New English Translation
6 “Be[a] careful not to display your righteousness merely to be seen by people.[b] Otherwise you have no reward with your Father in heaven. 2 Thus whenever you do charitable giving,[c] do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in synagogues[d] and on streets so that people will praise them. I tell you the truth,[e] they have their reward! 3 But when you do your giving, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your gift may be in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.[f]
5 “Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray while standing in synagogues[g] and on street corners so that people can see them. Truly I say to you, they have their reward! 6 But whenever you pray, go into your inner room,[h] close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.[i] 7 When[j] you pray, do not babble repetitiously like the Gentiles, because they think that by their many words they will be heard. 8 Do[k] not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 So pray this way:[l]
Our Father[m] in heaven, may your name be honored,[n]
10 may your kingdom come,[o]
may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread,[p]
12 and forgive us our debts,[q] as we ourselves[r] have forgiven our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,[s] but deliver us from the evil one.[t]
14 “For if you forgive others[u] their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you your sins.
16 “When[v] you fast, do not look sullen like the hypocrites, for they make their faces unattractive[w] so that people will see them fasting. I tell you the truth,[x] they have their reward! 17 When[y] you fast, anoint your head[z] and wash your face, 18 so 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.
19 “Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth[aa] and devouring insect[ab] destroy and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But accumulate for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and devouring insect do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your[ac] treasure[ad] is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If then your eye is healthy,[ae] your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is diseased,[af] your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
Do Not Worry
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry[aj] 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? 26 Look at the birds in the sky:[ak] They do not sow, or reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds[al] them. Aren’t you more valuable[am] than they are? 27 And which of you by worrying can add even one hour to his life?[an] 28 Why do you worry about clothing? Think about how the flowers[ao] of the field grow; they do not work[ap] or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these! 30 And if this is how God clothes the wild grass,[aq] which is here today and tomorrow is tossed into the fire to heat the oven,[ar] won’t he clothe you even more,[as] you people of little faith? 31 So then, don’t worry saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For the unconverted[at] pursue these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But above all pursue his kingdom[au] and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.[av]
- Matthew 6:1 tc ‡ Several mss (א L Z Θ ƒ1 33 892 1241 1424) have δέ (de, “but, now”) at the beginning of this verse; the reading without δέ is supported by B D W 0250 ƒ13 565 579 700 M lat. A decision is difficult, but the conjunction seems to have been added by later scribes to indicate a transition in the thought-flow of the Sermon on the Mount. NA28 has δέ in brackets, indicating reservations about its authenticity.
- Matthew 6:1 tn Grk “before people in order to be seen by them.”
- Matthew 6:2 tn Grk “give alms,” referring primarily to the giving of money or food for the relief of the poor, but this term is not in common use today. The giving of alms was highly regarded in the ancient world (Deut 15:7-11).
- Matthew 6:2 sn See the note on synagogues in 4:23.
- Matthew 6:2 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amēn), I say to you.”
- Matthew 6:4 tc L W Δ Θ 0250 565 579 700 1241 1424 M al it read ἐν τῷ φανερῷ (en tō phanerō, “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 ƒ1, 13 33 co).
- Matthew 6:5 sn See the note on synagogues in 4:23.
- Matthew 6:6 sn The term translated inner room refers to an inside room of a house, normally without any windows opening outside, the most private location possible (BDAG 988 s.v. ταμεῖον 2).
- Matthew 6:6 tc See the tc note on “will reward you” in 6:4: The problem is the same and the ms support differs only slightly.
- Matthew 6:7 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
- Matthew 6:8 tn Grk “So do not.” Here οὖν (oun) has not been translated.
- Matthew 6:9 sn 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.
- Matthew 6:9 sn 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 to God. Although it is a term of endearment used in the family circle, it is not the exact equivalent of “Daddy” (as is sometimes popularly suggested). However, it does suggest a close, familial relationship. See also the note on Abba at Rom 8:15.
- Matthew 6:9 tn Grk “may your name be held in reverence” or “may your name be considered holy”; traditionally, “hallowed be your name.”
- Matthew 6:10 sn Your kingdom come represents the hope for the full manifestation of God’s promised eschatological rule reflected in the OT prophetic literature, the ongoing hope of the Jewish people, a hope which is subsumed by Christianity.
- Matthew 6:11 tn 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.
- Matthew 6:12 sn The parallel passage Luke 11:4 uses the term “sins,” suggesting that debts here is used metaphorically to refer to moral and ethical debts (i.e., sins) rather than merely financial obligations, though it has been suggested that the idea of debt forgiveness still lies at the root of Jesus’ teaching here (note the use of similar debt forgiveness imagery in parables like that of the unforgiving slave in Matt 18:23-35).
- Matthew 6:12 tn 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.
- Matthew 6:13 tn Or “into a time of testing.”sn 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. Some interpreters see this as a specific request to avoid a time of testing that might lead to a crisis of faith, but occurring as it does toward the end of the prayer, a more general request for protection from sin seems more likely.
- Matthew 6:13 tc Most mss (L W Δ Θ 0233 ƒ13 33 565 579 700 1241 1424 M 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 ƒ1 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.tn The term πονηροῦ (ponērou) may be understood as specific and personified, referring to the devil, or possibly as a general reference to evil. It is most likely personified since it is articular (τοῦ πονηροῦ, tou ponērou). Cf. also “the evildoer” in 5:39, which is the same construction.
- Matthew 6:14 tn Here ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos) is used in a generic sense: “people, others.”
- Matthew 6:16 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
- Matthew 6:16 tn Here the term “disfigure” (employed in a number of translations) was not used because it could convey to the modern reader the notion of physical mutilation. L&N 79.17 states, “‘to make unsightly, to disfigure, to make ugly.’ ἀφανίζουσιν γὰρ τὰ πρόσωπα αὐτῶν ‘for they make their faces unsightly’ Mt 6:16.”
- Matthew 6:16 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amēn), I say to you.”
- Matthew 6:17 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
- Matthew 6:17 sn This anointing would be done with olive oil or perfumed oil, a cosmetic procedure done in conjunction with washing the face.
- Matthew 6:19 tn The term σής (sēs) refers to moths in general. It is specifically the larvae of moths that destroy clothing by eating holes in it (L&N 4.49; BDAG 922 s.v.). See Jas 5:2, which mentions “moth-eaten” clothing.
- Matthew 6:19 tn Traditionally “rust,” literally “eating” or “consuming.” Greek has a specific word for “rust” (James 5:3), whereas the term used here is not used of rust anywhere else. In the present context where moths are mentioned, some interpreters see a reference to some other kind of consuming insect. Mal 3:11 LXX does appear to use the Greek term as a translation of the Hebrew term for some type of grasshopper. Two OT passages (Job 13:28; Hos 5:12) mention “moth” in parallel with “rot” or “wood rot”; the physician Galen used the Greek term in medical texts to refer to the decay of teeth (6.422; 12.879). It is thus possible to see the second term in Matt 6:19 as referring to some type of rot, decay, or corrosion rather than as a specific reference to damage by insects or other pests. However, a surviving fragment by the Greek poet Pindar (fragment 209; Oxford Text = 222) mentions the inability of moths or weevils to destroy gold: “Gold is the child of Zeus; neither moth nor weevil consumes it” (cf. BDAG 922 s.v. σής where the word for “weevil,” κίς, is mistranslated as “rust”). In light of this usage and the context it was decided to render the Greek term as “devouring insect.”
- Matthew 6:21 tn The pronouns in this verse are singular while the pronouns in vv. 19-20 are plural. The change to singular emphasizes personal responsibility as opposed to corporate responsibility; even if others do not listen, the individual who hears Jesus’ commands is responsible to obey.
- Matthew 6:21 sn Seeking heavenly treasure means serving others and honoring God by doing so.
- Matthew 6:22 tn 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”).
- Matthew 6:23 tn Or “if your eye is sick” (L&N 23.149). sn 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. Ancient understanding of vision involved light coming into the body from outside, and “light” thus easily becomes a metaphor for teaching. As a “diseased” eye would hinder the passage of light, so in the metaphor Jesus’ teaching would be blocked from being internalized in the hearer.
- Matthew 6:24 sn 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.
- Matthew 6:24 tn Or “and treat [the other] with contempt.”
- Matthew 6:24 tn Grk “God and mammon.”sn The term money is used to translate mammon, the Aramaic term for wealth or possessions. The point is not that money is inherently evil, but that it is often misused so that it is a means of evil; see 1 Tim 6:6-10, 17-19. Here “money” is personified as a potential master and thus competes with God for the loyalty of the disciple. The passage is ultimately not a condemnation of wealth (there is no call here for absolute poverty) but a call for unqualified discipleship. God must be first, not money or possessions.
- Matthew 6:25 tn Or “do not be anxious,” and so throughout the rest of this paragraph.
- Matthew 6:26 tn Or “the wild birds”; 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).
- Matthew 6:26 tn Or “your heavenly Father gives them food to eat.” L&N 23.6 has both “to provide food for” and “to give food to someone to eat.”
- Matthew 6:26 tn Grk “of more value.”
- Matthew 6:27 tn Or “one 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 (pēchus). Most scholars take the term ἡλικία (hēlikia) to describe age or length of life here, although a few refer it to bodily stature (see BDAG 435-36 s.v. 1.a 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.
- Matthew 6:28 tn 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.
- Matthew 6:28 tn 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.
- Matthew 6:30 tn Grk “grass of the field.”
- Matthew 6:30 tn 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.sn The oven was most likely a rounded clay oven used for baking bread, which was heated by burning wood and dried grass.
- Matthew 6:30 sn 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.
- Matthew 6:32 tn Or “unbelievers”; Grk “Gentiles.”
- Matthew 6:33 tc ‡ Most mss (L N W Δ Θ 0233 ƒ1, 13 33 565 579 700 1241 1424 M lat sy mae) read τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ (tēn basileian tou theou kai tēn dikaiosunēn autou, “the kingdom of God and his righteousness”) here, but the words “of God” are lacking in א B 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), the latter attested by Clement of Alexandria—but this argument cuts both ways: Although the evangelist 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 the initial text. NA28 includes the words in brackets, indicating doubt as to their authenticity.sn God’s kingdom is a major theme of Jesus’ teaching. The nature of the kingdom of God in the NT and in Jesus’ teaching has long been debated by interpreters and scholars, with discussion primarily centering around the nature of the kingdom (earthly, heavenly, or both) and the kingdom’s arrival (present, future, or both). An additional major issue concerns the relationship between the kingdom of God and the person and work of Jesus himself.
- Matthew 6:34 tn Grk “Sufficient for the day is its evil.”