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Matthew 6:19-34

Context
Lasting Treasure

6:19 “Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth 1  and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. 6:20 But accumulate for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 6:21 For where your 2  treasure 3  is, there your heart will be also.

6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If then your eye is healthy, 4  your whole body will be full of light. 6:23 But if your eye is diseased, 5  your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

6:24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate 6  the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise 7  the other. You cannot serve God and money. 8 

Do Not Worry

6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry 9  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? 6:26 Look at the birds in the sky: 10  They do not sow, or reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds 11  them. Aren’t you more valuable 12  than they are? 6:27 And which of you by worrying can add even one hour to his life? 13  6:28 Why do you worry about clothing? Think about how the flowers 14  of the field grow; they do not work 15  or spin. 6:29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these! 6:30 And if this is how God clothes the wild grass, 16  which is here today and tomorrow is tossed into the fire to heat the oven, 17  won’t he clothe you even more, 18  you people of little faith? 6:31 So then, don’t worry saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 6:32 For the unconverted 19  pursue these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 6:33 But above all pursue his kingdom 20  and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 6:34 So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own. 21 

1 tn The term σής (shs) 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.

2 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 one who hears Jesus’ commands should obey.

3 sn Seeking heavenly treasure means serving others and honoring God by doing so.

4 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”).

5 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.

6 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.

7 tn Or “and treat [the other] with contempt.”

8 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. God must be first, not money or possessions.

9 tn Or “do not be anxious,” and so throughout the rest of this paragraph.

10 tn 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).

11 tn 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.”

12 tn Grk “of more value.”

13 tn Or “a cubit to his height.” A cubit (πῆχυς, phcu") 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 (Jhlikia) is ambiguous in the same way as πῆχυς (phcus). 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.

14 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.

15 tn Or, traditionally, “toil.” Although it might be argued that “work hard” would be a more precise translation of κοπιάω (kopiaw) here, the line in English reads better in terms of cadence with a single syllable.

16 tn Grk “grass of the field.”

17 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.

18 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.

19 tn Or “unbelievers”; Grk “Gentiles.”

20 tc ‡ Most mss (L W Θ 0233 Ë1,13 33 Ï lat sy mae) read τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ (thn basileian tou qeou kai thn dikaiosunhn aujtou, “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 (ouranwn) – 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.

sn 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.

21 tn Grk “Sufficient for the day is its evil.”



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