What Jesus meant when He said “Give us this day our daily bread”

Thursday, January 10, 2013

“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:9-11).

IDEA: The request for “daily bread” has not been easy to translate.

PURPOSE: To help listeners realize the implications of asking for “bread” for today.

Do you ever pray for translators who put the Scriptures into other languages?

Sometimes translators are faced with challenges even to know what a word meant to the original writers and readers.

I. What do you think would be involved in asking for “daily bread”?

The word translated daily is never used in Greek literature or anyplace else in Scripture except with this request in the Lord’s Prayer. Translators have had to guess at its meaning.

From the earliest times that we know about, translators puzzled over its meaning.

Does that surprise you?

Do you think Jesus knew the meaning? Or Matthew? Or the people who first heard the prayer?

The term appears in only one papyrus from Upper Egypt about 400 A.D. in a list in an account book. Next to some items is what appears as an abbreviation for the Greek word epiousious which apparently meant “enough for the day.” That is “the daily ration.”

Early translators had guessed at the meaning and this seemed to confirm their guess.

If the Lord’s Prayer is prayed in the morning, then it means “enough for the day.” If it is prayed in the night, it means, “enough for the coming day.”

However we take its meaning, it requests God to supply our physical needs for a day.

II. What are the implications of asking for “bread enough for the day”?

It’s harder to trust God for today and leave our future needs in His hands.

See Matthew 6:25-34 for Jesus’ commentary on this request.

It’s an invitation to come to our Father with requests that others may think of as small.

When we come to Him with small things, we honor Him.

He wants us to depend on Him daily and not merely when we think we can’t handle matters, so we will call on Him.