Bible with Cross ShadowEnter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:13-14

There was a time when this saying of Jesus was well known to all Christians; now, perhaps not. Even those of us who have heard it many times have failed to grasp – or have lost – the gravity of its meaning. Entering the kingdom of God is not as easy as we would like to think; nor communicate.

First, let’s deal with the meaning of the narrow gate. The Greek word used here means: Well, it means narrow – as in not wide. Jesus intends for his disciples to visualize a gate that is difficult to pass through. Maybe not the eye of a needle (for everyone), but certainly narrower than a standard doorway.

In a later conversation, he made this abundantly clear.

Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” Luke 13:23-24

Nothing short of striving will get us through the narrow gate. Whatever striving looks like for you, I am sure it is not easy. It is important that we search this out – for ourselves and for those whom we are responsible to God. These articles will help: Call to Action: Strive to Enter; and A Storm is Coming – Strive to Enter into Community.

Moving on, the difficult way awaits those who have entered through the narrow gate. Note that translations describing the way as “narrow” are missing the mark. The Greek word is thlibō. It means “to press (as grapes), press hard upon; a compressed way; narrow straitened, contracted; metaph. to trouble, afflict, distress”. The difficult way is really difficult. Don’t you just love the way the Greek brings the word to life!!

Speaking of life, let’s consider the direct article that has been dropped from it in our passage (even in the more reliable translations). The literal translation is “…and difficult is the way which leads to the life…” Make no mistake about it: This life – the life – is the life of Jesus Christ. It is the life that saves us (Romans 5:10).

This saying of Jesus is addressing nothing less that our salvation!! His response to the disciple’s question, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” supports this understanding. The Matthew and Luke texts also agree that few will enter.

Stop and ask yourself, what is “few”? Is it three in ten; or two? It is a sad, but true, fact. It begs the question: Are we contributing to the fewness of it, by making the gospel something easier than Jesus intended?


It is amazing, sobering and scary to realize how easily we have lost the eternal meaning of this saying. It is baffling to consider that we could have drifted so far from the truth. Few will find the gate and way that lead to eternal life. Many will seek to enter, and not be able. These are the words of God, spoken with undeniable clarity, through the mouth of His Son.

Believing into the kingdom of God is not easy – it is difficult. Entering in is not automatic – it requires striving. The way will include a surprising amount of trouble, affliction and distress. Those that teach otherwise are shepherding the children of God to the gate… and leaving them there. As we will see in a future article, they may as well have been on the broad road; for destruction will be their end – and their blood will be on the hands of their shepherds.

Humbly yours and forever His,