Giving with Pure Motives
1“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. 2So when you give to the poor, don’t announce it and make a show of it just to be seen by people, # 6:2 Or “blow your own horn.” like the hypocrites # 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.” in the streets and in the marketplace. # 6:2 As translated from Aramaic and Hebrew Matthew. The Greek is “synagogues.” They’ve already received their reward! 3But when you demonstrate generosity, do it with pure motives and without drawing attention to yourself. # 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. 4Give secretly and your Father, who sees all you do, will reward you openly.” # 6:4 As translated from the Aramaic and Hebrew Matthew. Most Greek manuscripts do not include the word openly.
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 their reward. 6But whenever you pray, go into your innermost chamber and be alone with Father God, # 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. praying to him in secret. And your Father, who sees all you do, will reward you openly. 7When you pray, there is no need to repeat empty phrases, praying like the Gentiles do, for they expect God to hear them because of their many words. 8There is no need to imitate them, since your Father already knows what you need before you ask him. 9Pray like this:
‘Our Beloved Father, # 6:9 Jesus invites us into the same relationship with the Father, as His Abba. dwelling in the heavenly realms,
may the glory of your name
be the center on which our lives turn. # 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.”
10Manifest your kingdom realm, # 6:10 Or “Come and begin your kingdom reign.”
and cause your every purpose to be fulfilled on earth,
just as it is in heaven.
11We acknowledge you as our Provider
of all we need each day. # 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”).
12Forgive us the wrongs we have done # 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.” as we ourselves
release forgiveness to those who have wronged us.
13Rescue us every time we face tribulation # 6:13 Or “Do not let us be put into the ordeal of testing.” God never tempts man. See James 1:13–14.
and set us free from evil. # 6:13 Or “the Evil One.”
For you are the King who rules
with power and glory forever. Amen.’ # 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.”
14“And when you pray, make sure you forgive the faults of others so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you. 15But if you withhold forgiveness from others, your Father withholds forgiveness from you.”
16“When you fast, don’t look gloomy and pretend to be spiritual. They want everyone to know they’re fasting, so they appear in public looking miserable and disheveled. # 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. Believe me, they’ve already received their reward. 17-18When you fast, don’t let it be obvious, but instead, wash your face # 6:17–18 Or “put oil on your head.” 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.”
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. # 6:19 Or “where rust and moth destroy.” 20Instead, stockpile heavenly treasures # 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. for yourselves that cannot be stolen and will never rust, decay, or lose their value. 21For your heart will always pursue what you esteem as your treasure. # 6:21 Or “For your thoughts [heart] will always be focused on your treasure.”
22“The eyes of your spirit allow revelation-light # 6:22 Or “Your eye is like a lamp for your body.” 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. to enter into your being. If your heart is unclouded, the light floods in! 23But if your eyes are focused on money, # 6:23 An “evil” eye can also be associated with being stingy and greedy. the light cannot penetrate and darkness takes its place. # 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 this translation. How profound will be the darkness within you # 6:23 Hebrew Matthew is “All your ways are dark.” 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!” # 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).
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“Consider 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? 27So, which one of you by worrying could add anything to your life? # 6:27 The Aramaic and Hebrew Matthew is “add a cubit to your height.” The Greek is “add one hour to your lifespan.”
28“And why would you worry about your clothing? Look at all the beautiful flowers of the field. They don’t work or toil, 29and yet not even Solomon in all his splendor was robed in beauty like one of these! 30So 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—you of 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?’ 32For that is what the unbelievers # 6:32 Or “Gentiles.” chase after. Doesn’t your heavenly Father already know the things your bodies require? # 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.)
33“So above all, constantly seek God’s kingdom # 6:33 The Hebrew Matthew is “Above all, pray for the kingdom realm of God.” and his righteousness, then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly. # 6:33 As translated from the Aramaic. 34Refuse to worry about tomorrow, but deal with each challenge that comes your way, one day at a time. # 6:34 Or “One day’s trouble is enough for one day.” Tomorrow will take care of itself.”