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Enter through the narrow gate.

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For the gate [into destruction] is wide 

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and the road leading up to destruction

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is broad, and there are many who enter through it.


Choose the system that is not impressive and does not look powerful. For

system that leads to spiritual death and personal ruin is impressive and looks powerful, and

the way of life leading to spiritual death and personal ruin is attractive and easy; these are actually one and the same choice, and it is a massively popular one.


1: "narrow gate"

The gateways of ancient cities served for protection, and as places where business was transacted, and where the political leaders of the city met with each other or with common people seeking audiences with them. City gates also became a place to display things that would indicate to the new arrival what or who that city was committed to; this was usually done by placing statues of their most important gods in, on, or over the city gate. The gate complex was made up of several rooms and it was intended to be imposing, and impressive. If a city gate was small and narrow it meant it was an poor, insignificant city that was protected by weak and little-known gods. In the paraphrase column I depict the gate as representing an entire system because the city gates were a representation of the entire city and all that happened therein.

2: “into destruction”

These two words are not in the original Greek at this juncture, but it is implied that the city gate and the road to the gate are representing one and the same thing. The mental picture Jesus wanted people to see in their minds was a road leading up to a city gate. It was one option, one choice. There are many time in Scripture when something is only mentioned once but it is implied to be related to two phrases or clauses in the sentence.


The original only says “leading to,” I am rendering it as “leading up to” in order to clearly communicate the proper word picture into the minds of the readers. The image is that of someone coming up to a city and noticing the characteristics of the gate and also the road leading up to the gate. It is not a picture of someone leaving a city. In Jesus’ illustration there are two places, i.e. two cities; one is called “destruction” and the other is called “life.”