. 25-27a by catchword bonding; both have to do with a “door.” Luke...
Cited: The Bible: New International Version. Colorado Springs, CO: International Bible Society, 1984. Print.
Johnson, Luke. "The Gospel of Luke." Saint Leo LibGuide. Web. 7 Dec. 2014. .
Fitzmeyer, Joseph A. "The Gospel According to Luke (I-IX)." Saint Leo LibGuide. Doubleday, 1 Jan. 1981. Web. 7 Dec. 2014. .
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Matthew, Mark, Luke - Volume 1 - Christian Classics Ethereal Library." Calvin.edu. Web. 7 Dec. 2014. .
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