A Change to NET Matthew 7:14
In the first edition of the NET Bible, Matthew 7:13-14 reads as follows:
7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate, because the gate is wide and the way is spacious that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 7:14 But the gate is narrow and the way is difficult that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Dr. Hall Harris, the NET Bible project director, recently contacted me about the word “But” at the beginning of this verse. This is similar to the NIV translation, but different from other translations, so we decided to take a closer look. The Greek text does not have ἀλλα (alla) or any other word which would imply a contrast. Instead it has the word τί (ti). We checked in BDAG, the standard lexicon for the Greek New Testament, and found that occasionally this little word can introduce an exclamation. In fact, Matthew 7:14 is listed by BDAG as an example of this usage. After discussing some options, we decided to make a change in 7:14. The two verses will now read as follows in the second edition:
7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate, because the gate is wide and the way is spacious that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 7:14 How narrow is the gate and difficult the way that leads to life, and there are few who find it!
With this change of v. 14 to an exclamation, the force of Jesus’ emotion becomes clearer. The verse is less of an explanation and more of an emotional punch to prod his hearers into faith.