Giving to the Poor and Prayer
6 “Be [very] careful not to do your [a]good deeds publicly, to be seen by men; otherwise you will have no reward [prepared and awaiting you] with your Father who is in heaven.
2 “So whenever you give to the poor and do acts of kindness, do not blow a trumpet before you [to advertise it], as the hypocrites do [like actors acting out a role] in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored and recognized and praised by men. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, they [already] have their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the poor and do acts of kindness, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing [give in complete secrecy], 4 so that your charitable acts will be done in secret; and your Father who sees [what is done] in secret will reward you.
5 “Also, when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to pray [publicly] standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets so that they may be seen by men. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, they [already] have their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your most private room, close the door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees [what is done] in secret will reward you.
7 “And when you pray, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.(A) 8 So do not be like them [praying as they do]; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
9 “Pray, then, [b]in this way:
‘Our Father, who is in heaven,
[c]Hallowed be Your name.(B)
‘[d]Your kingdom come,
Your [e]will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
‘Give us this day our [f]daily bread.
‘And forgive us our [g]debts, as we have forgiven our debtors [letting go of both the wrong and the resentment].
‘And do not [h]lead us into temptation, but deliver us from [i]evil. [j][For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]’(C)
14 For if you forgive [k]others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others [nurturing your hurt and anger with the result that it interferes with your relationship with God], then your Father will not forgive your trespasses.
Fasting, The True Treasure, Wealth (Mammon)
16 “And whenever you are fasting, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they put on a sad and dismal face [like actors, discoloring their faces with ashes or dirt] so that their fasting may be seen by men. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, they [already] have their reward in full.(D) 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head [as you normally would to groom your hair] and wash your face 18 so that your fasting will not be noticed by people, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees [what is done] in secret will reward you.
19 “Do not store up for yourselves [material] treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart [your wishes, your desires; that on which your life centers] will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body; so if your eye is clear [spiritually perceptive], your whole body will be full of light [benefiting from God’s precepts]. 23 But if your eye is bad [spiritually blind], your whole body will be full of darkness [devoid of God’s precepts]. So if the [very] light inside you [your inner self, your heart, your conscience] is darkness, how great and terrible is that darkness!
24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money, possessions, fame, status, or whatever is valued more than the Lord].
The Cure for Anxiety
25 “Therefore I tell you, stop being worried or anxious (perpetually uneasy, distracted) about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, as to what you will wear. Is life not more than food, and the body more than clothing?(E) 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow [seed] nor reap [the harvest] nor gather [the crops] into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by worrying can add one [l]hour to [the length of] his life?(F) 28 And why are you worried about clothes? See how the lilies and wildflowers of the field grow; they do not labor nor do they spin [wool to make clothing], 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory and splendor dressed himself like one of these.(G) 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive and green today and tomorrow is [cut and] thrown [as fuel] into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Therefore do not worry or be anxious (perpetually uneasy, distracted), saying, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ 32 For the [pagan] Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; [but do not worry,] for your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.
34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
- Matthew 6:1 Lit righteousness before men.
- Matthew 6:9 I.e. as a model or pattern.
- Matthew 6:9 I.e. set apart, keep and treat as holy, revere.
- Matthew 6:10 A plea for God’s kingdom to be inaugurated on earth.
- Matthew 6:10 Including what God wishes to be done by the individual believer—His commands and precepts.
- Matthew 6:11 I.e. life’s essentials.
- Matthew 6:12 I.e. sins, moral failures.
- Matthew 6:13 I.e. lead us away from situations where we are vulnerable and have the opportunity to sin. God does not tempt man (see James 1:13) but does allow man to be tested.
- Matthew 6:13 Or the evil one.
- Matthew 6:13 This clause is not found in early mss.
- Matthew 6:14 Gr anthropoi.
- Matthew 6:27 Lit cubit, here probably applied metaphorically to a lifespan.
GOD’S WORD Translation
The Sermon on a Mountain Continues: Don’t Do Good Works to Be Praised by People
6 “Be careful not to do your good works in public in order to attract attention. If you do, your Father in heaven will not reward you. 2 So when you give to the poor, don’t announce it with trumpet fanfare. This is what hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets in order to be praised by people. I can guarantee this truth: That will be their only reward. 3 When you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. 4 Give your contributions privately. Your Father sees what you do in private. He will reward you.
The Lord’s Prayer(A)
5 “When you pray, don’t be like hypocrites. They like to stand in synagogues and on street corners to pray so that everyone can see them. I can guarantee this truth: That will be their only reward. 6 When you pray, go to your room and close the door. Pray privately to your Father who is with you. Your Father sees what you do in private. He will reward you.
7 “When you pray, don’t ramble like heathens who think they’ll be heard if they talk a lot. 8 Don’t be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 “This is how you should pray:
Our Father in heaven,
let your name be kept holy.
10 Let your kingdom come.
Let your will be done on earth
as it is done in heaven.
11 Give us our daily bread today.
12 Forgive us as we forgive others.
13 Don’t allow us to be tempted.
Instead, rescue us from the evil one.[a]
14 “If you forgive the failures of others, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failures.
16 “When you fast, stop looking sad like hypocrites. They put on sad faces to make it obvious that they’re fasting. I can guarantee this truth: That will be their only reward. 17 When you fast, wash your face and comb your hair. 18 Then your fasting won’t be obvious. Instead, it will be obvious to your Father who is with you in private. Your Father sees what you do in private. He will reward you.
19 “Stop storing up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moths and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. 20 Instead, store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust don’t destroy and thieves don’t break in and steal. 21 Your heart will be where your treasure is.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is unclouded, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is evil, your whole body will be full of darkness. If the light in you is darkness, how dark it will be!
24 “No one can serve two masters. He will hate the first master and love the second, or he will be devoted to the first and despise the second. You cannot serve God and wealth.
25 “So I tell you to stop worrying about what you will eat, drink, or wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothes?
26 “Look at the birds. They don’t plant, harvest, or gather the harvest into barns. Yet, your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they?
27 “Can any of you add a single hour to your life by worrying?
28 “And why worry about clothes? Notice how the flowers grow in the field. They never work or spin yarn for clothes. 29 But I say that not even Solomon in all his majesty was dressed like one of these flowers. 30 That’s the way God clothes the grass in the field. Today it’s alive, and tomorrow it’s thrown into an incinerator. So how much more will he clothe you people who have so little faith?
31 “Don’t ever worry and say, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ 32 Everyone is concerned about these things, and your heavenly Father certainly knows you need all of them. 33 But first, be concerned about his kingdom and what has his approval. Then all these things will be provided for you.
34 “So don’t ever worry about tomorrow. After all, tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
- 6:13 Or “rescue us from evil.”
The Passion Translation
Giving with Pure Motives
6 “Examine your motives to make sure you’re not showing off when you do your good deeds, only to be admired by others; otherwise, you will lose the reward of your heavenly Father. 2 So when you give to the poor, don’t announce it and make a show of it just to be seen by people,[a] like the hypocrites[b] in the streets and in the marketplace.[c] They’ve already received their reward! 3 But when you demonstrate generosity, do it with pure motives and without drawing attention to yourself.[d] 4 Give secretly and your Father, who sees all you do, will reward you openly.”[e]
5 “Whenever you pray, be sincere and not like the pretenders who love the attention they receive while praying before others in the meetings and on street corners. Believe me, they’ve already received in full their reward. 6 But whenever you pray, go into your innermost chamber and be alone with Father God,[f] praying to him in secret. And your Father, who sees all you do, will reward you openly. 7 When you pray, there is no need to repeat empty phrases, praying like those who don’t know God,[g] for they expect God to hear them because of their many words. 8 There is no need to imitate them, since your Father already knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray like this:
‘Our Father, dwelling in the heavenly realms,
may the glory of your name
be the center on which our lives turn.[h]
10 Manifest your kingdom realm,[i]
and cause your every purpose to be fulfilled on earth,
just as it is fulfilled in heaven.
11 We acknowledge you as our Provider
of all we need each day.[j]
12 Forgive us the wrongs we have done[k] as we ourselves
release forgiveness to those who have wronged us.
13 Rescue us every time we face tribulation[l]
and set us free from evil.[m]
For you are the King who rules
with power and glory forever. Amen.’[n]
14 “And when you pray, make sure you forgive the faults of others so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you. 15 But if you withhold forgiveness from others, your Father withholds forgiveness from you.”
16 “When you fast, don’t look like those who pretend to be spiritual. They want everyone to know they’re fasting, so they appear in public looking miserable, gloomy, and disheveled.[o] Believe me, they’ve already received their reward in full. 17–18 When you fast, don’t let it be obvious, but instead, wash your face[p] and groom yourself and realize that your Father in the secret place is the one who is watching all that you do in secret and will continue to reward you openly.”
Treasures in Heaven
19 “Don’t keep hoarding for yourselves earthly treasures that can be stolen by thieves. Material wealth eventually rusts, decays, and loses its value.[q] 20 Instead, stockpile heavenly treasures[r] for yourselves that cannot be stolen and will never rust, decay, or lose their value. 21 For your heart will always pursue what you value as your treasure.[s]
22 “The eyes of your spirit allow revelation-light[t] to enter into your being. If your heart is unclouded, the light floods in! 23 But if your eyes are focused on money,[u] the light cannot penetrate and darkness takes its place.[v] How profound will be the darkness within you[w] if the light of truth cannot enter!
24 “How could you worship two gods at the same time? You will have to hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You can’t worship the true God while enslaved to the god of money!”[x]
25 “This is why I tell you to never be worried about your life, for all that you need will be provided, such as food, water, clothing—everything your body needs. Isn’t there more to your life than a meal? Isn’t your body more than clothing?
26 “Look at all the birds—do you think they worry about their existence? They don’t plant or reap or store up food, yet your heavenly Father provides them each with food. Aren’t you much more valuable to your Father than they? 27 So, which one of you by worrying could add anything to your life?[y]
28 “And why would you worry about your clothing? Look at all the beautiful flowers of the field. They don’t work or toil, 29 and yet not even Solomon in all his splendor was robed in beauty more than one of these! 30 So if God has clothed the meadow with hay, which is here for such a short time and then dried up and burned, won’t he provide for you the clothes you need—even though you live with such little faith?
31 “So then, forsake your worries! Why would you say, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For that is what the unbelievers chase after. Doesn’t your heavenly Father already know the things your bodies require?[z]
33 “So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom[aa] and the righteousness that proceeds from him. Then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly.[ab] 34 Refuse to worry about tomorrow, but deal with each challenge that comes your way, one day at a time.[ac] Tomorrow will take care of itself.”
- Matthew 6:2 Or “blow your own horn.”
- Matthew 6:2 The Greek word hupokrites is not only used for people with double standards, it actually means “overcritical,” “nitpicking,” “splitting hairs over religious issues.”
- Matthew 6:2 As translated from Aramaic and Hebrew Matthew. The Greek is “synagogues.”
- Matthew 6:3 Or “Don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” This is a figure of speech for giving with pure motives, not to be seen and applauded by others.
- Matthew 6:4 As translated from the Aramaic and Hebrew Matthew. Most Greek manuscripts do not include the word openly.
- Matthew 6:6 Or “Go into your inner room [storehouse], close the door, and pray.” This “inner room” can also be a metaphor for praying from the heart, from our innermost being, our storehouse.
- Matthew 6:7 Or “gentiles.”
- Matthew 6:9 An alternate reading of the Aramaic text. The Aramaic word for “name” is shema (the Hebrew word, shem), a word with multiple meanings. It can also be translated “light,” “sound,” or “atmosphere.” Placing a light, like a lantern, in an enclosed space magnifies that light. This is the meaning here of God’s name being made sacred and magnified as we focus our lives on him. The Greek is “treated as holy.”
- Matthew 6:10 Or “Come and begin your kingdom reign.”
- Matthew 6:11 Or “Give us bread [or life] today for the coming day.” Bread becomes a metaphor of our needs (physically, spiritually, and emotionally). Jesus is teaching us to acknowledge Father God as our Provider of all we need each day. Both the Greek and Hebrew Matthew can be translated “Give us this day our bread for tomorrow” (or “our continual bread”).
- Matthew 6:12 Or “Send away the results of our debts (shortcomings),” used as a metaphor for our sins. The Aramaic can be translated “Give us serenity as we also allow others serenity.”
- Matthew 6:13 Or “Do not let us be put into the ordeal of testing.” God never tempts man. See James 1:13-14.
- Matthew 6:13 Or “the Evil One.”
- Matthew 6:13 As translated from the Aramaic, Hebrew Matthew, and most Greek manuscripts. The Aramaic word for “forever” means “until the end of all the universes.”
- Matthew 6:16 Or “disfigure their faces.” Some of them would put saffron on their faces to make them appear a sickly yellow color in order to be seen as though they had been fasting.
- Matthew 6:17 Or “put oil on your head.”
- Matthew 6:19 Or “where rust and moth destroy.”
- Matthew 6:20 Heavenly treasures are eternal realities, such as loving others and doing good, revealing truth, and bringing Christ’s light to the lost. None of these “treasures” can be stolen or ever lose their value.
- Matthew 6:21 Or “For your thoughts [heart] will always be focused on your treasure.”
- Matthew 6:22 The teachings of Jesus are the “revelation-light” referred to here. Some scholars see “healthy eyes” as a Semitic figure of speech for generosity, due to the context of giving and money in the verses before and after. Or “Your eye is like a lamp for your body.”
- Matthew 6:23 An “evil” eye can also be associated with being stingy and greedy.
- Matthew 6:23 Or “If your eye is healthy [focused], your whole body is full of light; but if it is sick (evil), your body is full of darkness.” The “eye” becomes a metaphor for spiritual perception. The “body” is our spirit. The “light” is Jesus’ teachings. The “darkness” is formed by the lies and opinions that blind us. These obvious metaphors have been made explicit in the translation.
- Matthew 6:23 Hebrew Matthew is “All your ways are dark.”
- Matthew 6:24 Or “God and mammon.” Mammon is an Aramaic term for money. See 1 Tim. 6:6-10. There is found after v. 24 a part of the agrapha that reads, “If you do not fast from the world, you will never discover the kingdom of God” (Oxyrhyncus Papyrus 655, pOxy 1:4–11).
- Matthew 6:27 The Aramaic and Hebrew Matthew is “add a cubit to your height.” The Greek is “add one hour to your lifespan.”
- Matthew 6:32 There is a part of the agrapha inserted here, which is confirmed by a number of church fathers who had access to more ancient manuscripts, that reads “So if you ask for the great things, God will add to you the little things.” This is most likely from a variation of the Hebrew Matthew. (Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis 1.24.158; Origen, Commentary on the Pss. 4.4; De Oratione 2.2; 14.1; Eusebius, Commentary on the Pss. 16.2. See also Craig A. Evans, Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels [IVP Press, 2006], 236–238.)
- Matthew 6:33 The Hebrew Matthew is “Above all, pray for the kingdom realm of God.”
- Matthew 6:33 As translated from the Aramaic.
- Matthew 6:34 Or “One day’s trouble is enough for one day.”