Pure-hearted Giving1“Be ▼
▼ ‡ Several mss (א L Z Θ f1 33 892 1241 1424 al) have δέ (de, “but, now”) at the beginning of this verse; the reading without δέ is supported by B D W 0250 f13 Maj. lat. A decision is difficult, but apparently the conjunction was added by later scribes to indicate a transition in the thought-flow of the Sermon on the Mount. NA27 has δέ in brackets, indicating reservations about its authenticity.careful not to display your righteousness merely to be seen by people. ▼
▼ Grk “before people in order to be seen by them.”Otherwise you have no reward with your Father in heaven. 2Thus whenever you do charitable giving, ▼ do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in synagogues ▼ and on streets so that people will praise them. I tell you the truth, ▼
▼ Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amēn), I say to you.”they have their reward. 3But when you do your giving, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your gift may be in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you. ▼
▼ L W Θ 0250 Maj. it read ἐν τῷ φανερῷ (en tō fanerō, “openly”) at the end of this verse, giving a counterweight to what is done in secret. But this reading is suspect because of the obvious literary balance, because of detouring the point of the passage (the focus of vv. 1–4 is not on two kinds of public rewards but on human vs. divine approbation), and because of superior external testimony that lacks this reading (א B D Z f1, 13 33 al).
Private Prayer5 “Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray while standing in synagogues ▼ and on street corners so that people can see them. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. 6But whenever you pray, go into your room, ▼
▼ The term translated room refers to the inner room of a house, normally without any windows opening outside, the most private location possible (BDAG 988 s.v. ταμεῖον 2).close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you. ▼ 7When ▼ you pray, do not babble repetitiously like the Gentiles, because they think that by their many words they will be heard. 8Do ▼
▼ Grk “So do not.” Here οὖν (oun) has not been translated.not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9So pray this way: ▼
▼ Pray this way. What follows, although traditionally known as the Lord’s prayer, is really the disciples’ prayer. It represents how they are to approach God, by acknowledging his uniqueness and their need for his provision and protection.
Our Father ▼
▼ God is addressed in terms of intimacy (Father). The original Semitic term here was probably Abba. The term is a little unusual in a personal prayer, especially as it lacks qualification. It is not the exact equivalent of “daddy” (as is sometimes popularly suggested), but it does suggest a close, familial relationship.in heaven, may your name be honored, ▼
▼ Grk “hallowed be your name.”
10 may your kingdom come, ▼
▼ Your kingdom come represents the hope for the full manifestation of God’s promised rule.
may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread, ▼
▼ Or “Give us bread today for the coming day,” or “Give us today the bread we need for today.” The term ἐπιούσιος (epiousios) does not occur outside of early Christian literature (other occurrences are in Luke 11:3 and Didache 8:2), so its meaning is difficult to determine. Various suggestions include “daily,” “the coming day,” and “for existence.” See BDAG 376-77 s.v.; L&N 67:183, 206.
12 and forgive us our debts, as we ourselves ▼
▼ Or “as even we.” The phrase ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς (hōs kai hēmeis) makes ἡμεῖς emphatic. The translation above adds an appropriate emphasis to the passage.have forgiven our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation, ▼
▼ Or “into a time of testing.”▼
▼ The request do not lead us into temptation is not to suggest God causes temptation, but is a rhetorical way to ask for his protection from sin.but deliver us from the evil one. ▼
▼ Most mss (L W Θ 0233 f13 33 Maj. sy sa Didache) read (though some with slight variation) ὅτι σοῦ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία καὶ ἡ δύναμις καὶ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, ἀμήν (“for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, amen”) here. The reading without this sentence, though, is attested by generally better witnesses (א B D Z 0170 f1 pc lat mae Or). The phrase was probably composed for the liturgy of the early church and most likely was based on 1 Chr 29:11–13; a scribe probably added the phrase at this point in the text for use in public scripture reading (see TCGNT 13–14). Both external and internal evidence argue for the shorter reading.▼
14 “For if you forgive others ▼
▼ Here ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos) is used in a generic sense: “people, others.”their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you your sins.
Proper Fasting16 “When ▼ you fast, do not look sullen like the hypocrites, for they make their faces unattractive ▼ so that people will see them fasting. I tell you the truth, ▼
▼ Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amēn), I say to you.”they have their reward. 17When ▼ you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18so that it will not be obvious to others when you are fasting, but only to your Father who is in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.
Lasting Treasure19 “Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth ▼ and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. 20But accumulate for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your ▼ treasure ▼
▼ Seeking heavenly treasure means serving others and honoring God by doing so.is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If then your eye is healthy, ▼
▼ Or “sound” (so L&N 23.132 and most scholars). A few scholars take this word to mean something like “generous” here (L&N 57.107). partly due to the immediate context concerning money, in which case the “eye” is a metonymy for the entire person (“if you are generous”).your whole body will be full of light. 23But if your eye is diseased, ▼
▼ Or “if your eye is sick” (L&N 23.149).▼
▼ There may be a slight wordplay here, as this term can also mean “evil,” so the figure uses a term that points to the real meaning of being careful as to what one pays attention to or looks at.your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate ▼
▼ The contrast between hate and love here is rhetorical. The point is that one will choose the favorite if a choice has to be made.the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise ▼
▼ Or “and treat [the other] with contempt.”the other. You cannot serve God and money. ▼
▼ Grk “God and mammon.”▼
Do Not Worry25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry ▼
▼ Or “do not be anxious,” and so throughout the rest of this paragraph.about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t there more to life than food and more to the body than clothing? 26Look at the birds in the sky: ▼
▼ Grk “the birds of the sky” or “the birds of the heaven”; the Greek word οὐρανός (ouranos) may be translated either “sky” or “heaven,” depending on the context. The idiomatic expression “birds of the sky” refers to wild birds as opposed to domesticated fowl (cf. BDAG 809 s.v. πετεινόν).They do not sow, or reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds ▼
▼ Or “God gives them food to eat.” L&N 23.6 has both “to provide food for” and “to give food to someone to eat.”them. Aren’t you more valuable ▼
▼ Grk “of more value.”than they are? 27And which of you by worrying can add even one hour to his life? ▼
▼ Or “a cubit to his height.” A cubit (πῆχυς, pēchus) can measure length (normally about 45 cm or 18 inches) or time (a small unit, “hour” is usually used [BDAG 812 s.v.] although “day” has been suggested [L&N 67.151]). The term ἡλικία (hēlikia) is ambiguous in the same way as πῆχυς (pēcus). Most scholars take the term to describe age or length of life here, although a few refer it to bodily stature (see BDAG 436 s.v. 3 for discussion). Worry about length of life seems a more natural figure than worry about height. However, the point either way is clear: Worrying adds nothing to life span or height.28Why do you worry about clothing? Think about how the flowers ▼
▼ Traditionally, “lilies.” According to L&N 3.32, “Though traditionally κρίνον has been regarded as a type of lily, scholars have suggested several other possible types of flowers, including an anemone, a poppy, a gladiolus, and a rather inconspicuous type of daisy.” In view of the uncertainty, the more generic “flowers” has been used in the translation.of the field grow; they do not work ▼
▼ Or, traditionally, “toil.” Although it might be argued that “work hard” would be a more precise translation of κοπιάω (kopiaō) here, the line in English reads better in terms of cadence with a single syllable.or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these! 30And if this is how God clothes the wild grass, ▼
▼ Grk “grass of the field.”which is here today and tomorrow is tossed into the fire to heat the oven, ▼
▼ Grk “into the oven.” The expanded translation “into the fire to heat the oven” has been used to avoid misunderstanding; most items put into modern ovens are put there to be baked, not burned.▼
▼ The oven was most likely a rounded clay oven used for baking bread, which was heated by burning wood and dried grass.won’t he clothe you even more, ▼
▼ The phrase even more is a typical form of rabbinic argumentation, from the lesser to the greater. If God cares for the little things, surely he will care for the more important things.you people of little faith? 31So then, don’t worry saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32For the unconverted ▼
▼ Or “unbelievers”; Grk “Gentiles.”pursue these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But above all pursue his kingdom ▼
▼ ‡ Most mss (L W Θ 0233 f1, 13 33 Maj. lat sy mae) read τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ (tēn basileian tou qeou kai tēn dikaiosunēn autou, “the kingdom of God and his righteousness”) here, but the words “of God” are lacking in א B pc sa bo Eus. On the one hand, there is the possibility of accidental omission on the part of these Alexandrian witnesses, but it seems unlikely that the scribe’s eye would skip over both words (especially since τοῦ θεοῦ is bracketed by first declension nouns). Intrinsically, the author generally has a genitive modifier with βασιλεία - especially θεοῦ or οὐρανῶν (ouranōn) - but this argument cuts both ways: Although he might be expected to use such an adjunct here, scribes might also be familiar with his practice and would thus naturally insert it if it were missing in their copy of Matthew. Although a decision is difficult, the omission of τοῦ θεοῦ is considered most likely to be original. NA27 includes the words in brackets, indicating doubt as to their authenticity.▼
▼ God’s kingdom is a major theme of Jesus. It is a realm in which Jesus rules and to which those who trust him belong.and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own. ▼
▼ Grk “Sufficient for the day is its evil.”
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