What does Matthew 7:14 mean?
ESV: For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
NIV: But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
NASB: For the gate is narrow and the way is constricted that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
CSB: How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.
NLT: But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.
KJV: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
NKJV: Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
Matthew 7:7–14 describes God as a generous Father eager to give good gifts to His praying children. Jesus commands His followers to continually ask and seek, with confidence that they will receive and find. Christ summarizes the intent of God's commands in the Old Testament: doing for others what we want done for us. This is commonly referred to as "the Golden Rule." The way of Jesus begins by entering a narrow gate and continues down a hard path that leads to life. He commands His followers to take that path instead of the easy road that leads to destruction.
Chapter Summary:
Matthew 7 is the last of three chapters that record what is now known as the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus commands His hearers not to pronounce shallow or hypocritical judgment. He describes God as a generous Father eager to give good things to His children when they ask. He commands His followers to enter the narrow gate and walk the hard road to life. False prophets can be recognized by their fruit, meaning their actions and choices. At the same time, good deeds are not absolute proof that someone has true faith. To live by Jesus' teaching is like building the house of your life on a solid foundation instead of shifting sand.
Chapter Context:
Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount in chapter 5, discussing the Beatitudes and the idea that inner thoughts are very much part of sin and righteousness. Chapter 6 denounced hypocrisy, modeled prayer, and opposed anxiety. Chapter 7 discusses the proper manner of judgment, including how to gauge the teachings of others. Jesus also warns against spiritual self-deception. He concludes with an analogy about foundations and storms. The crowd's amazement at Christ's teachings leads into the miracles and encounters of chapters 8 and 9.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
Accessed 4/23/2024 7:35:49 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.