Strait and Narrow

Meanings of “Strait and Narrow”

The phrase “strait and narrow” means to be godly and have good morals. It also refers to a law-abiding and conventional course. The phrase is also used with different spellings: straight and narrow.

Origin of “Strait and Narrow”

The phrase “strait and narrow” first appeared in the Bible, The King James’ Version, where it is written as “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way.”

Later, the expression was sighted in The Critical Works, by Monsieur Rapin, published in 1706, where the phrase has been used as; “The soul of the common people seems too straight and narrow to be wrought upon by any Part of Eloquence.” Since then, the phrase has been to convey the same meanings.

Examples from Literature

Example #1

Straight and Narrow by Lucia Walton Robinson

Low o low
came You loving Lord
narrowly birthed and laid
low in a manger–
You, wider than all skies.
Straight the way and narrow
straight the tree
O narrow they nailed You down
narrow as man.
Straight the way and narrow
to sunder tree and rise–
O narrow as Your arms stretched wide
the way to Paradise.

This symbolic poem praises God for His matchless qualities. Keeping the cross, the principal symbol of Christianity in the center, she reflects that though the cross is nailed down, its upward position and stretched arms represent the vastness of God. In other words, although Jesus was crucified, his crucifixion led him directly to Paradise. Therefore, the phrase has been used with its actual meaning.

Example #2

The Strait and Narrow by Bill Kochman

We can not please this world,
If we try to please the lord,
Because Jesus said the truth,
Is like a sharp dividing sword.
To follow the strait and narrow,
Means we’ll lose many a friend,
But we receive a great reward,
If we preserve until the end.
Tho our journey may be lonely,
With great perils long the way,
Our sacrifices will be worth it,
On that glorious judgement day.

In this short poem, the poet presents the clash between religion and the world. He says when we try to catch the path of eternal happiness, the world comes at daggers drawn. Besides, when we choose to walk on the strait and narrow, even our friends become our foe. However, if someone preserves the righteous path, he will surely taste sweet fruits on the Day of Judgment. The phrase shows how following the right path brings us torment in the world, though, our right choices will save us from God’s wrath in the world hereafter.

Example #3

Straight And Narrow by David Darbyshire

I have a friend
who went around the bend
but he’s Ok now
I had a Car
That went around a Bend
It’s a total wreck! !
Moral of the Story
Don’t drive Yourself….
Around the bend
Just stay on the
Straight and Narrow.

The poet narrates his personal experiences in this poem to speak about the metaphorical representation of the phrase. The poem begins when he talks about his friend who follows a bend and nothing odd happens. However, when the speaker chases the same bend, sitting in a car, he faces devastation. Therefore, he advises us to stick to the straight and narrow path and not stuff our lives with things we do not understand. The phrase has not been used in the poem but the title is an extended metaphor.

Example #4

The Strait, the Narrow by Jared Godair

The novel characterizes a fourteen-year-old boy, Jack who runs away from home and finds himself on a boat. His new destination brings new and exciting adventures for him. He learns many things from the crew, especially from the boat’s captain, Casey, whom he considers a wise man. With every passing day, life teaches him a lot of new and exciting things. Casey’s vast book collection, too, proves to a boon for him; he learns various lessons from history and literary collection. Also, his travel to different places with Casey adds more to his amazement, knowledge, and wonder. The phrase shows how Jack chooses to learn the wonders of life keeping himself straight and narrow. Therefore, the book shows a metaphoric use of the phrase.

Example in Sentences

Example #1: “Years back, my aunt adopted a child and dedicated her organs for her upbringing. I admire the way she kept him on the straight and narrow.”

Example #2: “The newly elected media chairperson decides to demonstrate the positive role of the nation to the world that would help them to be on straight and narrow.”

Example #3: “After killing his neighbor, he concludes that his life will face curses now as he has committed a heinous crime after he could not keep himself straight and narrow.”

Example #4: “If we intend to escape eternal punishment, we need to catch the straight and narrow way in life.”

Example #5: “Everyone in the town admired Roger for his strait and narrow approach toward life. To our surprise, he was arrested last night in a false accusation. The officials’ sudden arrival brought both confusion and tension to him; however, one of the officers said that as long as you stick to the strait and narrow, you won’t find any difficulty.”