Matthew 7:13 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 7:13, NIV: Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

Matthew 7:13, ESV: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.

Matthew 7:13, KJV: Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

Matthew 7:13, NASB: 'Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.

Matthew 7:13, NLT: 'You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.

Matthew 7:13, CSB: "Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it.

What does Matthew 7:13 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

As Jesus nears the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1–2), He describes a series of choices His listeners must make. The first is between the narrow gate which opens to a more difficult path and the wide gate which opens to the easy path. While this analogy is purposefully simple, it carries several layers of meaning.

Within the context of Jesus' teaching in Matthew 5—7, it's clear He is pointing to Himself and His teaching on inner righteousness as the "narrow gate." He also indicates that this opens onto a hard path. In other words, those who follow Him should understand they are choosing a difficult road, from a worldly perspective (Matthew 5:10–12). It will, however, lead to life.

The choice most people will make is the wide gate leading to an easy path. The imagery of a "wide" gate implies something easy to see, and easy to get through. It also suggests something that accommodates our preferences: wide gates give us more choice over how to pass through than do narrow ones. Since what lies on the other side of that gate appears to be easy, it's the choice most people will make. This has sad, heart-rending implications for the eternal fate of most people.

In part, Jesus is referring to those who will continue to follow the teaching of Israel's religious leaders, the scribes and Pharisees. Their legalistic teaching about the Law required from Israelites no heart change, only outward, self-promoting obedience to the rules. This is "easier," in a sense, because it only requires a person to pretend to be righteous. Jesus warned His followers that this was a too-easy road that lead to eternal destruction.

The alternative, given in the next verse, is a path that requires more submission and leads to a seemingly tougher experience. But the end destination of that gate is eternal life (Matthew 7:14).