Are you narrow-minded? I am. At least, I have been accused of being that way. And I don’t think the one making the accusation intended it as a compliment. My dictionary says narrow-minded means “lacking in tolerance or breadth of vision.” If I understand that definition, one could be considered narrow-minded for one of two things: failing to see the whole picture or rejecting what he does not consider to be the truth.
There is a physical malady known as tunnel vision. Those who have it can see only straight ahead; peripheral vision is lost. That well describes the first kind of narrow-minded person. He focuses on only part of the truth, ignoring other facts that must be considered.
By this definition we could justifiably call narrow-minded those who believe in salvation by faith only. Such folks typically lock in on a passage that teaches the essentiality of faith, John 3:16 for example. They then act as though that verse is the sum total of revelation on the subject of salvation. Many others ought to be included. There are, in fact, dozens of things to which the Bible attributes salvation.
In your study, always consider all the Bible has to say on a subject. You do not want to be narrow-minded in this sense.
Now to the second kind of narrow-mindedness. If you think about it, truth is narrow. Understanding that is as simple as two plus two. How many truthful answers are there to the equation, 2+2’? Only one. There are an infinite number of wrong answers, only one right one. This principle applies in other fields as well.
The narrow-minded person in the second sense acknowledges the narrowness of truth. He would never accept alternate answers to 2+2 as “just your interpretation,” nor would he say, “You believe it your way and I’ll believe it mine.” Such is a mockery of truth.
The application to religion should be obvious. God’s word is truth (John 17:17) - knowable truth. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
Questions such as “What is God’s moral standard?” or “What must I do to be saved?” or “How should I worship God?” have an infinite number of wrong answers. Each has only one right answer - the one revealed in God’s word.
Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
The next time someone accuses you of being narrow-minded, and he means it in the second sense, tell him “Thank you.” You have been complimented. Are you “broad-minded” enough to recognize it? - Frank Himmel