Matthew 6:11. Give us this day our daily bread As the original word, επιουσιον , here rendered daily, is not found anywhere else; neither in the LXX. nor in any Greek author, nor in any other part of the New Testament, save in the parallel passage in Luke, commentators differ in their interpretation of it. That given by Theophylact, one of the most approved of the Greek fathers, seems the best: “Bread sufficient for our sustenance or support:” which is the sense in which the word is understood by Chrysostom, and in Etymol. Magna, where it is explained thus: ο επι
τη ουσια ημων αρμοζων , “that which is sufficient to our life;” or what will strengthen us from day to day for serving God with cheerfulness and vigour. Thus, also, Mr. Mede interprets the expression. The Latin version, in Jerome’s time, had panem quotidianum, daily bread, which our translators have copied, because in the parallel passage, Luke 11:3, το καθ ’ ημεραν , day by day, is joined with επιουσιον . Daily bread, it must be observed, according to the Hebrew idiom, signifies the whole provision of the table, see Genesis 18:5; and here it includes raiment also, and every thing necessary to life. “Since, therefore, we are not allowed to ask provision to gratify a luxurious appetite, but only the necessaries of life, and that not for many years, but from day to day, the petition forbids anxious cares about futurity, and teaches us how moderate our desires of worldly things ought to be. And whereas, not the poor only, whose industry all acknowledge must be favoured by the concurrence of Providence to render it successful, but the rich are enjoined to pray for their bread, day by day, it is on account of the great instability of human affairs, which renders the possession of wealth absolutely precarious; and because, without the divine blessing, even the abundance of the rich is not of itself sufficient so much as to keep them alive, far less to make them happy.” Indeed, the petition teaches all men to exercise an humble dependance on Divine Providence for the most necessary supplies, be their possessions or abilities ever so great. It may be observed further here, that Erasmus, Heylin, and many others, following the fathers, understand it in a spiritual sense also. Bread, says Heylin, here signifies, “all things needful for our maintenance; the maintenance of the whole man, both body and soul; for each of these have their proper sustenance; to one belongs the natural bread, to the other the spiritual, and both are included in this petition.”
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