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Jehovah’s Witnesses

New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition)

Matthew 6:1-34

6  “Take care not to practice your righteousness in front of men to be noticed by them;+ otherwise you will have no reward with your Father who is in the heavens.  So when you make gifts of mercy,+ do not blow a trumpet ahead of you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be glorified by men.+ Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.  But you, when making gifts of mercy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,  so that your gifts of mercy may be in secret. Then your Father who looks on in secret will repay you.+  “Also, when you pray, do not act like the hypocrites,+ for they like to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the main streets to be seen by men.+ Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.  But when you pray, go into your private room and, after shutting your door, pray to your Father who is in secret.+ Then your Father who looks on in secret will repay you.  When praying, do not say the same things over and over again as the people of the nations do, for they imagine they will get a hearing for their use of many words.  So do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need+ even before you ask him.  “You must pray, then, this way:+ “‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name+ be sanctified.+ 10  Let your Kingdom+ come. Let your will+ take place, as in heaven, also on earth.+ 11  Give us today our bread for this day;+ 12  and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.+ 13  And do not bring us into temptation,+ but deliver* us from the wicked one.’*+ 14  “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you;+ 15  whereas if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.+ 16  “When you fast,+ stop becoming sad-faced like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so they may appear to men to be fasting.+ Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 17  But you, when fasting, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18  so that you may not appear to be fasting to men but only to your Father who is in secret. Then your Father who looks on in secret will repay you. 19  “Stop storing up for yourselves treasures on the earth,+ where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal. 20  Rather, store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,+ where neither moth nor rust consumes,+ and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22  “The lamp of the body is the eye.+ If, then, your eye is focused, your whole body will be bright.*+ 23  But if your eye is envious,+ your whole body will be dark. If the light that is in you is really darkness, how great that darkness is! 24  “No one can slave for two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other,+ or he will stick to the one and despise the other. You cannot slave for God and for Riches.+ 25  “On this account I say to you: Stop being anxious+ about your lives as to what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your bodies as to what you will wear.+ Does not life mean more than food and the body than clothing?+ 26  Observe intently the birds of heaven;+ they do not sow seed or reap or gather into storehouses, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth more than they are? 27  Who of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his life span?+ 28  Also, why are you anxious about clothing? Take a lesson from the lilies of the field, how they grow; they do not toil, nor do they spin; 29  but I tell you that not even Solʹo·mon+ in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. 30  Now if this is how God clothes the vegetation of the field that is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much rather clothe you, you with little faith? 31  So never be anxious+ and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or, ‘What are we to drink?’ or, ‘What are we to wear?’+ 32  For all these are the things the nations are eagerly pursuing. Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33  “Keep on, then, seeking first the Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you.+ 34  So never be anxious about the next day,+ for the next day will have its own anxieties. Each day has enough of its own troubles.


Or “rescue.”
Or possibly, “from what is wicked.”
Or “full of light.”

gifts of mercy: The Greek word e·le·e·mo·syʹne, traditionally rendered “alms,” is related to the Greek words for “mercy” and “to show mercy.” It refers to money or food freely given to relieve the poor.

blow a trumpet: This would attract attention. Evidently, the trumpeting mentioned here is figurative, the sense being that a person should not publicize his own acts of generosity.

hypocrites: The Greek word hy·po·kri·tesʹ originally referred to Greek (and later Roman) stage actors who wore large masks designed to amplify the voice. The term came to be used in a metaphoric sense to apply to anyone hiding his real intentions or personality by playing false or putting on a pretense. Jesus here calls the Jewish religious leaders “hypocrites.”Mt 6:5, 16.

Truly: Greek, a·menʹ, a transliteration of the Hebrew ʼa·menʹ, meaning “so be it,” or “surely.” Jesus frequently uses this expression to preface a statement, a promise, or a prophecy, thereby emphasizing its absolute truthfulness and reliability. Jesus’ use of “truly,” or amen, in this way is said to be unique in sacred literature. When repeated in succession (a·menʹ a·menʹ), as is the case throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus’ expression is translated “most truly.”Joh 1:51.

they have their reward in full: The Greek term a·peʹkho, meaning “to have in full,” often appeared on business receipts, with the sense of “paid in full.” The hypocrites gave in order to be seen by men, and they were seen and glorified by men for their charitable giving; thus, they have already received all the reward that they are going to get. They should not expect anything from God.

do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing: A figure of speech denoting the utmost discretion or secrecy. Jesus’ followers are not to advertise their charitable works even to those who are as close to them as the left hand is to the right, that is, even to intimate friends.

do not say the same things over and over again: Or “do not babble words; do not utter empty repetitions.” Jesus was warning his followers not to pray without thinking. He does not mean that it is wrong to repeat requests. (Mt 26:36-45) It would be wrong, however, to mimic the repetitious prayers of people of the nations (that is, Gentiles, or non-Jews) who are in the habit of mindlessly repeating memorized phrases “over and over again.”

your Father: A few ancient manuscripts have the reading “God your Father,” but the shorter reading, “your Father,” has better manuscript support.

Father: The first of over 160 occurrences in the Gospels in which Jesus refers to Jehovah God as “Father.” Jesus’ use of the term shows that his listeners already understood its meaning in relation to God by its usage in the Hebrew Scriptures. (De 32:6; Ps 89:26; Isa 63:16) Earlier servants of God used many lofty titles to describe and address Jehovah, including the “Almighty,” “the Most High,” and the “Grand Creator,” but Jesus’ frequent use of the simple, common term “Father” highlights God’s intimacy with his worshippers.Ge 17:1; De 32:8; Ec 12:1.

You: This form of address distinguishes Jesus’ listeners from the hypocrites whom he mentioned earlier.Mt 6:5.

this way: That is, in contrast with the practice of those who were accustomed to saying “the same things over and over again.”Mt 6:7.

Our Father: By using the plural pronoun “our,” the one praying acknowledges that others too have a close relationship with God and are part of His family of worshippers.—See study note on Mt 5:16.

name: The personal name of God, represented by the four Hebrew letters יהוה (YHWH) and commonly rendered “Jehovah” in English. In the New World Translation, the name occurs 6,979 times in the Hebrew Scriptures and 237 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures. (For information on the use of the divine name in the Christian Greek Scriptures, see App. A5 and App. C.) In the Bible, the term “name” at times also stands for the person himself, his reputation, and all that he declares himself to be.Re 3:4, ftn.

be sanctified: Or “be held sacred; be treated as holy.” This is a petition that all creation, including both humans and angels, hold God’s name holy. The petition also includes the thought that God take action to sanctify himself by clearing his name of the reproach that has been heaped on it ever since the rebellion of the first human pair in the garden of Eden.

our bread for this day: In many contexts, the Hebrew and Greek words for “bread” mean “food.” (Ge 3:19, ftn.) Jesus thus indicates that those who serve God can confidently ask him to supply them, not with an excessive amount of provisions, but with adequate food for each day. This request is a reminder that God commanded the Israelites to gather the miraculously provided manna, each one “his amount day by day.”Ex 16:4.

forgive: The Greek word literally means “to let go” but can also have the meaning “to cancel a debt,” as at Mt 18:27, 32.

debts: Referring to sins. When sinning against someone, a person incurs a debt to that one, or has an obligation to him, and must therefore seek his forgiveness. Receiving God’s forgiveness depends on whether the person has forgiven his personal debtors, that is, those who have sinned against him.Mt 6:14, 15; 18:35; Lu 11:4.

do not bring us into temptation: Or “do not allow us to give in to temptation.” The Bible sometimes speaks of God as causing things that he merely allows to take place. (Ru 1:20, 21) Therefore, Jesus is not saying here that God tempts people to sin. (Jas 1:13) Rather, he encourages his followers to pray for God’s help to avoid or endure temptation.1Co 10:13.

trespasses: The Greek term for “trespass” may be rendered “a false step” (Ga 6:1) or a blunder, in contrast with walking uprightly in harmony with God’s righteous requirements.

fast: That is, abstain from food for a limited time. (See Glossary.) Jesus never commanded his disciples to fast, nor did he direct them to avoid the practice altogether. Under the Mosaic Law, rightly motivated Jews humbled themselves before Jehovah and showed repentance for sin by means of fasts.1Sa 7:6; 2Ch 20:3.

they disfigure their faces: Or “they make their faces unattractive (unrecognizable).” People could have done this by not washing or grooming and by sprinkling or smearing ashes on their heads.

put oil on your head and wash your face: Typically, normal personal grooming was not done while fasting, so Jesus is telling his disciples to avoid making a show of self-denial.

lamp of the body is the eye: A literal eye that functions properly is to the body like a lighted lamp in a dark place. It enlightens the entire person. Here “eye” is used in a figurative sense.Eph 1:18.

focused: Or “clear; healthy.” The basic meaning of the Greek word ha·plousʹ is “single; simple.” It can convey the idea of singleness of mind or devotion to one purpose. For a literal eye to function properly, it must be able to focus on one thing. A person whose figurative eye is “focused” on the one right thing (Mt 6:33) will experience a positive effect on his whole personality.

focused: Or “clear; healthy.” The basic meaning of the Greek word ha·plousʹ is “single; simple.” It can convey the idea of singleness of mind or devotion to one purpose. For a literal eye to function properly, it must be able to focus on one thing. A person whose figurative eye is “focused” on the one right thing (Mt 6:33) will experience a positive effect on his whole personality.

envious: Lit., “bad; wicked.” A literal eye that is bad or in an unhealthy condition does not see clearly. Similarly, an envious eye cannot focus on what is truly important. (Mt 6:33) Such an eye is dissatisfied and greedy, distracted and shifty. It causes its owner to estimate things incorrectly and pursue a selfish course of life.—See study note on Mt 6:22.

slave: The Greek verb refers to working as a slave, that is, someone owned by only one master. Jesus was here stating that a Christian cannot give God the exclusive devotion that He deserves and at the same time be devoted to gathering material possessions.

Riches: The Greek word ma·mo·nasʹ (of Semitic origin), traditionally translated “Mammon,” can also be rendered “Money.” “Riches” is here personified as a master, or a kind of false god, though there is no conclusive proof that the word was ever used as the name of a specific deity.

Stop being anxious: Or “Stop worrying.” The tense of the Greek verb in this prohibition indicates to stop doing an action already in progress. The Greek term for “anxious” can refer to worry that divides a person’s mind and distracts him, robbing him of joy. The same word occurs at Mt 6:27, 28, 31, 34.

lives . . . life: The Greek word psy·kheʹ, traditionally rendered “soul,” here refers to life. The combination life (soul) and body represents the entire person.

one cubit: Jesus here uses a word that refers to a short measure of distance (lit., “a forearm”), that is, about 44.5 cm (17.5 in.).—See Glossary, “Cubit,” and App. B14.

his life span: Jesus is evidently depicting life as a journey. His point is that by worrying, a person cannot add even a little to the length of his life.

Take a lesson: The Greek verb form could also be rendered “Learn well, or thoroughly.”

the lilies of the field: Some identify this flower with the anemone, but it may have included a variety of lilylike flowers, such as tulips, hyacinths, irises, and gladiolus. Some suggest that Jesus referred simply to the many wildflowers growing in the area and therefore translate it “flowers of the field.” This may be inferred, since this phrase is parallel with “vegetation of the field.”Mt 6:30; Lu 12:27, 28.

vegetation . . . oven: During the hot summer months, vegetation in Israel withers in as little as two days. Dried flower stalks and grass were collected from the fields as fuel for the baking ovens.

you with little faith: Jesus applied this expression to his disciples, indicating that their belief or trust was not strong. (Mt 8:26; 14:31; 16:8; Lu 12:28) It implies not an absence of faith but, rather, a deficiency of faith.

Keep on . . . seeking: The Greek verb form indicates continuous action and could be rendered “Seek continually.” Jesus’ true followers would not seek the Kingdom for a time and then go on to other things. Rather, they must always make it their first concern in life.

the Kingdom: Some ancient Greek manuscripts read “God’s Kingdom.”

his: Refers to God, the “heavenly Father” mentioned at Mt 6:32.

righteousness: Those who seek God’s righteousness readily do his will and conform to his standards of right and wrong. This teaching stood in stark contrast with that of the Pharisees, who sought to establish their own righteousness.Mt 5:20.

never be anxious about the next day: The Scriptures encourage proper planning. (Pr 21:5) However, undue anxiety about what may happen in the future can adversely affect a person’s relationship with God, causing him to rely on his own wisdom rather than on God’s.Pr 3:5, 6.


First-Century Synagogue
First-Century Synagogue

This reconstruction, which incorporates some features of the first-century synagogue found at Gamla, located about 10 km (6 mi) northeast of the Sea of Galilee, gives an idea of what an ancient synagogue may have looked like.