Matthew 7:14 Because narrow [is] the gate,

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

The Sermon on the Mount, visible and invisible, aiming

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Because narrow the passage and having been squeezed the way, the one leading into that life and few are the ones discovering it.

KJV : 

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

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The most interesting word here is translated as "narrow," but it is not an adjective. It is a verb in the form of a participle that means "having been squeezed." Jesus only uses this word here, though it is common in the Greek OT. All the verbs here are in the present, except for this participle, which is an action completed in the past. There are clearly many ways to say "narrow" in Greek, but this word seems chosen for its humorous potential and possibly its economic double meaning.

Many of the words in this verse have an economic double-meaning, many of them used in the last verse.  The word translated as "at/through" also means "by the means of." The "way," is a "way" of producing" The word "squeezed" discussed above has the sense of being squeezed to pay a debt. The word translated as "leadeth/leads" also means "to pay a debt.

NIV : 

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

Wordplay: 

The term used for "find" is the source of our word, "heuristic," meaning enabling a person to find out something for themselves. It means "find out" and "discover." 

My Takeaway: 

We must make ourselves smaller, leaving something behind of ourselves behind to move forward and reach our potential.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

ὅτι (conj/adv) "Because" is from hoti, which introduces a statement of fact "with regard to the fact that", "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what", "because", "since," and "wherefore."

στενὴ [3 verses] (adj sg fem nom) "Strait" is stenos, which means "narrow", "narrows", "straits", "close", "confined", "scanty", "petty", "small-minded", "narrow-minded", "thin or meagre [of sound and style]," and, as an adverb "[to be] in difficulties."

(article sg fem nom )  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").  -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") that the English "the." See this article for more. 

πύλη [3 verses] (noun sg fem nom) "The gate" is from pyle, which means "one wing of a pair of double gates", "gates of a town", "house-door", "gate or door leading to the women's apartments", "gates of the nether world", "custom-house", "entrance", "orifice", "entrance into a country through mountains", "pass," and "narrow straits."

καὶ (conj) "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

τεθλιμμένη [1 verse](part sg perf mp fem nom) "Narrow" is thlibo, which means to "squeeze, "chafe", "pinch", "exercise pressure", "compress", "straiten", "reduce", "oppress", "afflict," and "distress."

(article sg fem nom )  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

ὁδὸς (noun sg fem nom ) "The way" is hodos, which means literally "the way" or "the road" but which is used symbolically to mean "a way of doing things" or "a philosophy of life."

(article sg fem nom)  "Which" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which, when not preceding a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

ἀπάγουσα (part sg pres act fem nom) "Leadeth" is apago, which means to "lead away", "carry off", "hold far off", "draw off", "retire", "withdraw", "abduct", "bring back", "bring home", "return", "render what one owes", "pay", "render service," and "arrest and carry off."

εἰς (prep) "Unto" is eis, which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)", "until (of time)", "as much as (of measure or limit)", "as far as (of measure or limit)", "towards (to express relation)", "in regard to (to express relation)", "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object)."

τὴν (article sg fem ac)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

ζωήν, (noun sg fem acc) "Life" is zoe, which means "living", "substance", "property", "existence," and, incidentally, "the scum on milk." It has the sense of how we say "make a living" to mean property. Homer used it more to mean the opposite of death.

καὶ (and) "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

ὀλίγοι (adj pl masc nom ) "Few" is from oligos, which means "little", "small," and "weak", "not copious", "few, "almost", "low [voice]", "low [degree]," and, as an adverb "a little," and "slightly."

εἰσὶν (3rd pl pres ind act) "There be" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." It can also mean "must" with a dative. -

οἱ (article pl masc nom)  "That" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which, when not preceding a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." -- The word translated as "those" is the Greek definite article, which when not preceding a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

εὑρίσκοντες (part pl pres act masc nom)"Find" is from heurisko, which means "to find", "to find out", "to discover", "to devise", "to invent", "to get," and "to gain."

αὐτήν. (adj sg fem acc) "It" is from autos, which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him", "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of one's own accord."

KJV Analysis: 

Because  - The word translated as "because" was translated as "for" in the previous verse, Matthew 7:13. It acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what", "because", "since," and "wherefore."

strait  - The term translated as "strait" primarily means "narrow," but it is not a positive term in Greek having many negative associations including "small minded" and "confined."

is -- There is no verb "is" in the Greek source. It is implied by the equating of "workman" with "worthy" both in the Greek form of subjects.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") that the English "the." See this article for more. 

gate,  - The term translated here as "gate" means specifically one side of a double gate that served as the entry to a town or large building. It was also frequently a toll booth, changing a tax for entry into a town. The term also meant special doors or gates such as that to the women's quarters or the gates of hell. These gates were points of control and authority.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). It is unclear here what of many possible roles the Greek word translated as "and" plays here. It could join the adjectives or phrases or it could be part of a series "and...and" joining phrases, which in Greek, it becomes "not only...but also". It could also be an "also" here and there.

narrow  - (WF) The Greek word translated as "narrow" is actual a verb meaning "to squeeze" or "compress." This verb is in the form of an adjective describing a completed action, "the squeezed" or "the compressed". However, the verb is in a form that is either passive, "having been squeezed" or where the subject acts on themselves, so "having squeezed itself." Like the "strait" above, this word has mean negative meanings, including "oppressed."

is -- There is no verb "is" in the Greek source. It is implied by the equating of "workman" with "worthy" both in the Greek form of subjects.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") that the English "the." See this article for more. 

way, (MM) The term translated as "the way" means a "route" or a "path", and a "manner of behavior", a "method" and a "philosophy". The sense is the same as we use the term in "a way of life" or "a way of thinking."

which -- (WW) The word translated as "those" is the Greek definite article, which when not preceding a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more.

leadeth  - (WF) The Greek translated as "leadeth" means "to lead". "to carry away", "to pay" and "to render a service." It is an uncommon word for Christ to use. It is in the form of an adjective, "leading", but with the article above, it acts like a noun, "the one leading". the "one paying off a debt", "the one rendering a service".

unto  - The word translated as "unto" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, "the." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

life,  - The word translated as "life" means "living" but it also means "substance", "existence," and "property." It means "a living," very much like we would use the term in "making a living." Jesus  uses it to mean "existence" beyond physical life. In is contrasted to "destruction" in the previous verse. For more on how Christ uses this word with other words about human existence (soul, heart, spirits, etc.), read this article.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

few  - "Few" is a Greek word meaning "little", "small", "slight", "few," and "weak."

there -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "there" in the Greek source.

be -- The verb "be" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics. When the verb "to be" appears early in the clause before the subject, the sense can be  "there are"  but here the word "few" is the subject before the verb.

that  -  (WN) The word translated as "that" is the Greek definite article, which when not preceding a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. This word is plural not singular.

find  - (WF) The term used for "find" is the source of our word, "heuristic," meaning enabling a person to find out something for themselves. It means "find out" and "discover." It is in the form of an adjective used as a noun, "the ones finding".

it.  - -- The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.   The form matches "gate," "way," and "life." "Life" is the closest noun so this word would be heard as referring to it.

KJV Translation Issues: 

8
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "narrow" is not regular adjective but a participle, "squeezing."
  • MM -- Many Meanings -- This word "way" means both "path" and a "way" of thinking, a philosophy.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "which" should be "the one."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "lead" is not an active verb but a participle, "leading."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "life" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "there" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "that" is translated as singular but it is plural, "those."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "find" is not an active verb but a participle, "finding."

NIV Analysis: 

But - (WW) The word translated as "but" was translated as "for" in the previous verse, Matthew 7:13. It acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what", "because", "since," and "wherefore."

small - (CW) The term translated as "small" primarily means "narrow," but it is not a positive term in Greek having many negative associations including "small minded" and "confined."

is -- There is no verb "is" in the Greek source. It is implied by the equating of "workman" with "worthy" both in the Greek form of subjects.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") that the English "the." See this article for more. 

gate,  - The term translated here as "gate" means specifically one side of a double gate that served as the entry to a town or large building. It was also frequently a toll booth, changing a tax for entry into a town. The term also meant special doors or gates such as that to the women's quarters or the gates of hell. These gates were points of control and authority.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). It is unclear here what of many possible roles the Greek word translated as "and" plays here. It could join the adjectives or phrases or it could be part of a series "and...and" joining phrases, which in Greek, it becomes "not only...but also". It could also be an "also" here and there.

narrow  - (WF) The Greek word translated as "narrow" is actual a verb meaning "to squeeze" or "compress." This verb is in the form of an adjective describing a completed action, "the squeezed" or "the compressed".  However, the verb is in a form that is either passive, "having been squeezed" or where the subject acts on themselves, so "having squeezed itself." Like the "strait" above, this word has mean negative meanings, including "oppressed."

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") that the English "the." See this article for more. 

road, (MM) The term translated as "the way" means a "route" or a "path", and a "manner of behavior", a "method" and a "philosophy". The sense is the same as we use the term in "a way of life" or "a way of thinking."

that --  The word translated as "those" is the Greek definite article, which when not preceding a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more.

leads  - (WF) The Greek translated as "leads" means "to lead". "to carry away", "to pay" and "to render a service." It is an uncommon word for Christ to use. It is in the form of an adjective, "leading", but with the article above, it acts like a noun, "the one leading". the "one paying off a debt", "the one rendering a service".

to  - The word translated as "to" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, "the." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

life,  - The word translated as "life" means "living" but it also means "substance", "existence," and "property." It means "a living," very much like we would use the term in "making a living." Christ uses it to mean "existence" beyond physical life. In is contrasted to "destruction" in the previous verse. For more on how Christ uses this word with other words about human existence (soul, heart, spirits, etc.), read this article.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

only -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "there" in the Greek source.

a -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

few  - "Few" is a Greek word meaning "little", "small", "slight", "few," and "weak."

untranslated "are"-- (MW) The untranslated word "are" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics. When the verb "to be" appears early in the clause before the subject, the sense can be  "there are"  but here the word "few" is the subject before the verb.

untranslated "the ones"-- (MW) The untranslated word "the ones" is the Greek definite article, which when not preceding a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. This word is plural not singular.

find  - (WF) The term used for "find" is the source of our word, "heuristic," meaning enabling a person to find out something for themselves. It means "find out" and "discover." It is in the form of an adjective used as a noun, "the ones finding".

it.  - -- The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.   The form matches "gate," "way," and "life." "Life" is the closest noun so this word would be heard as referring to it.

NIV Translation Issues: 

11
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "but" should be "because."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "small" is not the common word for "small" but a specific one that means "narrow" or "confined."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "narrow" is not regular adjective but a participle, "squeezing."
  • MM -- Many Meanings -- This word "way" means both "path" and a "way" of thinking, a philosophy.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "which" should be "the one."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "lead" is not an active verb but a participle, "leading."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "life" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "only" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "are" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the ones" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "find" is not an active verb but a participle, "finding."

The Spoken Version: 

You are worse than a child!” Simeon accused, his grating voice tight with constrained fury. “Why have you made yourself so small?”
“Because tight this gate!” the Teacher explained holding up his hands with a narrow space between them for us all to see. Again, he pretended to squeeze through the space. His voice went up as he sucked in his stomach and said, “And having squeezed oneself the way!”
This won another laugh.
“Where does this nonsense get you?” demanded Simeon, not only of the Nazarene, but of us, his audience.
“This one?” responded the Teacher, holding his arms out. “Leading into that life!”
Then he pointed upward.
“This realm of the skies!” we responded happily.
The Master applauded and continued, indicating us in the crowd, “And few are the ones discovering it!”
 We all cheered and applauded ourselves.

evidence: 

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Front Page Date: 

Jul 9 2020