Strait

Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able, Luke 13:24.


Herein we have a word that mostly survives in our current speech when we speak of narrow water ways. We hear of the Straits of Gibraltar, the Straits of Hormuz, or the Florida Straits. Sea farers use caution when approaching these waters because the bulk of sea is pressed through a narrow geographical opening. Our King James Bible uses the word more frequently, but keeps with the definition of a constriction or narrow place. Its other common usage in our current speech is a strait jacket which we will see is what the Apostle Paul accuses the Corinthians of having put on themselves.

In our opening verse Jesus Christ warns that the doorway to heaven is strait. There are not multitudes of ways into heaven. There is a door and he is that door. The word is also used in a similar sense when a commandment is given in which there is no wiggle room. And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known, Mark 3:12. King David spoke of being in a strait when he saw that his choices were narrow and difficult. The Lord gave him no way to squirm out of his dilemma. And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let me fall now into the hand of the LORD; for very great are his mercies: but let me not fall into the hand of man, 1st Chronicles 21:13.

The Apostle Paul rebuked the Corinthians with the word. Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels, 2nd Corinthians 6:12. He accuses them of having narrowed their lives and choices too much. He tells them not to blame the apostles for their lack of liberty. They did it to themselves by following their feelings. How often do we see hyper religious people live sour constricted lives that God never intended!

It is indeed a pity that the new versions make such shipwreck of 2nd Corinthians 6:12. The ESV says; You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. How weak and uninformative! Or affections restricted us? The NIV swings and misses here; We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. A person whose emotions have narrowed their life to the point of miserableness (I have known many such people.) cannot find relief in either the ESV or NIV.

In the King James Bible the Apostle Paul is telling people that their gut feelings have put their lives in a strait jacket never intended by God. Stick with the word of God. If preachers would spend half the time that they currently squander teaching people the nuances of dead languages and simply teach them the English Language, their people would be far more free to worship God in Spirit and in truth.

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