Matthew 7:14 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 7:14, NIV: But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Matthew 7:14, ESV: For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Matthew 7:14, KJV: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Matthew 7:14, NASB: For the gate is narrow and the way is constricted that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Matthew 7:14, NLT: But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.

Matthew 7:14, CSB: How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.

What does Matthew 7:14 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus has commanded His followers to choose the more difficult of two metaphorical roads, each accessed by two different gates. They must choose the narrow gate (Matthew 7:13).

The wide gate opens onto a spacious, easily travelled roadway. Most will take that path, though it leads to destruction. Jesus is partly describing those who will continue to follow the teaching of the Pharisees and scribes (Matthew 5:20). Israel's religious leaders emphasized that only outward actions mattered and not inward righteousness before God. Those trusting in their ethnicity, along with their own ability to "perform" the Law—without becoming righteous in their hearts—would follow the path to eternal separation from God. This is true because human righteousness can never reach God's standard of perfect righteousness (Titus 3:5).

Being "wide" also implies that the gate leading to destruction accepts many different approaches. Scripture is clear that there is only one way to salvation, which is Christ (John 3:36; 14:6). Those who prefer to go "their own way" are simply going to their own doom. In other sermons, Jesus also indicates that He is the sole means by which men can be saved (John 10:7).

The narrow gate, though, opens to the hard way of following Jesus. This gate is "narrow" because there is only a single means of salvation, which is Christ (John 3:16–18; Acts 4:12). It is difficult because Jesus' disciples will be persecuted by His enemies (John 15:18–25). It is the way His followers must travel, however (Matthew 5:10–12). The path of Jesus is the only path to eternal and abundant life.