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The Strait and Narrow Path

A Video Supplement for
Come, Follow Me Lesson 9:
“He Taught Them as One Having Authority”




Matthew 7:13-14 reads

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

So here Jesus is introducing the concept of the strait and narrow path. Strait—spelled s-t-r-a-i-t—here refers to the constricted kind of strait rather than the single direction kind of strait. Other translations use terms like small in place of strait. Narrow is usually translated to describe some kind of constriction or obstacle that challenges those seeking the path.

So where else do we encounter the concept of the strait and narrow path? One obvious place is in Lehi’s Vision of the Tree of Life. As Nephi records in 1 Nephi 8:

20 And I also beheld a strait and narrow path, which came along by the rod of iron, even to the tree by which I stood; and it also led by the head of the fountain, unto a large and spacious field, as if it had been a world.
21 And I saw numberless concourses of people, many of whom were pressing forward, that they might obtain the path which led unto the tree by which I stood.
22 And it came to pass that they did come forth, and commence in the path which led to the tree.
23 And it came to pass that there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceedingly great mist of darkness, insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost.
24 And it came to pass that I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree.

However, even for those who had arrived at and were partaking of the tree, the opposition continues in the form of the mocking of the world represented by the fashion-conscious souls in the large and spacious building, who mock many of those who are partaking of the fruit until they do what?

Verse 28 And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost.

As Nephi records of his father’s vision some are fully faithful in following the Lord’s path,

30 But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree.

However, other’s prioritize the favor and praise of the world and pursue the perilous paths that lead there

31 And he also saw other multitudes feeling their way towards that great and spacious building.
32 And it came to pass that many were drowned in the depths of the fountain; and many were lost from his view, wandering in strange roads.

So what do these differing paths mean practically and how do we get and stay on the strait and narrow path which leads to exaltation in the kingdom of God (and not end up in the fountain)? Doctrine and Covenants 132:21-25 employs this same imagery, specifically linking the strait and narrow path to obtaining and following God’s law:

21 Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory.
22 For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me.
23 But if ye receive me in the world, then shall ye know me, and shall receive your exaltation; that where I am ye shall be also.
24 This is eternal lives—to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. I am he. Receive ye, therefore, my law.
25 Broad is the gate, and wide the way that leadeth to the deaths; and many there are that go in thereat, because they receive me not, neither do they abide in my law.

May we all enter in by the strait gate, Christ, and continue in the Way or, in other words, continue in Christ and his law until we fall down at his feet and with him partake of the love of God which passes all understanding.

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