Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:13-14, NIV)

For any individual to enter the kingdom of God, it is necessary to use a gate. Why is it true that so few find this gate?

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    Aren't you begging the question here? – wax eagle Sep 13 '13 at 19:29
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    What are you trying to understand here? And who other than you would possibly be qualified to answer it? – wax eagle Sep 13 '13 at 19:33
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    This question is asking for personal exegesis (a personal as opposed to doctrinal view, a.k.a. an opinion), which has been against site guidelines fir longer than I've been around. This would make an excellent question on a site whose purpose is teaching God's Truth. That's not what this site's purpose is.. – David Stratton Sep 14 '13 at 1:38
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    I kinda doubt the sincerity of your expressed interest. I think I have already stated what I am convinced is true. As for a blog not interested. – Theodore A. Jones Sep 14 '13 at 1:50
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    @TheodoreA.Jones, this kind of question has often been welcomed when asked by others. You could perhaps word it in terms of , "what have prominent theologians said about this passage?" That is a historical, straight-up kind of question that better fits this site. – pterandon Sep 14 '13 at 14:01

Matthew Chapter 7 is often thought to be in reference to those that will enter into the kingdom versus those that will not. If one reads in advance to verse 13 they will discover that the opening line is “judge not, that ye be not judged” and what follows is a warning: “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again”.

Then in verses 7-11

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you…if ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” In verse 12 we are given insight: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. 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: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

This whole narrative is in regard to our relationship with one another. “Judge not”, “remove the plank out of your own eye”, “whatsoever ye would that men should do to you”, this is the law of the Prophets. In Matthew 22 Jesus also spoke of the law of the Prophets: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind… love your neighbor as yourself.”

Therefore in keeping with the narrative the wide gate that leads to destruction would be those works Paul speaks of that will not stand the test of fire and the narrow gate would be those works that stand the test of fire as they are conceived by God’s love.

1 Corinthians 3:8-…every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour…Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

The word in Matthew 7 translated as “narrow” is done so only in this verse. The Greek word being translated “thlibō” generally is translated as trouble or afflict. Grace, Christ’s work on the cross (His trouble or affliction) is the narrow gate and the greatest love. John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

John 10:9 "I am the door (gate): by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."

Matthew 16:24 "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me"

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I will go by the New Living Translation version.

Matthew 7:13-14 (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. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.

One of the meaning of the word "find" is "To come upon or discover by searching or making an effort". To find something requires some effort from the person who is searching for it.

The gate and the way represent the same thing. The context here in this verse is that many people choose the broad and easy way but very few choose the narrow and difficult way. The broad way has a wide gate and the narrow way has a narrow gate. It is not important here whether the gate comes first or is at the end of the road.

The way of the world, connoted as the "Highway to Hell", is an easy to choose broad way. It is so easy to find it. The way of this world is everywhere; immorality, ungodliness, waywardness etc. are all around us. In fact, you don't even have to search the "Highway to Hell" because it's all around you. If don't want to follow Jesus Christ and carry your own cross, you have already chosen to go through the Highway to Hell.

The "Narrow way to Heaven", in contrast, is difficult to choose because our sinful nature always drag us towards the world. Following Jesus requires carrying your own cross, run your own race, obeying the word of God. Many people know this way but are not willing to choose it and go through it. Instead, many people love this world so much and can't just let go of it. Still, many people are blinded by Satan and choose to believe lies and false religions.

Jesus is the gate and the way to Heaven.

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. (John 10:9, NIV)

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6, NIV)

Let us choose Jesus as this song says - I choose Jesus (Moriah Peters).

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Ask, and It Will Be Given

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

this is the Verse Preceding what you are referring to.

what I think that this means is that without the example of Jesus Christ finding this gate to heaven would be very difficult, like a camel through the eye of a needle, living the way that is expected through the law is near impossible (Jesus Did it) but he came and saved us, and showed us the way, all we need to do is ask for his salvation that he gives.

Reference to www.biblegateway.com


King James Version of Verse 7:14 Reads Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

this says that the narrow way is what few find. not the gate.

and again I will repeat my comment, it doesn't specify the amount of people that find the way, it only says few, which could mean that fewer people find the way than those who don't find the way, and if you look at the world today you can see why this is true, too many people have no desire to walk the straight and narrow.

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The narrow road that leads to the gate is more metaphorical. He says the gate is small and the road is narrow that leads to life because this path is not the easy path, and Jesus told us that it would be like this. He is saying to do the things he teaches is going to be a challenge and require discipline. It is not easy or natural to have humility, be slow to anger, resist your lusts, give to the poor, be discriminated or ridiculed for your faith, love your enemies, fast, forgive those who hurt you, etc. ("bear your cross" and follow Jesus in His example).

Here is a short youtube video of a sermon on this I found on google.

Few people will find the gate because they are unwilling to walk the narrow road and follow Jesus. The majority would rather go their own ways.

Update: It seems from your comments under Malachi's answer that you think few means 2 or 3, and that's what you're asking about. So just to make this more complete..

not many but more than one: Few artists live luxuriously.
( used with a plural verb ) a small number or amount: Send me a few.
the few, a special, limited number; the minority: That music appeals to the few.


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  • 1 Cor. 2:8 overrules your conjecture. Repenting of sins was a religious practice prior to Jesus' crucifixion. Acts 18:24-26 Apollos was corrected from this conjecture. Acts 19:1-7 the gift of the Holy Spirit is with held whenever the soteriological conjecture is 'repenting of sins for the the forgiveness of sins.' Further "It is not necessary to use a literal gate" is a direct contradiction of "Make every effort to enter through the gate". Lk. 13:24 You will not find anything on 'youtube' that has nor will explain what the gate is. – Theodore A. Jones Sep 13 '13 at 18:28
  • Thanks. I made an edit. But as to repentance, Jesus says in Luke 13:3 But unless you repent, you too will all perish. and repeats it in verse 5. Jonathon Byrd has a good answer on that here too Is repentance required for salvation? – Nick Rolando Sep 13 '13 at 18:51

To understand why few people find it, it's important to define the narrow way and why it is narrow.

Jesus spoke these words as part of a sermon spoken on a mountain to the people. The context of the sermon answers the question of the narrow way’s identity. The sermon is about the character of the kingdom of God in a believer’s life. The narrow way is the kingdom of God, as distinct from the established religion the people were familiar with. Let’s look at several examples taken from the Sermon on the Mount, one from each of the three chapters.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7). How easy it is to withhold mercy than to extend it. We say, “He hurt me, so I’ll make him suffer,” rather than show mercy and forgive. How much easier it is to bear grudges than let them go with compassion. How quick we think of revenge for the wrongs against us, and hope the person is terribly punished. How quickly our tempers flare; and we seethe, wanting to tell off that person, or talk about him behind his back to hurt him indirectly.

To be merciful is a product of God’s work in the believer. It is not natural to us. This is a narrow way and it leads to life.

The Our Father prayer in Matthew 6 is instructive for the narrow way. “Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). Who is seeking God’s will about a matter? Are we not naturally self-seeking? Do we not look at our time and resources and figure out how to get whatever we want? Don’t we check our own feelings and thoughts about an issue and make a decision? What is God’s will for your life? Do you think about it?

“Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). In our unrelenting self-reliance, who ever says the Our Father prayer anymore, except by rote memory in some churches? Who has developed the sense that God has taken it upon himself to care for those who are trusting in him as little children? To be dependent on God is a product of God’s work in the believer. It is not natural to us. This is a narrow way and it leads to life. The narrow way is God’s way influencing our thoughts and actions.

“First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5). How readily we judge/condemn others! It seems as if entire radio, Internet, and television shows are developed just for judging others. “Did you see their hairdo? Like a mop!” “Who would wear a thing like that?” The judgment calls roll nonstop while the audience rolls their eyes in agreement, clap in appreciation at the “insight,” and shake their heads in tune with the condemnation.

It is a narrow road, a rare thing, for someone to turn the judgment to oneself and speak the truth in the heart about oneself. Rather than judging someone else, can we turn the observation inward and see how we are all fallen? How we all share the same failures, the same sins? May we find the help and mercy of God to remove our planks; then when a person relates her problem, instead of judging her, we could tell them we’ve had the same problem, but God has helped us overcome, and we are confident that God could well handle their much smaller problem, or speck.

To be self-judging and gaining victory over our major faults through God’s patient help is a product of God’s work in the believer. It is not natural to us. This life where God changes us a narrow way and it leads to life.

The reasons why the narrow way is so hard to find are quite varied. 1) It requires personal dependence on a Savior from sin, but society has wired us to find quick solutions to problems rather than go deeper to cultivate a life with God.

2) In general, people misunderstand their organized religion, thinking that going to church, being nice, and doing one’s best is all that God requires. We can’t remember everything in the Bible, so we sum up some basic ideas (“Do to others as you want them to do to you”) and never go deeper.

3) We become like those we associate with. We naturally conform to the culture in which we take part. If their tendency is to defer to the local leadership or local custom, then we will eventually parrot that to others; but is the custom to seek God? Is the culture a God-seeking culture, or a culture of established ritualistic habits (think of the Pharisees)?

“”Few there be that find it.”

Everlasting life is knowing God (John 17:3). But our fast-paced society continually encourages us to remain on the broad way. It’s no wonder that it’s a narrow way and few find it.

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