Is ‘When One Door Closes Another Opens’ Biblical?

Because of the finished work of Jesus, we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit. Being led by the Spirit of God is better than looking for open and closed doors. He shows us the way to go.

Danielle Bernock
three doors one open two closed

The popular phrase, “When one door closes another will open” isn’t in the Bible. It’s a quote by Alexander Graham Bell. But that alone doesn’t determine if it’s a biblical principle or not. What is the line used for?

The idea of when a “door” closes in our lives and we look for another one to open is a way to encourage ourselves. Self-encouragement is a biblical principle. This way of applying the phrase is a good way to feed hope into our souls.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Corinthians 12:9).

In the Bible, there are various places where God opened and closed “doors.” However, sometimes people use closed and open “doors” to guide them. We’ll look at where they get this idea and why it’s not how God wants us to live.

Idea of Guidance

The idea of being led by open and closed doors comes from the story of Gideon in the Old Testament. Gideon was unsure of himself and afraid of what God wanted him to do so he asked for a sign.

Then Gideon said to God, “You say that you have decided to use me to rescue Israel. Well, I am putting some wool on the ground where we thresh the wheat. If in the morning there is dew only on the wool but not on the ground, then I will know that you are going to use me to rescue Israel.” That is exactly what happened. When Gideon got up early the next morning, he squeezed the wool and wrung enough dew out of it to fill a bowl with water. 

Then Gideon said to God, “Don't be angry with me; let me speak just once more. Please let me make one more test with the wool. This time let the wool be dry, and the ground be wet.” That night God did that very thing. The next morning the wool was dry, but the ground was wet with dew. (Judges 6:36-40, GNT).

God didn’t have a problem with what Gideon did. Many people in the Old Testament asked God for a sign after he spoke to them. The important thing to see is the sign wasn’t for guidance, it was for comfort and confirmation. God is to be our guide.

A Visual

There are many verses in the Bible that use the word “door” as a visual to speak about an opportunity.

See in these verses how God opening a door is him providing an opportunity.

There is a wide-open door for a great work here, although many oppose me. When Timothy comes, don’t intimidate him. He is doing the Lord’s work, just as I am (1 Corinthians 16:9-10).

Upon arriving in Antioch, they called the church together and reported everything God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles, too (Acts 14:27).

And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains (Colossians 4:3).

When I came to the city of Troas to preach the Good News of Christ, the Lord opened a door of opportunity for me (2 Corinthians 2:12).

“I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me” (Revelation 3:8).

Not every opportunity in our lives comes from God. But we can ask him to open a door for us, or we can recognize he has done so. When we know it’s God that opened the door for us, we can trust him to walk through it.

Better Than Doors

Because of the finished work of Jesus on the Cross, we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit. Being led by the Spirit of God is better than looking for doors. In addition to showing us the way to go, he can alert us to when it’s not safe or prudent to go in a certain direction.

Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time. Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there (Acts 16:6-7).

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come (John 16:13).

Whenever we find ourselves disappointed by a lost opportunity (closed door) we can take the matter to God. He’ll always encourage us and fill us with new hope.

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Olivier Verriest


Danielle Bernock is an international, award-winning author, speaker, and coach who helps people embrace their value and heal their soul through the power of the love of God. She’s written Emerging With Wings, A Bird Named Payn (now available in audio), Love’s Manifesto and Because You Matter. A long time follower of Christ, Danielle lives with her husband in Michigan near her adult children and grandchildren. For more information or to connect with Danielle https://www.daniellebernock.com/ 


Originally published July 22, 2020.