• Narrowed Ways

    Read: Matthew 7

    ‌‌🔎 Focus

    ‌“Enter through the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” —Matthew 7:13-14 (NRSVue)

    ‌‌✟ Devotion

    ‌Depending on the publisher (including online ones), much of Matthew 7 is broken into sections. This is instead of the long speech that it is (including the chapters themselves). Our focus verse (similar to Luke 13:23-30) is often popped out all on its own, leading us to conclude that it stands alone.

    ‌This chapter is part of ‘ Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon on the Mount remains challenging to this day. As such, there are not sections that one can tear out separately from the rest.

    ‌All too often, the focus verses become solely about doing the right thing and the right life. I’ve heard sermons preached, and I’ve preached them. However, when we put the focus passage in its context (within the Sermon on the Mount), it gets a bit harder (even arguably impossible) to think that way.

    ‌If we look at just the verse before:

    “In everything do to as you would have them do to you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

    Matthew 7:12 (NRSVue)

    ‌…and the verse after:

    “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

    Matthew 7:15 (NRSVue)

    …perhaps our perspective would .

    ‌What if, instead of being a standalone set of verses about narrow gates and hard roads, they were the transition verses between treating others as you’d have them treat you and looking out for false prophets?

    ‌Many of us have inherited a high view of the (which we, I believe, should have). However, a high view of the Scriptures is, in many circles, a rigid view of the Scriptures, which does not allow for setting aside of traditions, such as looking at the narrow gate and hard road verses in isolation from the rest of Jesus’ words that Matthew has happening during a single event.

    ‌🤔 Reflection

    ‌In our expanded context of Matthew 7:12-15, we are presented with the Law, the prophets, and the false prophets. How might verse 12 impact your understanding of verse 15, when taken ? How does this affect your thinking about verses 13–14?

    ‌‌⏏️ Act

    ‌As you read the Scriptures, remember that while the Books are valid separations, chapters (except for the Psalms and Proverbs) and verses are not the original way the Scriptures were presented. Instead of defaulting to chapter, verse, and heading, read the words, and see what that does to change how you read and what you read.

    ‌🙏 Prayer

    ‌Jesus, you have the of life. Let us remember with honor and dignity that through you all of was made, that words do mean much, especially yours. , guide our reading of the Scriptures that we are transformed from the inside out. God, forgive us when the tools that we deem to help us, interfere with what you have to say to us today. Amen.

  • Devoted?


    Jesus said, “…if you haven’t been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you your own?” It’s not just about an employer or shareholder or spouse or family, it’s about God.

  • Narrowed Ways

    Narrowed Ways

    ‌What if, when Jesus speaks about the narrow gates and hard roads, he was transitioning from treating others as you’d have them treat you to looking out for false prophets? The narrow gate and the hard road become transformed.

  • Our Blindings

    Our Blindings

    When Jesus is asked who is saved, Jesus speaks about the narrow way. What if the narrow way is not about what we think it is?

  • People Past

    People Past

    ‌Read: Psalm 25; Isaiah 25:6-9; Philippians 3:20-21; John 6:37-40 ‌‌🔎 Focus ‌“This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day.” John 6:40 (NRSVue) Those who have died, that have been a direct…