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Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry[a] 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:[b] They do not sow, or reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds[c] them. Aren’t you more valuable[d] than they are? 27 And which of you by worrying can add even one hour to his life?[e] 28 Why do you worry about clothing? Think about how the flowers[f] of the field grow; they do not work[g] 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,[h] which is here today and tomorrow is tossed into the fire to heat the oven,[i] won’t he clothe you even more,[j] 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[k] pursue these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But above all pursue his kingdom[l] 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.[m]

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  1. Matthew 6:25 tn Or “do not be anxious,” and so throughout the rest of this paragraph.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.”
  4. Matthew 6:26 tn Grk “of more value.”
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Matthew 6:30 tn Grk “grass of the field.”
  9. 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 The oven was most likely a rounded clay oven used for baking bread, which was heated by burning wood and dried grass.
  10. 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.
  11. Matthew 6:32 tn Or “unbelievers”; Grk “Gentiles.”
  12. 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 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.
  13. Matthew 6:34 tn Grk “Sufficient for the day is its evil.”